Pork Collar is one of those butcher’s secrets that offers a delicious piece of meat generally saved for personal use. Economical at well under $3 per pound, pork collars are versatile, naturally flavourful and has been called “the new pork belly”.
Pork Collar is cut from the top of the pig’s neck, on the back behind the head and neck (Jowl) and just above the shoulder (Butt). It is a triangular muscle that starts from just below the back of the neck down to the spine. As the muscle is used frequently by the pig, it is not the most tender but like other useful muscles, it is very flavourful. This well-marbled, fatty cut will not dry out when cooked for a long time and is cheaper than other cuts.
Best cooking methods include slow cooking, roasting, braising, BBQ, grilling in slices (low heat), kebabs, pork steaks and for shredding for pulled pork sandwiches and casseroles.
Other names for Pork Collar are:
- Pork Neck Fillet
- Neck End
- “Secreto” in Spain
- “Coppa” in Italy (“Capocollo” in southern Italy)
Every cut on a US animal is numbered and documented in the NAMP Meat Buyer’s Guide. This allows for standardised sales, where the buyer can be 100% sure of which cut they ordered. European butchers tend to cut differently, according to individual muscles on the animal. The pork collar can be located on large US shoulder cuts (Boston Butt), more likely on the bone-in versus boneless variety.
Thai Grilled Pork Neck (Ko Mu Yang คอหมูย่าง)
This pork is not heavily seasoned because it is served with an intensely flavoured traditional Thai dipping sauce called “Nam Jim Jaew”.
Slow Roasted Italian-style Pork Collar
“A pork collar may be a cheaper cut of meat, but this by no means that it is less delicious or inferior in quality. The Spanish, in fact call it a butchers secret or ‘Secreto’ for its great tasting flavour.”
This recipe focuses on the marinade, then the meat goes into the smoker for 5-6 hours.
Pork Cuts (www.professionalsecrets.com)
How to Harvest Coppa (http://curedmeats.blogspot.com)
Is Pork Collar the New Pork Belly? (www.dailymeal.com)
Sonny’s is a popular chain of restaurants in the southern USA specialising in authentic BBQ meats and traditional sides. Their sliced pork is from the Pork Collar, and is known to be delicious.