The dog days of summer are here and we’re talking winter pork roasts... pause for confused looks and head scratching.
As retailers, though, you’re planning what’s hitting your counter months ahead—so grab a cold beverage, throw another pork burger on the barbecue, and let’s get to it.
As consumers’ tastes begin moving away from the grill and towards the slow cooker and oven as they seek out those comfort foods, roasts are a consumer favourite. Everyone knows the staple cuts to have in the counter—centre cut pork loin roast, combo chops, and pork tenderloin—these are always in season and no counter should ever be without them.
But how about something different this winter? Here are 7 cuts you may not be thinking about:
1. Bone-in shoulder blade roast: undervalued and underestimated, this is a roast that everyone who knows what they’re doing is picking up for Sunday dinner. The average customer sees this in the counter and thinks, “Boy, that looks complicated—no way I know how to cook that!” when that couldn’t be further from the truth. Encourage your shoppers to take this home and cook it slowly—it’ll fall apart every time and be arguably the best pork roast they’ve ever cooked and will keep them coming back for more.
2. Pork shoulder blade boneless capicola roast: shoppers who knew what they were doing two years ago buying the bone-in shoulder blade roast are probably now buying this roast. The capicola roast can be characterized as the “heart” of the shoulder—and being boneless, it’s that much easier to carve. Merchandising is easy: take your knife and follow the seam on the bottom of the shoulder blade. Run your knife down and through until you reach your block—congrats, you have a capicola roast! Tie it up in one-inch intervals, and cut it in two, and ta da! It’s ready for the counter. Recommend/feature it to your customers and you’ll be struggling to keep up with demand.
3. Leg inside and outside roast: there’s value in the leg, I swear. Both of these cuts are big, cheap, and lean—and a lot of customers still value leanness in meat. Tie these up, portion them out, display that rosy pink interior, and customers will grab them as an economical roast to feed their families. If worse comes to worst, they will make excellent stewing meat or can be used to lean out your ground pork.
4. Stewing meat and ground pork: what a segue! Both of these items are vital to soak up your trim. And as you move into the winter months, your sausage sales will dwindle, so you need to ramp up these items to keep up with that looming pile of trim. Don’t be afraid to get creative with your ground pork—store-made meatloaf can be a lifesaver when customers haven’t planned a weeknight meal.
5. Pork sirloin roast: another lean cut that’s easy to merchandise and even easier to cook. Just the word “sirloin” is intoxicating to customers—and this roast is great at soaking up marinade and spice flavours, which makes it an excellent target for cross merchandising. Throw pork sirloins on feature with a display of your in-house spice rub or marinade next to it, and boom! You’ve got a winning combo.
6. Pork belly roast: I know it sounds crazy… in fact, I’m impressed if you’ve read this far into the description, but trust me—if you’re not eating this roast, you’re missing out. Take the leg/ham end of the belly (a.k.a. the number 2 and 3 bacon), take the skin off, roll it bottom to top, tie it off two strings an inch apart, and you’re good to go. Pop that in the oven low and slow and your house—no, strike that—your neighbourhood is going to smell amazing!
7. Pork Rib rack roast (Frenched): last but not least, the prime rib of pork roasts. Not everyone Frenches this cut, but it is an easy way to merchandise another $2/lb onto this roast—and it really does bump up the presentation at the table. This traditional Sunday roast has been served by your grandmother’s grandmother’s grandmother—when you have something this good, don’t mess with it.