Korea’s Rural Development Administration (RDA) recently celebrated Samgyeopsal Day, also known as Pork Belly Eating Day, by introducing a new addition to grilled pork cuts: the pork head specialty cuts.
The RDA has been pushing to increase the value of pork head, which is categorized as a pig by-product, and to promote the consumption of new grilled cuts beyond the popular pork belly and pork shoulder in the United States.
The specialty cuts of pork head include six different cuts: occiput, jowl, temporal muscle, snout, sublingual muscle, and mandible. Each cut has a unique texture and flavor profile that adds depth and complexity to dishes.
The occiput has a gelatinous texture due to the high collagen and connective tissue, making it chewy and fatty but also rich and flavorful when grilled properly. The jowl is a fatty and flavorful cut of meat that can be crispy on the outside and tender on the inside when grilled.
The temporal muscle is a leaner cut of meat with a slightly chewy texture and a rich, meaty flavor. The snout is a gelatinous and fatty cut of meat often used in stews and soups, but can also be tender and flavorful when grilled.
The sublingual muscle has a leaner texture and mild flavor that can be grilled to be tender and flavorful. The mandible is quite fatty and chewy, but when grilled, it can be tender and flavorful with a rich and meaty flavor.
Song Jeong-chan, head of the Livestock Products Division at the National Institute of Animal Science, praised the unique texture and rich meaty flavor of pork head specialty cuts, which have gained popularity among enthusiasts. The institute aims to improve the quality of pork head meat, expand its consumption, and increase the value of pork head as a by-product.
This innovative addition to Korean cuisine showcases the resourcefulness of Korean cooks and highlights the diverse range of flavors and textures that can be found in every part of the pig. With the RDA’s efforts to promote these cuts, the pork head may soon become a staple in many kitchens, both in Korea and beyond.