How to Debone a Pork Loin
The pork loin is a tender and versatile cut, sold at retail with or without the bones. Some prefer to have bones in the loin, to make rib chops or a dramatic crown roast. Others prefer a boneless loin, which can be easily sliced into chops or roasted and thinly slices.
It is easy enough to buy a bone-in loin and debone it yourself later if your intentions change. Have your butcher remove the chine bones on his band saw, so your loin will only have rib bones and a small piece of the shoulder blade.
Place the pork loin on your cutting board with the bony side facing up and your boning knife close to hand. Wear disposable kitchen gloves to keep your hands clean if desired.
- The pork loin is a tender and versatile cut, sold at retail with or without the bones.
- Some prefer to have bones in the loin, to make rib chops or a dramatic crown roast.
Look for the tenderloin, a small strip of muscle on the inside of the ribs. Turn the loin so that end is closest to you. Some butchers remove the tenderloin and sell it separately, so if all you see is rib bones, you can skip the next step.
Loosen the end of the tenderloin with your knife tip, and then grip the end and lift gently. Cut away the rest of the tenderloin with long, smooth strokes. Set the tenderloin aside for later.
Grip the rib bones with your non-dominant hand. Starting at the end with no shoulder blade, carefully cut the meat away from the rib bones. Keep your knife angled toward the bones to minimise the amount of meat you leave behind.
- Look for the tenderloin, a small strip of muscle on the inside of the ribs.
- Cut away the rest of the tenderloin with long, smooth strokes.
Continue cutting the meat away from the rib bones with a long, smooth stroke down the length of the loin. Once you've got to the end, you should need only a few finishing cuts to separate the ribs from the loin.
Cut around the visible portion of the shoulder blade with the tip of your knife, angling your knife to cut in behind the bone. Grip the loin with your fingers and pull it away from the bone, making room to reach in with your knife and free the bone. Next, grip the bone and raise it so you can cut away underneath. Remove the blade bone.
Wrap the tenderloin and ribs separately for refrigeration or freezing. Portion the loin into roasts and chops, or package it whole for freezing.
- Continue cutting the meat away from the rib bones with a long, smooth stroke down the length of the loin.
- Grip the loin with your fingers and pull it away from the bone, making room to reach in with your knife and free the bone.
- "On Cooking: A Textbook of Culinary Fundamentals"; Sarah R. Labensky et al.; 2003
- Master Butcher; The Complete Online Meatcutting Tutorial; Othmar Vohringer, Master Butcher
- It's important to specify that your butcher cut away the chine bones, which cannot be easily removed with a knife. It is possible to use a clean hacksaw to cut through the bones and separate them, but this is a laborious process, and it is usually difficult to justify the time and effort involved.
- Clean and sanitise any surfaces or utensils that have come into contact with the uncooked pork.
Fred Decker is a trained chef and certified food-safety trainer. Decker wrote for the Saint John, New Brunswick Telegraph-Journal, and has been published in Canada's Hospitality and Foodservice magazine. He's held positions selling computers, insurance and mutual funds, and was educated at Memorial University of Newfoundland and the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology.