Seasoning Pork Successfully

  • By: Jack Mancuso

Seasoning Pork Successfully - Cuso Cuts

Seasoning is one way to enhance the flavor of pork giving depth to your dish. You can either create a dry rub or use a marinade to season your pork. For a dry rub, use a blend from Cuso’s Seasoning Line, or mix your chosen seasonings together and coat the pork evenly. 

If you prefer a marinade, combine your seasonings with liquids like oil, soy sauce, wine, beer, vinegar, or citrus juice. Let the pork marinate in the mixture for a few hours in the refrigerator. Overnight marinades boost the taste.

Salt it!
Don't forget to include salt when seasoning pork. Salt enhances the natural flavors and helps the meat retain moisture. Don’t go overboard. Use approximately 1 tsp of salt per pound of pork.

Whether using a dry rub or marinade, make sure to massage the seasonings into the meat, ensuring they cover all sides so the savoriness penetrates the pork. After seasoning, allow the pork to rest at room temperature for about 30 minutes. Room-temperature meat cooks more evenly.

Pork Preparation and Uses

As for how you cook it, you have options. Pan searing, roasting, braising, grilling, and smoking are all possibilities. Grilling caramelizes the natural sugars in the pork, resulting in a delicious smoky flavor and a lovely crust. Braising is best for tough cuts of pork like the shoulder or belly. Beyond this, you can use ground pork to make sausage or chop some up for stir-fry.

Use pork ribs or shoulder to make soup (like gumbo or bean soup). Add ground pork to your potstickers. And, of course, feature cured pork like pancetta, salami, and ham on charcuterie presentations. 

Herbs and Spices that Pair with Pork

  • Garlic: Garlic is a versatile and aromatic herb that complements the natural sweetness of pork. Use it fresh, minced, or in powdered form.

Cuso Seasonings that include garlic include Cuso’s Dirt ™, Spicy Garlic Buffalo, Hot Honey, Maple Bourbon, Dust, Gravel, Tequila Lime Habanero, and Lemon Pepper. You can really appreciate the garlic’s presence in the Spicy Garlic Buffalo blend. 

  • Sea Salt: There are a dozen (or more) types of salt. The three most commonly used in cooking are sea salt, pink Himalayan salt, and table salt. Salt brightens the flavor of food, taking it from bland to distinctive.

Cuso Seasonings with salt are Grass, Hot Honey, Lemon Pepper, Spicy Garlic Buffalo, Cuso’s Dirt ™, Maple BourbonDust, Tequila Lime Habanero, and Gravel. Salt’s presence sneaks out in each of these blends.

  • Thyme: Thyme has a slightly minty and earthy flavor that works well with pork. Its herbaceous notes add depth to dishes like roasted pork loin or grilled chops.

Cuso Seasonings with Thyme: Dirt and Grass, both light touches that work together or as stand-alone spices. 

  • Rosemary: Rosemary is a robust herb that pairs wonderfully with pork. Its pine-like aroma and slightly citrusy flavor provide a savory and fragrant component to pork roasts or chops.

The two Cuso Seasonings with rosemary are Cuso’s Dirt ™ and Grass, with the Grass releasing more of the rosemary’s aroma. 

  • Paprika: Paprika, whether sweet, smoked, or hot, adds a distinct flavor to pork dishes. It's commonly used in rubs, marinades, or as a seasoning for roasts and ribs.

Cuso Seasoning with Paprika includes Cuso’s Dirt ™, Hot Honey, Spicy Garlic Buffalo, Maple BourbonDust, Tequila Lime Habanero. Paprika brings color to your pork.

  • Cumin: Cumin has a warm and nutty flavor that complements the richness of pork. It's often used in spice rubs for grilled or roasted pork and is also a key ingredient in many Latin American and Middle Eastern pork dishes.

Cuso Seasoning with cumin: Tequila Lime presents itself as somewhat smoky and citrusy with some heat for good measure.

  • Oregano: Oregano brings a pleasant and slightly bitter taste to pork. It works well in marinades, spice rubs, or incorporated into sauces for dishes like pulled pork or pork tacos.

Cuso Seasoning with oregano: Grass, which is fresh and elevating. 

  • Black pepper: Black pepper adds a subtle heat and a distinct earthy flavor to the pork. It's a versatile spice that can be used as a standalone seasoning or as part of a spice blend for various pork recipes.

Cuso Seasonings integrating pepper include Dirt, Dust, Gravel (for texture), and Lemon Pepper.

Decisions, Decisions

Unless there’s a powerful theme running through a meal, you’d be hard-pressed to find pork recipes with just one or two seasonings. Sometimes it’s hard to choose. We can help with this. You have several options. 

We have a Seasoning Gift Box, perfect for the foodie in your life on any occasion. The box, which includes:

  1. Cuso's Dirt Seasoning: Our inaugural blend; can you say, get out the steak? 
  2. Cuso's Hot Honey Seasoning: Heat meets sweet; pair with poultry or fish
  3. Cuso's Gravel Seasoning: Slightly hot, deeply smoky; sprinkle on beef
  4. Cuso's Tequila Lime Habanero Seasoning: A Taste of the Tropics; brighten up fish and chicken
  5. Cuso's Spicy Garlic Buffalo Seasoning: Rich smoky garlic; add to compound butter or as a rub on steak
  6. Cuso's Maple Bourbon Seasoning: Caramel notes, savory; fantastic on pork and salmon

Cuso's Variety 6 Pack Seasonings: When the cupboard looks bare, consider this cost-saving pack:  Dirt™, Gravel, Grass, Spicy Garlic Buffalo, Lemon Pepper, and Maple Bourbon.

Cuso’s 10 Pack Seasonings

Fill your spice rack or that of a family member. Perhaps surprise a friend with the whole shebang. You’ll be amazed at how many applications these natural, carefully tested seasons provide. 

Side Dishes for Pork


Bacon Baked Beans

Corn on the Cob (grilled)

Garden Salad

Kale Slaw

Rice Pilaf

Roasted Green Beans

Sweet Potato Fries

From the Bar: Beverages that Pair with Pork

Black Tea

Mancuso’s Maple Bourbon Old Fashioned

Hard or Regular Cider (perhaps spiced)

Red Wine or White Wine

Malty Brown Ale

Pineapple juice

Pork Recipe Links

Asian Style Pork Belly Skewers

Crispy Grilled Pork Belly

Easy Pulled Pork

Mac n’ Cheese Pulled Pork

Pineapple Pork Sandwich

Pork Ribs

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