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How to butcher a pig (video)  RSS feed

 
Craig Dobbson
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Posts: 1996
Location: Maine (zone 5)
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Just came across this little gem on you tube.  I've butchered a few pigs over the last five years and I always learn a new way of cutting to maximize the animal as a whole.  I try not to let anything go to waste so every little tip or trick helps to save a little more from each animal.  Here's a good video on the basic breakdown of pork side.

Butcher Bryan Mayer of Fleishers Craft Butchery shows Bon Appetit how to butcher an entire pig at Wyebrook Farm and explains every cut of pork





What are your favorite ways to butcher a pig?

 
Wes Hunter
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Location: Missouri Ozarks
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I don't have a "favorite" way, but as for guidance I have used the Anatomy of Thrift videos and Adam Danforth's great book Butchering.  (Actually, there are two: one dealing with beef, one with everything else.)

In a more general sense, I have learned the value of leaving things in pretty big pieces, like whole shoulders, loins, etc.  It makes for less time butchering, less time packaging (though perhaps uses a little more butcher paper), and better fits how we eat.

For example, this summer we got into the habit of cooking a big (say, 10+ lb.) roast, and having that as the main part of a big midday meal.  Dinner would be light and easy, consisting of leftovers (sometimes cold, but usually having just been left on the counter, covered with a towel).  Then we'd just keep eating on that roast until it was gone, then throw the bone(s) in the stockpot.  Cook once, eat for a couple days.  Not a bad method, especially in midsummer when it's hot and days are long and extra energy is hard to come by.

The first couple deer I shot, I cut into final "serving size" pieces, with smaller roasts, steaks, etc.  But last year I did the same as with the pigs, leaving big roasts, whole loins, etc.  If we wanted steaks, I could just thaw a loin and cut it into steaks.  The end result was the same, but I saved a lot of time not cutting and packaging on the front end.
 
Craig Dobbson
master steward
Posts: 1996
Location: Maine (zone 5)
241
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I like to break them down similar to this style though I always leave the skin on in any place I can.  I bone out just about everything so that I can make a big batch of bone broth all at once.  I cook that down and add in all the little bits of meat from the bones along with any little bits of trim to make a super dense soup or stew base.  The spent bones are so soft that i can mash them into a paste to add to the chickens' food rations.  bigger ones go to the dog. 

Generally I cut the shoulders into strips for making sausage over the winter.  Bellies are for bacon or for braising uncured. The back legs are broken up into whole muscle cuts either for roasting or curing. 
The loins usually end up as one small roast from the front end and then everything else is cured into lomo or lonzino.  I make guanciale from the cheeks and broth from the rest of the head.  My dog gets everything that's not my cup of tea, except the digestive tract.  That goes in the compost pile.   Fat can be used in a lot of ways.  Curing it will give you lardo, which is pretty awesome in so many ways. Some fat we use for baking and some used when making sausage from other animals like rabbit, chicken, goat or lamb.  A little fat can go a long way to making a little critter taste big. 

I'm a big fan of not trimming the hell out of everything.  A pig is a lot of food for sure.  And it's all good
 
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