PHoToGrAPHy By Bre T GUs TAFsoN, JoHNsoN CoUNTy CoMMUNITy ColleGe
Written by John Head, CCC, Johnson County Community College
Demonstrated by Felix sturmer
Pork is at the top of the menu in today’s restaurants and hotels, replacing
beef, veal, game and seafood because of its quality and economic benefits.
Besides elegant chops and roasts, chefs are increasingly writing menus
to use the trim in sausages, forcemeats and stuffings. With this new
emphasis on pork, it’s important that students learn the technical aspects of
fabricating the end-to-end pork loin.
When chefs are in search of quality pork products, most order fresh-chilled (not previously frozen) premium cuts from respected pork suppliers.
Therefore, pork quality grading by the U.s. Department of Agriculture is
not a major factor for chefs. They use the North American Meat Processors
Association’s The Meat Buyer’s Guide to specify the chops and roasts they
desire from the loin.
The loin is one of pork’s primal cuts (others are ham and shoulder butt).
Four premium foodservice cuts come from the full bone-in loin: center-
cut pork loins, pork loin chops, back ribs and tenderloins. These cuts are
further broken down into bone-in and boneless loins and chops. The center-
cut rack yields the most prized cuts of pork, the most elegant bone-in roasts
and the best chops. In our final dish, pan-seared pork rib chop with orange
and lemon gremolata, spicy applesauce and parsley-speckled potato cakes,
served with asparagus spears and carrots, a signature Kansas City pork
entrée, we feature a rib chop from the center-cut rack.
The culinary industry has been greatly affected by the economy, and chefs
have been challenged to control food cost. If skilled at fabrication, chefs are
better able to evaluate whether they should buy fabricated cuts of meat at a
higher price or do the fabrication in-house. Chefs don’t just evaluate whether
to buy portioned cuts solely on the basis of price per pound. labor costs, the
skills of the staff and time constraints also play a part in the decision.
The pork loin holds many possibilities for chefs and students. Here, Felix
sturmer demonstrates two important meat fabrication techniques: frenching,
which offers a beautiful presentation, and cutting pockets for stuffing.
fElIx STuRMER is apprentice chair for the American
Culinary Federation Apprenticeship Program at Johnson County
Community College, overland Park, Kan. He supervises 150
apprentices in the Greater Kansas City area. As a culinary
instructor, he teaches garde manger and international cuisine.
He is also coach of the school’s culinary team.
Cut the center-cut loin into two
halves: the center-cut rack, pictured
left, and the right half that forms
a boneless pork loin or is cut into
chops. The pork tenderloin is most
often removed in one piece.
To create the center-cut rack,
pictured, using a meat saw, remove
chine bone and backbone for the
premium center-cut rack, but leave
the rib bones. In our final entrée, we
feature a rib chop from the center-cut rack.
Here are fabricated cuts from the
loin, from left: rib chop, loin chop,
boneless chop, pork steak and,
in foreground, medallion from
the pork tenderloin. Chops from
the center-cut loin yield the best
portion cuts for flavor, texture and
Using a boning knife, cut pockets
in chops from the end away from
the bone to best contain stuffing
and for the best plate presentation.
Appropriate stuffings include precooked sausage, fruit, chutneys,
bread stuffings, pistou, mushroom
duxelles and pesto.
Thanks to Bret Getzel, director of foodservice sales at
seaboard Foods, shawnee Mission, Kan., for providing
the meat used in this fabrication demonstration.