We're sloggin' thru the Meat-a-palooza 2011....Day Four grinds on...
Actually Tuesday really was grinding day. We lost our cold weather so we had to hop-to and get everything out of the meat locker, aka the garage. Even tho it got warmer today it was still below 40* in the garage. But we weren't taking any chances so we got everything packaged up or put in the coldest fridge we have.
As a I was trimming the meat I put the extra or weird pieces into two piles - either "to be ground" or "to be cut up for stew meat." The "stew meat," which is really for stir fry and the like, was the odd ends that were a little better quality - more meaty and tender. The "to be ground" pile was the tougher cuts and anything that was more marbled and fatty. We'll use this ground meat for making "taco meat," burgers, sausage, and as a base for our bolognese sauce.
The ground meat was put into 1 pound portions and stuffed into appropriately marked freezer bags. The "stew meat" was cut up into 1 inch chunks and also portioned out.
And then. The lard. I took Big Onion's challenge (just kiddin!) from his comments the other day and decided I would not be foiled by melty fat. So I marched out to the meat locker.. I mean...the garage and got my almost full 5 gallon bucket of cut up fat and prepared for glory.
Normally we just cut the fat into small pieces and then render it. We tried to grind it one year and it didn't work at all. But guess what? It worked! Well... the grinding part worked. I'm still working on cooking it down. We'll see how it turns out tomorrow. Thanks Big Onion for the tip (see comments) to get me to reconsider grinding fat for rendering lard!
Speaking of the Big Onion....he asked about the last "cutting chore" and did I do it? Well. I did it. It took some chest beating, some dancing around the fire, and me and The Big Man punching each other in the arm and "double dog daring" each other to get out there. We finally marched out there to make the final cuts for.... "guanciale" as my pal the Gastronomic Gardener calls it. But around here we just call it hog jowl. That's right. I cut off the pigz faces. Actually just the cheeks.
We intentionally didn't take any happy snaps of this big event so there is no pictorial evidence.. I mean.. step by step guide. Mostly because we were laughing so hard at the stupid jokes. So many jokes. After a small oogly-boogly moment it was over. We had the jowls and then bagged up Smiley and Head Cheese for the garbage guys. Dang, the garbage guys hate coming to our house. Its like no one but us puts badly butchered pig heads out for them to collect.
Speaking of pigz heads...so a couple answers to questions that I know you are all asking yourselves.
1. Do we make head cheese? Nope.
2. Aside from the jowls do we use anything else from the heads? Nope.
3. Did we ever find the missing pig heads from last year? I ain't sayin'.
That's the report for today on this Week of Meat. I'll be working on rendering lard, making pate, and starting to cure all the bacon odds and ends tomorrow. And making sure the garbage guys actually take the pig heads. And other stuff. Oh geez, I might as well just start making a huge burn pile just in case they don't take any of it. Cowards.
Happy Wednesday everyone!