- Utilize a combination of tools including a western style butcher's knife, larger breaker knife, and hand saw to separate the hog into three primal cuts: shoulder (front), belly & loin (middle), and fresh ham (rear). The breaker is best for cutting through
- Prior to cutting the pig into thirds, remove the leaf lard and tenderloin. Remove shoulder section. Starting from the front of the hog count the fourth and fifth ribs and slice between them thus separating the shoulder from the middle section.
- The trotter, shank, picnic butt, and Boston butt are cuts that originate from the shoulder section. The trotter and shank can then be braised and/or stuffed and roasted, the picnic butt (the lower portion of the shoulder) as well as the Boston butt (the u
- The rear, also known as the fresh ham, can be roasted, cured for prosciutto, or broken down into further cuts for other preparations. If not making prosciutto, remove the trotter and extend its value by deboning, stuffing, and braising or use it to add fl
- The hog is now separated into the three primal cuts.
- If you want to remove the collarbone (to access the collar meat), remove the spinal cord and ribs first. Conversely, if you want to utilize the Boston butt do not remove the spinal cord and ribs. To remove the collar, start close to the shank and separate
- There is no hard and fast rule for where to make this next cut, but eyeballing (combined with experience) is the recommended approach. Depending on the cut you’ll end up with varying sizes of ribs so choose wisely.
- You will now have two portions: the loin, which provides rib chops and rib roasts, and the belly, which can be prepared a number of ways including stuffed, roasted, or cured.
- In order to preserve as much meat as possible, score the tissue between each rib bone and use a rib puller to remove the bone from the meat. Once completed, run a knife where the ribs connect to the belly removing connective cartilage as you go. The belly
- The final step is to remove the mammary gland, which is considered an essential step at Revival Market though seen as optional by some butchers.
- The hog is now broken down into manageable cuts for cooking or curing. If you wish to tackle the head, Vaserfirer recommends a longer cooking time such as braising and taking care to remove excess hair prior to cooking. Market weight hogs will come to the
[Photos: Ellie Sharp]
Hog heaven is more than an expression, it's a way of life for butchers and pork lovers everywhere. From ribs smothered in sweet sauce to pulled-pork sandwiches doused in peppery vinegar to succulent hams, rich pork belly, and melt-in-your-mouth charcuterie pigs provide a true smorgasbord of flavors, textures, and oinky sustenance. If you have ever wanted to connect to your food on a primal level, there are few more authentic means of doing so than breaking down your own hog. Eater crashed Revival Market's Hog Butchery Demonstration series lead by co-owner Morgan Weber and Head Butcher and CharcutierAndrew Vaserfirer to learn the essential steps. Here's how it goes:
Note: When inspecting the carcass ensure the meat is dark red and does not have a strong odor. Vaserfirer recommends beginner butchers start with a shoulder as opposed to the full animal.
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