Broken down simply:
Yielding two halves. This makes it easier to handle, both for chilling and for breaking down into smaller portions.
This can be broken down two ways, for meaty ribs with little or no bacon, or removing all of the belly meat and fat and muscle covering the ribs to be cured and smoked into bacon, leaving skinnier, almost meatless ribs.
We opted for the meatless ribs and all bacon
The loin is removed from the ribs and was then cut it into boneless chops.
Here is some meat trivia – What is the front shoulder of a pig called? The butt. What is the butt of a pig called? A ham. Unless you are talking about the lower front shoulder of a pig, that is a “picnic ham”. Craziness.
The hams were separated, and will be turned into cured ham.
They were not very big, but I taste-tested a couple and were mighty fine eats.
As well as about a quart of cracklin’s. They were dusted with some season salt, and are used like bacon bits.
All of the trim was ground up, possibly to be made into sausage, otherwise, simply used as ground pork.
The bacon will be done in about a week, the hams a little longer, since the time it takes in brining/curing is based on weight. Being the “Pro”, BlueTang is doing this, and will be putting of the the 9 smokers to use, probably his UDS. For what it’s worth, he swears by his “UDS”, or Ugly Drum Smoker, a smoker he built out of a steel drum. Building one for myself is on my bucket list…And I’m hoping BT will write up a “How-To” soon….
So now that the narrative is over, I need to address something. This took about three days to complete. During that time, I was rushed, annoyed, harassed (its what friends do to each other), wet, tired, bloody, and plain old worn out. Not everything went as planned, but in the end, as they say, “A good time was had by all”, and we ended up with some quality meat. This was one of the few times I fealt as though I could live happily ever after here in Florida. I was doing something I loved to do, “making meat”, and I was sharing the experience with others that loved to do it as well.
I guess I’m trying to say that life is what you make of it, and if you do not like the situation, change the situation…or your view of it. (Yes, this is something I’ve said before!) This all occurred on the week I normally spend in West Virginia, deer hunting, in order to put meat in the freezer. Harvesting these hogs gave me that feeling of being where I want to be. So I want to thanks both TK as well as BT for involving me…
I cannot put a value on what I got out of the weekend, above and beyond the food.
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