Friday, January 16, 2015

Princess the Pig: Part 4, The Finale

Part 1 (The Intro)
Part 2 (And She Grows)
Part 3 (Off to the Butcher)

About a week later, Jamey came home with Princess. In boxes.

Of the 325 pounds that she ultimately weighed, we brought home 160 pounds of pork.  Taking into consideration the cost of the pig, feed and butcher fees, the cost for her meat averaged out to about $3/pound.  This was worth it to us- we know what she ate and where she grazed.

We surveyed the contents and loaded up the freezers.  We do not take this lightly.  We appreciate the utter extravagance of having freezers full of food to eat.  To be honest, I don't have a lot of experience with many cuts of pig other than bulk sausage and links so this will be quite an adventure. Some of the parts we ordered/received are spare ribs, butt roasts (surprisingly not from the butt but from the shoulder), quarter hams, the fat (labeled "fet" below), heart, tenderloin, sides of bacon, bulk sausage and links (and the kidney, not pictured).

The day after, the two sides of bacon went to a friend's house.  He has a reputation for making great bacon (a favorite of Jamey's).  The sides were given a dry rub and left to cure in his cellar for a week or so.  Then he placed them in his smoker to finish the job.  Below is what came home to us a couple weeks later.  In exchange for his bacon-curing, we shared with him some of his favorite pig parts.  Jamey divided the bacon into one pound slabs (wrapped in freezer paper) for the freezer.  He slices them just before frying them up- although most of the time he gets Sadie to do the frying- she likes bacon almost as much as he does.

Jamey had done some reading on the benefits of animal fat/lard and rendered the fat the day after the boxes came home.  He chopped it up, melted it and then strained it through cheese cloth.  The purest lard is white and odorless- this I've been using in baking.  The other lard is slightly discolored and smells like bacon/sausage.  This is used for other dishes where the flavor will compliment the dish. While some might get excited about bacon-flavored cookies, me not-so-much.  To be honest, I was a little skeptical about this whole lard business.  As with many things, the unknown can be daunting. This article helped a lot and now I'm pretty excited to be using it. About six pints of lard went into the freezer.

Christmas week, we had friends over for dinner and wanted to make one of our hams.  We had come across this recipe for making a "raw" (uncured) ham.  We followed the directions closely except that instead of using maple syrup, we used our honey:-).  The result was delicious.  It was certainly not anything like the cured hams you buy at the store.  This ham had the flavor of pork (think pork chops) but the consistency of tender roast beef- sliced thinly just like roast beef instead of in thicker slabs (like cured ham).  We will definitely be making our other hams this way, too, and may try the maple syrup version next since friends recently gave us a gallon of their family's maple syrup in exchange for a couch we no longer needed.  Sweet deal, indeed.

I'd love to hear your favorite ways of preparing different cuts of pork.  Please speak to me, lovelies!  
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  1. I was hoping to see among your list of cuts the pork steak. We recently discovered this cut and it is our favorite--next to bacon of course! :) It looks much like a beef steak and bakes up very tender--no need for a steak knife--just fall apart tenderness. So delicious with just a little seasoning.

    Your uncured ham sounds interesting--something I'd like to try. And using the lard, too! What will you do with the heart and kidney?

    1. The heart and kidney went to the friend who cured our bacon. Thanks for the advice regarding steaks. I believe there may be more pigs in our future so we'll keep this in mind for next time:-).

  2. Pork is a wonderful tasty piece of meat. "The Pioneer Woman" on has wonderful recipes for pork. People use Dr. Pepper or Coke on pork roast. I love how you respect food and I make sure I use what is in the refrigerator all the time, I do not waste food.

  3. Our favorite way to cook a butt is to rub it down with plenty of taco seasoning and cook it in the slow cooker with a cup of water until it is falling apart tender. Take it out and shred it and stir it back into the juices. Serve over rice. The next day use the rest of the meat for pork tacos. Delicious! Any that is leftover freezes well, too.

    When I was a young teen our family got a whole pig for the freezer and it included the head. My Dad sat that pig head in the top of our chest freezer on a piece of freezer paper until a friend came to get it to make head cheese. I did not know that the head was in the freezer and went to get something. Imagine opening that freezer to see a pig face looking at you! I just about passed out from fright!

  4. there room in your neighbors' piggy shed for one more oinker? I LOVE PORK.

  5. This is a recipe my whole family likes. It will work with any pork roast:
    If you don't feel like sautéing the onions/peppers separately, just toss them in the slow cooker with everything else. Adjust it to your taste. Our family finds the black pepper to be a bit much and I always use less cumin than called for in recipes. I also prefer corn tortillas warmed until slightly crisped on a dry pan as opposed to flour tortillas, but I'm a native Californian and that's more common there than in some other places of the country. Very yummy, and a very easy meal.

  6. Sounds like it might be time to try your hand at hand made soap - lard is a perfect fat for soaping :)

  7. My favorite way to use pork is with sauerkraut and brown sugar in the crock pot. Take some thick marbled pork( I use boneless ribs) or good thick pork chops. Brown the pork with a bit of lard or oil until browned on both sides( I salt and pepper both sides with sea salt and fresh ground pepper) I then spray my crock pot with pam and begin to layer the pork, sauerkraut and brown sugar several layers almost to the top. Don't spare the sauerkraut or the brown sugar. I like to add fennel seeds into the Sauerkraut it gives added flavor. if you buy canned sauerkraut you will need about four cans. I use about 1/2 cup brown sugar for each layer. I cook this on low for about 8-10 hours. I am sorry I am not good at measurements I just eye it as I have been making this for many years thanks to a friend who first introduced it to our family. You can serve this with home made mashed potatoes….Once you make it you can adjust the flavors to your taste. It sounds strange but has a most wonderful flavor. If you use homemade Sauerkraut depending on the tanginess and salt content this will also change the taste. I have had to add a bit more salt to the kraut. Try it you may find a new favorite. Teresa

  8. Since I'm allergic to chicken, I use pork fairly extensively. We substitute pork or turkey in just about any recipe you have for chicken. There are some very good pork tenderloin recipes on And if you cook a pork shoulder in your crockpot, there are an amazing number of ways you can use the meat after you pull it off the bone. You've inspired me to think about a couple little piggies along with guinea fowl as our first animals. It will likely be spring of 2016 after I retire but looking forward to it!

  9. We're not big pork eaters, other than bacon, ham and bratwurst. I never makes roasts or chops etc. My husband's family does hog butchering in early December when it's nice and cold. If you want a share you have to help, so we did. 6 of us went, me, husband, oldest daughter and son and their spouses. Eliana wanted pork to crock pot, like the recipes above. My son's wife is Hawaiian with a Chinese ancestry and she uses pork a lot in her cooking. I brought back scrapple; I like it for breakfast.

    We get our ham and bacon from a cousin with a smokehouse and bratwurst from a local butcher shop. I bake ham the same way my mother and grandma did with brown sugar, orange juice and studded with whole cloves. We also make scalloped potatoes and ham, and ham sandwich filling. I grind ham and sweet pickles.

  10. My favorite way to use the butt roast is in this recipe for chalupas.

    It is such an easy, economical, adaptable recipe! :)

  11. My momma made the best pork tenderloin ever. Line pan with foil. Place loin fat side up in pan. Liberally salt and pepper the loin, and then use rubbed sage to cover it. You should has about an 1/8" thick layer of sage on your loin. Press/firmly pat the sage into the loin with your hands, covering the top and sides with it. Cover with foil and bake until nearly done, uncovering for the last ten minutes of cook time. Slice in medallions and serve. It will melt in your mouth!!!!!!

  12. I have found pure lard to be the absolute best choice for pastry and homemade bread. Also, I only use cast iron and stainless steel pots and pans and lard is excellent for seasoning the pans. Oils can leave a sticky residue. We purchase a pork every year, and since we are of Mennonite heritage we have excellent contacts in buying the authentic sausage and smoked roasts ;)

  13. That is the most beautiful bacon I have ever seen...really meaty! Then the ham...whew now I want a ham in the worst way! This series of posts was wonderful and informative with a super touch of honesty!

    Viking Style Ham.....this is a recipe I have used, it is labor intensive but so worth comes from friends of ours... Linc and Inga Stepphansson.


    Ham and marinade:
    1 (10 to 13-pound) ham on the bone, trotter and rind removed
    2 cups honey
    2 sprigs thyme, leaves picked
    2 bay leaves, crumbled
    1 tablespoon juniper berries, crushed
    Sea salt
    3 to 4 bottles dark beer
    Vegetable Puree:
    3 pears
    3 apples
    3 parsnips
    3 potatoes
    2 salsify roots
    1 celery root
    6 Jerusalem artichokes
    1 stick butter, melted
    Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
    Horseradish Cream, recipe follows
    Apple and Pear Compote, recipe follows
    Serving suggestion: Grilled bread topped with wild mushrooms fried in butter


    To prepare the ham: Place the meat on a cutting board. Using a sharp knife, score the fat in a cross-hatch pattern, cutting all the way through to the meat.

    Put the ham in a large roasting pan. Spread the honey over the ham. Combine the thyme, bay leaves, and juniper in a small bowl. Season the mixture with salt, and then rub it into the ham. Pour the beer over the ham. Cover the pan and marinate the ham in the refrigerator for several hours or overnight.

    Preheat the oven to 320 degrees F.

    To prepare the puree: After the ham has marinated, peel and dice all of the fruit and vegetables. Place the vegetables in the roasting pan around the ham.

    To cook the ham: Roast the ham and vegetables, basting the meat frequently with the marinade and adding more beer and honey if the pan seems dry. Cook the vegetables until they are very tender, about 1 hour. Take the vegetables from the roasting pan and put them in a large saucepan. Set the vegetables aside until the ham is cooked. Return the meat to the oven and continue roasting and basting until the meat is tender, about 3 more hours. Take the ham out of the oven, cover it and set it aside to rest for 1 hour.

    To finish the puree: Gently warm the vegetables over medium heat. Mash them with the butter, and then season with salt and pepper. Keep the puree warm until ready to serve.

    Glaze the ham if desired , and then slice it. Serve the ham with the puree, Horseradish Cream and Apple and Pear Compote, accompanied by grilled toast topped with mushrooms, if desired.
    If desired, the ham can be glazed with a mixture of honey and mustard just prior to slicing and serving.
    Horseradish Cream:

    3 cups thick sour cream

    3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

    3 tablespoons brown sugar

    3 tablespoons freshly grated horseradish

    In a bowl, combine all the ingredients, adding more or less of each, to taste. Mix well and then chill in the refrigerator.
    Apple and Pear Compote:

    5 cooking apples

    5 pears


    Peel and core the apples and pears. Roughly chop the fruit. Place the fruit in a medium saucepan. Add about 1 inch of water. Cover the pan and simmer the fruit over low heat until tender, about 20 minutes. Add honey, to taste. Serve the compote warm or at room temperature.

    1. Wow, Fiona! That sounds amazing- thank you so much for taking the time to share the recipe here!

  14. We are working our way through a pig right now too. It is the first time we've had one in several years and we're really enjoying it.

    I rotate between pulling out a roast-ish type cut and roasting it with whatever seasonings appeal -- I like to mince up onion, carrot, garlic and it kinda turns into a sauce. With whatever "sauce" and flavorings I stick it in the crock pot with some liquid and roast with the lid on for a good while, around 400 degrees or so, till it's all tender and getting brown. Then use that for several meals.

    Or I pull out smaller cuts and slice it into tiny pieces and use kinda Chinese-style, as in, a little bit of meat seasons a large amount of food. From what I read here, this seems like kinda your style of meat usage.

    1. and when I wrote "crock pot" I actually meant "dutch oven".


Just a friendly reminder, if you know me personally please try to refrain from using my name. There are those who may try to locate me, break into my pantry and steal my pickled beets. Thanks:-).

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