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The GOURMET

GUIDE MEAT
to
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B U TC H E R’ S
with

COLE WARD

KAREN CO S H O F

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Chelsea Green Publishing White River Junction, Vermont Copyright © 2014 by CSW Enterprises LLC.

Introduction to a Side of Pork

On the table before you lies half a pig. This pig is skinless, which is generally how a pig carcass is delivered from a Vermont slaughterhouse. You’ll notice that it doesn’t have any feet (trotters). This is because the carcass was not scalded after killing. Pigs delivered “skin-on” are always scalded to remove hair and bristles, and—more important—to clean the toe pads and toenails.

The leaf lard has a thin covering of membrane. You can remove it, or it can be rendered with the lard and used for cracklings. Cracklings! I love them.

The Pig, Reassembled
Let’s take another look at our pig. Extreme left: At the bottom is the back hock; at the top, the ham. Middle left: At the bottom is the belly, in the middle are the spareribs, and at the top is the loin. Middle right: At the bottom is the front hock, in the middle is the picnic shoulder, and at the top is the Boston butt. Extreme right: The head!

Center Cut Loin

Turn your loin so you can clearly see the spinal column. You need to remove it all.

Insert your boning knife under the cord, tug at it, and it’ll come right out. Throw away all spinal column material.

You’re going to make some loin chops. Chine the bone with your hand meat saw as shown.

Or use a power meat saw if you’ve got one and know how to use it safely. Am I obsessed with safety? Yes. By the way, look at the piece I just removed, to give you a better idea of what you’re going for.

I’m going to saw-cut one pork chop off camera and cut the rest with a knife. You’ll find out why in a minute.

Starting from the left, knife cut each chop.

Finish by using either your hand meat saw or a power meat saw to cut through the bone. And when you look carefully at this picture, you should realize just why I strongly recommend learning to butcher with hand tools only.

When you cut meat on a power meat saw, you need to scrape the cut portion with a tool in order to remove the bone dust deposited on the meat by the saw. So let’s do it. Both sides please.

Now take a look at this picture. The saw-cut pork chop is on the left. The knife-cut pork chop is on the right. See any difference? Which one would you prefer to eat?