Pork is my favourite meat, and we eat more pork in my home than any other meat. The Pork and Charcuterie sections of this site are by far the most developed.
The pig is renowned for its bounty of useful parts. The French say that everything from the pig can be used in the kitchen, except the “oink.” Besides the premium cuts, such as the loin and the extremely versatile shoulder, there are several lesser-used cuts like the flavourful jowl and hock. Beyond these one finds offal, like the liver, which is used in traditional pâtés. The hog’s utility does not stop there: the fat, especially from the back and jowl, is used in several charcuterie preparations; the intestines become casings for sausage; and, while most North Americans find the idea unsettling, there is a millennia-long tradition of using the blood to thicken pudding and forcemeat.
Working with pork is a fantastic way to explore culinary traditions such as curing and smoking meat, making sausages and pâtés, and rendering fat. (This page only covers cutting and cooking pork; charcuterie preparations, including bacon, ham, sausages, and terrines, are discussed on the Charcuterie page.)
How to Cut a Pig
- October Kills its Pig (Notes on Butchering Sides of Pork)
- Breaking a Side of Pork into Primals
- Pork Cutting: Shoulder Primal
- Pork Cutting: Loin Primal
- Pork Cutting: Belly Primal
- Pork Cutting: Leg Primal
How to Eat a Pig
Offal, Skin, Bones, Fat, and other Odd Bits