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Pork collar is a juicy and flavorful cut of pork. In this guide, we will review the history, cooking methods, and alternatives to pork collar cuts.
Pork collar is a cut of pork that has light marbling and amazing taste. One of the things that I love about the pork collar cut is that it’s incredibly versatile and can be used in many dishes. It also holds some advantages in terms of flavor over other cuts of pork.
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Pork Collar Cut – The Basics
The pork collar is cut from the neck of the pork. To be specific, it is the cut between the jowl and the shoulder of the pork. Go to a butcher shop, and you’d be surprised that most butchers keep the pork collar cut for their own use. This is because it’s naturally flavorful and incredibly versatile in cooking.
The neck area has low fat, but there is decent marbling on the pork collar cut. Couple it with the fact that the neck gets a lot of activity throughout the life of a pig, and you have a tough cut of pork. Therefore, this is one cut of pork that you would enjoy cooking in a smoker.
If you love pork and haven’t tried the pork collar cut, you should. This cut is commonly used in capocollo and relatively inexpensive. However, because of the low-fat content, it’s not advised to fry it in a pan, or you would end up with dry and tough meat.
D’Artagnan is a popular online butchery that sells pork collar cuts and more. Check out our D’Artagnan review to find out if it’s a good place for you to buy pork, beef, and chicken from.
What Does Pork Collar Cut Look Like?
The pork collar cut has a triangular shape due to the region where it’s cut from. Because the neck gets a lot of activity, the pork collar has a dark texture. There is also very little fat on the pork collar, and most of it is marbling which makes the pork collar cut ideal for slow-cooking.
What Does Pork Collar Cut Taste Like?
I love it when I get to take out my smoker to prepare meat, and the pork collar cut is slow-cooked, which makes it all the better for me. To prepare the roast, I used my Z Grills Smoker. I bought the pork collar cut from my local butcher, but you should be able to buy it online as well.
After slow cooking the pork collar cut, I served it to my group of friends. The taste is truly spectacular, and the slow-cooking process brings out the flavors to perfection. I highly recommend marinating the meat so that it develops a rich flavor profile that you will appreciate.
That said, be careful when cooking the pork collar cut. If you undercook it, the meat will be chewy and greasy, and if you overcook it, it’s going to be chewy and dry. Also, make sure to follow the cooking instructions properly, as it’s easy to mess up a pork collar cut.
How Much Does Pork Collar Cut Cost?
The good news for you is that pork collar cuts are relatively inexpensive. In fact, it is one of the cheapest cuts of pork you can buy from a butcher if it’s available, that is. As mentioned earlier, this is a cut that most butchers keep for their own culinary satisfaction.
Pork collar cut typically costs less than $3 per pound, depending on your area and the grade of the pork. It may be sold at close to $4 per pound in some areas, but usually, it’s never above that. To prepare the roast, I bought around 4 lbs of pork collar cut for just $13 from my local butcher.
Keep in mind that pork collar cut is almost always sound with a trim of fat. Make sure to keep it intact so that the fat helps tenderize the meat in the smoker. If you must, only cut the fat down to a ¼ inch.
A good smoker can change the way you eat meat. Check out our guide on how to find the best smoker in 2022 for your culinary adventures!
How Do You Cook Pork Collar Cut?
So to prepare the pork collar cut roast, you need to have all the ingredients for the marinade, a good smoker like the Z Grills Smoker, and of course, a nice piece of pork collar.
Of course, if you’re not into charcoal smokers for environmental or health reasons, you can always go ahead with an electric smoker like the Masterbuilt Digital Electric Smoker.
Check out the instructions to prepare pork collar cut roast at home:
- Add lime, garlic cloves, peppercorn, honey, shallot, and rosemary in a blender and combine until it forms a smooth paste.
- Put the marinade in a plastic bag, place the pork collar in the bag, and wrap it carefully to remove all the air. Then, place the pork in the fridge and let it marinate overnight.
- Set the smoker to 300° F and add apple or cherry wood for the aroma.
- Remove the pork from the fridge and let it rest for 30 minutes.
- Add some salt and freshly cracked pepper to the pork and place in a smoker.
- Slow cook the pork collar for 3 hours or until the internal temperature reaches 135° F to 140 ° F. Use a meat thermometer to check the temperature of the pork.
- Sprinkle some extra virgin olive oil and rosemary and then let it roast for another 20 to 30 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 145° F.
- Remove the pork collar roast from the smoker and let it rest for 20-30 minutes, covered loosely in foil. This is an important step, and cutting the pork right after roasting will result in loss of juice and flavor.
- Slice the roast using a carving knife and serve.
Pork Collar Cut Alternatives
Whether you don’t like the cooking process or prefer tender cuts, here are a few alternatives to pork collar cut you should consider:
- Pork Belly: You will love pork belly if you want to have a tender, juicy, and flavorful pork dish that you can grill, roast, fry, and even steam. Pork belly is incredibly versatile, and you can even make bacon out of it. Also, compared to the pork collar, the belly does not require slow-cooking.
- Top Loin: Top loin is a great cut of pork that is also versatile and incredibly delicious. It’s actually quite similar to pork collar cut, with the major difference being the fat content. Compared to shoulder cuts, the top loin is leaner and requires slow-cooking for the meat to break down and tenderize.
- Beef Brisket: If you enjoy slow cooking but want to try a different meat cut, why don’t you try a different animal altogether? The brisket is a tough cut of beef and cooked in a smoker that allows the proteins to break down, resulting in an incredibly rich flavor.
Did you know that bacon can be made from pork belly? Find out more about the interesting facts and differences between the two in our pork belly vs bacon comparison!
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are the answers to some common questions about pork collar cut.
Question: Are Pork Collar and Pork Neck the Same?
Answer: Technically no, as pork collar is cut from the top of the neck behind the jowl (neck) and head and above the butt (shoulder). The muscle it’s cut from starts just below the neck and runs down the spine. So it’s more a part of the shoulder than it is of the neck.
Question: Is Pork Collar Tender?
No, because the pork collar is cut from the area between the jowl and the shoulder. This area of the pig gets a lot of activity during the course of its life, which results in the meat getting tough with little marbling. This is why it’s preferred meat for slow-cooking and roasting.
Question: Is Pork Collar the Cheapest Cut?
Answer: No, but it is one of the cheapest cuts of pork collar. The pork loin is typically the cheapest cut you can buy from a butcher. You can buy pork loin for just under $2 per pound, whereas pork collar is sold for $2.50 to $4 per pound, depending on the quality of the pork and the average price of meat in your state.
Question: Is Pork Collar Healthy?
Answer: Yes, a pork collar is a healthy cut of pork. It has very little fat and is full of proteins. The slow-cooking process allows the proteins to break down and the fat to make the roast juicy and flavorful.
As the common cooking methods for pork collar cut involve smoking or grilling, this is a healthy option to have at any time of the day.
Question: Do I Have to Marinate the Pork Collar?
Answer: So there are some people out there who like to keep the taste of the meat as it is and only add salt and pepper for seasoning and enhancing the meat’s own flavor. However, in my opinion, you should marinate the pork collar because, on its own, it tastes a little bland.
But with a good marinade, the meat takes on a whole new flavor profile that you would appreciate. On top of that, you are only limited by your creativity when it comes to marinade, so experiment!
Question: Can I Grill the Pork Collar Cut?
Answer: Yes, you can grill the pork collar cut using the two-zone cooking or direct/indirect cooking methods. Preheat the grill to 450° F and place the pork on it for direct heating. Heat on each side for 6 minutes or until you get a nice char.
Move the pork to the indirect side and cover the grill. Let the pork grill for 40 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 145° F. Remove the pork from the grill and let it rest for 20 to 30 minutes. Once done, slice it and serve.
Question: Can I Fry Pork Collar Cut?
Answer: Yes, you can. However, frying is not the best option when it comes to tough cuts, whether pork collar, brisket, or any other tough cut for that matter. Ideally, you should slow-cook the meat so that it becomes tender and juicy, rather than frying it in a pan where it’s bound to lose moisture, and the proteins don’t break down.
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Conclusion – Should You Try Pork Collar Cut?
Yes! If you are a fan of slow cooking or want to get your smoker out, then pork collar cut is the perfect meat for you. It’s cheap, highly nutritious, and very easy to prepare. Even if you are a beginner, you will find it easy to slow-cook pork collar cuts and impress your friends and family.
Be mindful that while it’s easy to cook, it’s also easy to mess up the pork collar cut. Always make sure that you check the internal temperature as that’s the most important sign that your meat is done. If you don’t do that, you will end up with a chewy and undesirable roast more times than not.
Overall, the pork collar cut is an economical and versatile meat that you should try at least once. If you are looking for other cuts of meat to prepare or learn more about, check out the guides, comparisons, and other resources we have on Meat n Marrow.