Once picked up my pig, I had to figure out what I got in my delivery, and what to do cook with it. For pork and other types of meats, there seems to be no consistency in what different cuts are called. I tracked down a basic map from the Cooks Illustrated Meat Book and tried to annotate, as best as I could, the locations of my roasts. This map can help me determine the best way to prepare the roasts.
The shoulder is the area with lots of connective tissue and should be slow cooked, braised, barbecued or stewed.
The loin is the tastiest bits of pork and can be roasted, but also sliced thin or made into chops.
The belly is bacon, plain and simple. Don’t mess around with perfection.
And the leg gets smoked and becomes a ham. Or maybe prosciutto. Next time.
I got half a pig!
I found out on the Upper Valley Mailing list that there was a half of a hog available for sale. YES! I drove up to Bradford, VT to pick up my slaughtered, processed and frozen pork, with dreams of tasty tasty things. From the hog farmer, I found out some unfortunate soul had to back out of their pork order. Their loss.
I had to fill out a complex sheet for the butcher to process my pig. I do NOT want a bunch of ground pork and pork chops. We just don’t eat them. I want my pork in large roasts, which allow me to make roast pork, or, if I so choose, cut down the roast into smaller pieces. When I put food by, I want it to be as versatile as possible.
(That is not my pig, but is one of the porcine brethren that was raised with my pig.)
Here is what I got:
Bacon and Bacon Ends
2 bone-in rib end roasts
2 butt roasts
2 loin roasts