At some point in the process Kent decided that J and I were going to be too picky to take a cut list from and so he offered to butcher our pig with us standing by to dictate the cuts as we went. In case this isn’t immediately clear to everyone reading, this was THE BEST THING EVER. It meant that there was zero guesswork on our side, and that we were able to make the best possible choices as we went. For example, I had thought that I wanted a crown roast, but in looking at the loin, it became clear that what I really needed was a six rack roast and a bunch of chops. Kent’s willingness to let us watch the process meant that I didn’t make any dumb mistakes on my cut list. And when you are spending as much as we did on pork, you pretty well want to get it exactly right.
Also, we got to meet Christie, one of his main assistants, who has been butchering for years. She was an invaluable guide, and she made sure that what we ended up with was ideal for cooking. Christie made me feel better by admitting that she really does not like the slaughtering either. I felt like less of a sissy when she said that.
And in case you are not interested in seeing the butchery pics, NB that they are clustered at the bottom of this post.
So here’s what I got:
- Shoulder – 4 steaks, plus two roasts
- Belly – 25% fresh, 75% smoked for bacon
- Loin – 6 rack roast, plus a bunch of chops, plus St. Louis style ribs
- Ham – 1/3 fresh, 2/3 smoked
- Something labeled “Rib Rack” which is tied up very beautifully, but I have lost all memory of where it came from
- 9 lbs bones for stock
- 2 bags fat for lard, leaf and back fat separated
- 10 lbs sweet Italian sausage
- 5 – 7 lbs ground pork
- 1 jowl, which J has for the purposes of making guanciale
What I took home added up to about 56 lbs, but I still have to get my belly and ham post smoking, as well as my ground meat and sausage. Also my jowl, which J has promised to take good care of.
In case you want to play along at home, this meat easily fits in the freezer portion of our garage fridge, with room left over for stock and the giant hams that are coming soon.
Up until yesterday, all I could do was look at the pork in my freezer and think. I needed to work through what my game plan was before trying anything new. Also, I think I was terrified of messing any of it up. So I began with what I assumed was the most fail-safe thing to start with – the bones.
Up Next: Italian Style Broth