What’s the Difference: Adobo Cut Vs. Menudo Cut

The biggest difference is size.
menudo pork cut vs adobo pork cut

Shopping for meat cuts can be confusing for those who do not what they’re looking at. That’s why knowing what pork cut you need for the recipe you want to try can be tricky. It’s always a good idea to chat with your butcher if you’re unsure about which to choose, especially when you’re looking to cook adobo or menudo

If you’re shy however or just an independently strong person, you can learn how to tell the difference between different pork cuts. Here’s something you probably didn’t know about these two pork cuts: the adobo pork cut and menudo pork cuts are both from the kasim or pork shoulder

1 Menudo cut is smaller in size than adobo cut. 

When it comes to size, the difference is obvious: the menudo cut is much smaller than the adobo cut. The menudo is a quick-cooking pork and tomato stew, and the size of the meat makes it faster to cook than other pork dishes. 

Adobo cuts meanwhile are bigger in size. The adobo is a braised dish and one of the key factors in the recipe is rendering out the fat so the sauce can thicken and become lip-smackingly good! The size needs to be bigger so the fat in the pork has time to melt and also not fall apart while it does so. 

2 Menudo cut is often meatier than adobo cuts. 

menudo cut pork cut from the kasim or pork shoulder
These small cubed pork cuts are known as menudo cut taken from the kasim or pork shoulder.
Photo by Shutterstock

This is mainly because the menudo cuts are cut smaller and some just don’t have fat layers. Since the fat layers of the kasim are normally found closer to the skin, the meat cut from the parts closer to the bones is meatier with fewer layers of fat. This doesn’t mean that the menudo cut does not have fatty cuts which can contain the skin and those coveted fat layers.


Remember: fat is flavor and some fat is highly recommended in dishes that will render out and help develop all that delicious pork flavor you crave. 

Adobo cuts meanwhile are more balanced meat cuts that combine meat with the fattier layers. These are ideal since adobo is braised in a small amount of liquid and requires the fat to render out and become part of the sauce that you spoon over your rice. If you love braised dishes, you will adore the gelatinous transformation that the skin and fat layers of the adobo cut turn into when simmered longer enough. The sauce benefits too since the fat and gelatin in these layers can help the sauce thicken! 

3 The menudo cut can be used for igado

Did you know that you can use the same menudo pork cut for the igado recipe? You can! While the classic igado calls for pork strips, you can lessen your time prepping the meat and use menudo pork cut instead. 

4 Adobo cut is sometimes the pork belly or liempo cut. 

adobo cut pork cut from the kasim or pork shoulder
This pork cut is known as the adobo cut.
Photo by Shutterstock

We know it looks quite similar but the kasim does have a nice layer of fat and skin. These are sometimes mistaken as being cuts from the liempo. The reason why the kasim is so delicious is that the cut has alternating layers of fat similar to the liempo that can be rendered out and become super tasty in your dish. 


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However, you might sometimes see adobo pork cuts that have more layered fat than normal, and these cuts can be cut from the pork belly or liempo. This is okay to use for pork adobo, too! Since you want fat layers, the liempo is just as able (maybe even more so) to deliver the same qualities you need to create that awesome adobo sauce that is sticky, thick, and irresistibly delicious. 

5 You can cut up adobo pork cuts to use for menudo but not vice versa. 

Sometimes you won’t see certain pork cuts in the meat display case. For those times you’re not seeing what you’re looking for, you can always ask your meat butcher for the cut you want. Ask for adobo cut and you should see your butcher grab the kasim. Ask for the menudo cut and you should see the same kind of cut chosen as well.

It’s quite rare to see that the kasim pork cut is not available since it’s a prime cut, but on the off chance it is, your butcher might grab some adobo cuts and cut these up smaller. You can do the same thing at home if you’ve got adobo cuts but want to make menudo

However, you might not be able to do the same thing with menudo cuts if you need adobo cuts since these are already cut up smaller than you want. 

Are you still confused about the pork cuts? Here are more articles to read: 



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