The head of the pig is not commonly used, but when cooked correctly it can be used in many ways. The head can be boiled to make stocks or brawn for soups. The ears and cheeks can be taken off and cooked separately either by baking or smoking.
The cheek of the pig is located under the eyes and on the jaw of the pig. It is full of flavor and fatty which makes it great for slow cooking or chopping for soup or stew. Pork cheek is a cheap and a very underrated cut to use.
Pork butt is a cut from the shoulder of the pig. This area tends to be tougher because of the amount of movement the muscle gets. It is cut from the neck and shoulder blade to the upper arm. It is best braised or slow cooked.
The picnic shoulder is cut from below the pork butt and is a very versatile cut. This section of the pig is best used for slow roasting, barbecuing, or grinding into sausage or ground pork. It can also be diced into cubes for soup and stew.
Pork hock or ham hock is the knuckle part of the pig in the lower leg. It is full of c onnective tissue and needs ligaments which require a long cook at low heat. They are typically smoked before purchasing but unsmoked can also be good.
The loin is a popular section of the pig for many reasons. Many different cuts like pork chops, tenderloin, and cutlets come from this part. These cuts are fattier and easy to overcook because they are thin.
Two most common types of pork ribs are baby back ribs and spareribs. Both of these are taken from the back section of the pig and are great cooked low and slow with a good marinade.
Bacon, or pork belly, is taken from the lower sides and belly of the pig. This location is ideal for good fat content which gives bacon it's sweetness and crispness when cooked. Bacon should also be cooked with a moist heat.
The ham is taken from the leg or butt muscle of the pig. Ham is usually smoked and cured or it can be sold fresh. It is often sold whole and is oven roasted.