Having been raised by a world class shopper, I love a good deal. I also love, love, love pork. So when I read on LHB that Fiedler Family farms was having a retirement sale, I started pondering what the heck would we do with a whole processed piggy and I couldn’t stop thinking about the possibilities. Nothing ventured, nothing gained! So for the last few weeks we’ve been eating our way through the chest freezer to prepare for our bounty, a wonderful hormone-free and antibiotic free black heritage piggy.
In preparation, I read “Charcuterie” by Michael Ruhlman and Brian Polcyn. It’s a great read and makes the subject very accessible to the non-professional cook. It has inspired me to learn how to cure, smoke and preserve on my own. I have visions of bacon, guanicale, and pancetta running through my head. If you have ever done any charcuterie at home and have tips I’d love to read them.
So what do you get when you order a whole piggy? Well your mileage will vary, depending on what you want to keep and what you want to leave at the butcher’s. No offal or head for us, thanks! I’ll be braver next time. Maybe. The heart is off to the UofL medical school for them to use for practice. From a 270lb pig, we got 161lbs of meat and an additional 30 lbs or so of leaf fat and fatback. So our freezer inventory is:
26 lbs pork belly (bacon)
29 lbs ground unseasoned pork (trimmings, picnic shoulders)
54 pork chops
6 lbs spare ribs
6 lbs jowl
5 lbs neck bones
25 lbs ham roasts
10 lbs butt roasts
It took 3 large chest coolers to get it home. I highly recommend letting the butcher vac-seal your cuts rather than wrapping in butcher paper, so you can see what you’ve got and it will keep longer. I elected to keep the ham and pork belly fresh rather than cured, so I could play. With all that ham, I decided to have the shoulders ground for sausage rather than keeping them as roasts. We are also not big fans of pork loin roasts so decided to do more chops rather than carve out the loin roast.
First project now that everything is inventoried and stored in the freezer is to render the leaf fat into leaf lard and to break down the fatback into manageable packages for later sausage production. Wish me luck. Please post your suggestions, experiences. P.s. if you ever get the chance to go to Boone’s Bucher shop in Bardstown, please do so. The prices are insanely good. We got a whole, boneless ribeye for $4.89 a lb!