Ohiofarmgirl's Adventures in The Good Land is largely a fish out of water tale about how I eventually found my footing on a small farm in an Amish town. We are a mostly organic, somewhat self sufficient, sustainable farm in Ohio. There's action and adventure and I'll always tell you the truth about farming.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Meat, meat, meat, and more meat!

Meat! Glorious meat! What a day....here are some quick pix from Sunday.

The sides of the pork were huge... Technically this is just the center cut. The ham and the shoulder had already been taken off!
The shoulders alone were enormous. This is the shoulder with the hock removed and cut in half for the picnic ham and the boston butt cuts.

 and check out that lovely layer of fat on the shoulder.

Which was nothing compared to the back fat! Can you believe it?

And then there was the bacon. For heavens sakes, we did win the lottery!

Our reference for doing these cuts is here. And also this guy really seems to have good info. I think he put more of his information in his "for sale" products because last year he had a better step-by-step guide.  The free video is pretty good (and funny, I like him talking over the other guy).

However, ahem.. someone I know really needs to get his act together and gimme the pix of "how to" do these cuts so I can post them for you folks. You know who you are. We only kinda know what we are doing and even tho we sometimes have a "what the heck is that?" moment, we've been happy with our results.

Folks sometimes ask me what cuts they should get when they have a butcher dressing their hog. The answer is - whatever you like. I'm not sure there is a wrong selection - its what you use. Primarily we use fresh ground pork, "stew" meat, bacon (of course), pork chops, and ham. We also really like "country style ribs" and also blade steaks. Because there is just the two of us we really don't like big roasts. So we take off the best parts for the grill and the rest of it goes for stew meat or ground for fresh pork.

What about sausage? Lean in, friend, I got a secret for you..... sausage is just seasoned meat. At any time you can make sausage - even just before cooking it. Now you know. We never want links anyway because we only use bulk sausage.  So any time we need sausage we just grab one of our handy prepackaged frozen 1 pound packs of fresh pork and season it up. Voila! Easy peasy.

The only tools we used for cutting up the sides of pork were a meat saw and a couple knives. I like my good boning knife and my chef's knife (actually I have two - a bigger and a smaller one). We took up the fat and will make lard out of it later.

Can you do this yourself? Yes you can! Once you read the instructions a couple of times and look at the side of pork in front of you, it seems to make sense. And if you do monkey it up - for heavens sakes its just meat. More than likely its about how you cook it and not if its a perfectly butchered side of pork.

Monday is more meat meat meat and more meat. We still need to do the grinding and also finish up the last side. And I have to call the butcher - I hope he doesn't freak out when I tell him we're on the way with fresh hams. Our deer season just ended and I'm sure he has his hands full.

Say, if you're inspired by all this lovely pork and are in central Ohio, check out my buddy D at Spring Hill Farms. He'll bring you a box of pork all cut and ready for action. When you talk to him, tell him that OFG says "hi" and wow these porkers turned out great!


Robin said...

It looks like Christmas came early for you! Great job on raising some fine bacon!

Autumn said...

Meat has never looked so good!


becky3086 said...

That is definitely a lot of meat and fat. I really like these posts,

Veggie PAK said...

What a great pork harvest! Mmmm, BACON! I love your enthusiasm! And you are correct in that it's only meat, how can you mess that up? After it's cooked, who could really tell if you did miss cutting it just right? Besides, I bet pigs are like people and each one is somewhat different anyway.

farmer said...

I miss that we didn't raise pigs this year...It was our first year of farming without them.
Your pork looks fantastic!

Ohiofarmgirl said...

Ha! Robin, we were saying the same thing! A merry Christmas indeed.

Hi Autumn - its just so beautiful... the pix dont do it justice.

Thanks Becky, more as I go along today. :-)

Aint that right, VPak! We are amazed at the differences. We had one "what is THAT" moment yesterday and are still trying to figure it out. We might have found the elusive "bacon loin"... thought to exist only in folk lore..

Thanks Farmer! We are totally hooked - its worth it in the end. The other upside, that I'll be talking about later, is all the work they did clearing the land for us. Wow!

Big Onion said...

So fantastic. Can't wait to be able to do this myself!

For the lard, I highly, highly recommend first freezing the fat then grinding it before putting it on the stove. We occasionally get these cases of lamb ribs for the dogs that have a half inch or so of fat on them. We shave off the fat, freeze it, then when I have a bunch I grind it and then put it in a pot with some water to render it down.

Cuts the whole process by at least a couple of hours.

Just my two pennies! :) So jealous of that pork belly!

Carolyn said...

I am soooooo very jealous of your fresh pork! When we have all the fence up, the pasture finished, the floors put in, and the fifty-six other major improvements done, we'll be getting our own little piglets; hopefully to dress out as nicely as yours!

Bacon! bacon, bacon, bacon, bacon BACON!!!

Gingerbreadshouse7 said...

Them pigz sure look different :o) I bet you can't wait until Spring to get more of them :o) it's all so exciting to see it all in action..you won't have time for anything else..just make sure you feed my chicken..and get some rest with a bacon sandwich at your side :o)

Jonathan said...

Here is a link to some folks out in my neck of the woods. They are doing videos that look cool and present some nice butchery. http://anatomyofthrift.com/

David said...

Oh Lard, Wherefor art thou

chipmunk said...

OMG! Is all that from those little piggies you had last spring? I am breathless! Truly amazed!

Jody said...

Nice! I really wish we could raise bacon at our place. Still, I can relate with a big piece of meat on the table. I spent the day processing a deer that a friend passed along to us. Yum!

Ohiofarmgirl said...

Thanks Big Onion - You are just right, freezing it so its easier to cut or grind is a great strategy. We freeze the fat usually because we cant get to the lard making right away. Great tip!

Carolyn, ha! we never feel ready either - there's no "good" time for porkers, sometimes you just gotta use whatcha got. after of course, you do 97 other things.. ha!

Ginny I was looking at your little hen last nite. I have to remember to take the camera out - she's just beautiful!

hey Me, that is the best video EVER! thanks for sharing!

Dave, and the Lard spoketh, "I am here, David. Come thou and render me." hee hee hee

Yep, Chipmunk, can you believe it!?!? wowza! growing your own pork is such a great project.

Thats the way to get 'er done, Jody! Excellent work! I'm guessing that porks arent so different as deer, except for the skin removal method. Pork hides dont come off in one fell swoop like deer or sheep.

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