Types Of Pork, Ranked

Damon Young/VSB
Damon Young/VSB

Every Labor Day weekend in Pittsburgh, a rib festival (aptly named "The Rib Fest") takes place outside of Heinz Field. Dozens of award-winning swine-selling companies set up storefronts and sell their best ribs, pulled pork sandwiches, sausages, briskets, and heart disease. Naturally, as a pork coisennessuor, I spent a decent amount of time there this year. How much time, exactly? Well, the people at Carolina Rib King — easily the best company — did the following when they saw me in line Sunday evening:

1. Started clapping
2. Allowed me to skip the line
3. Asked about The Wife Person™ and if the baby was still kicking
4. Asked if I was getting my "regular"
5. Gave me free food

As I took a bite of my pulled pork sandwich, BBQ sauce and a complete and utter lack of shame dripping on my shorts, I started thinking very seriously about pork. More specifically, of all the delicious porks out there, which one is the best?

In reverse order:

10. Chitterlings

It came down to chitlins or kielbasa for the 10 spot, which basically means I had to decide between "Blackness" and "Pittsburgh." Blackness won.


9. Ham

Some people think ham is great as the featured part of a meal. I disagree. Ham just doesn't move me like that. Ham is the J Cole of pork-based meats.

8. Salami

Salami is ham with charisma.

7. Pepperoni

Because a plain pizza without pepperoni is like The Office without Steve Carell. Still edible and good. But no longer delicious.


6. Breakfast Sausage

For the record, in the Breakfast Sausage Patty vs Breakfast Sausage Link battle, I'm #teampatty all the way.


5. Pork Chops

Like chicken wings, is one of the few meats where the less meat on the bone, the better it tastes.


4. Hot Sausage

Thought about putting it higher on the list, because of how versatile it is. You can eat it with pancakes and eggs, you can make a hot sausage sandwich for lunch, and you can include it in your spaghetti dinner. It's basically the Draymond Green of pork-based meats.


3. Ribs

Although first on the yet-to-be-written ranking of Slave-Founded Foods — a ranking I'm excited in advance to write — only places third on the pork list. Shame.


2. Pulled Pork Sandwich

Pulls (heh) a surprising upset over ribs. Ribs are more popular, more versatile, and can also make for better weapons. But a great pulled pork sandwich — with the perfect, shame-inducing sauce — beats a great half slab of ribs.


1. Bacon

Like there was ever any doubt.


Damon Young is the editor-in-chief of VSB, a contributing opinion writer for The New York Times, and the author of What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Blacker (Ecco/HarperCollins)

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The folks in Hawaii asked me to place a vote for Spam for them. Also known as the most versatile pork product on the planet.