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Home Grown Pork

12 February 2011 3 Comments

And so we come to the second-last chapter in our pig project – receiving all the pork back from the butcher (the final chapter is, of course, the cooking!).

The butcher we used was Alaban’s Butchery (48A Central Ave, Oak Flats, ph 4256-1388), and I highly recommend them. They took us through the different ways the carcasses could be butchered, and the different cuts we could get, and gave it back to us packaged into meal-sized portions ready for the freezer.

As I mentioned at the start of the pig project, our pig was called Kevin (Bacon). I couldn’t get the song “Kevin in the back seat of my Cadillac” out of my mind on the way home! Too much Gatesy and Tripod (Bevan The Musical, Part I and Part II), I think :-).

As you can see, the pork was a little on the fatty side – especially in the loin and belly areas. The leg chops are OK. I think that was a result of growing the pigs a little bit longer than I would have preferred. Christmas and new year got in the way (yeah, bad planning!) and the pigs were pretty big when we took them to the abattoir.

The total amount of meat we got back from each pig (including trotters, tail, ears, cheeks, head, etc) was 74 kg. They normally say a pig dresses out to about 75% or so, but I’m not sure if that includes all the extra bits we got. But it’s safe to say our pigs must have been over 90 kg, probably about 95 kg. Next time I’ll try to do them closer to 80 kg live weight.

As you can probably tell, we opted mostly for chops. We kept one belly whole (just removed the American-style spare ribs), and the other belly we had cut into pork rashers. I’m attempting a wet-cure bacon with the belly – it’s still in the fridge, so I’ll report back on results when it’s ready. We also got some nice leg and shoulder roasts, and some rolled roasts. No hams this time, and no mince or sausages.

Now I just need some recipe ideas – please post suggestions, recipes, links etc below!

In particular, I’m looking for things to do with the head (I got two heads, as another family didn’t want theirs). I’m thinking a chinese-style dish with the trotters, I think I remember a River Cottage recipe for the ears, and I’ll try to find the tail recipe they used on Australian Master Chef last year. I’d like to try guanciale (like pancetta) with the cheeks, but we’ll see how I go.


  • Jason said:

    Looks like a great pig meat haul. You should try eating some of the fat, there are health benefits to eating fat in moderation. Normally I cannot stand eating fat as it repeats on me. But I have found with grass fed or home grown fat on meat, that I do not have this problem. If you have time, it would be great to hear about what you fed the animals on a regular basis as well as any other advice you have on raising pigs (perhaps another post). 🙂

  • Darren (author) said:

    @Jason: Yeah, I’ve been eating much of the fat. Free range pig fat (and skin!) has a deliciousness all of its own. I will post some more about what we fed the pigs, and also some costings to give others an idea of just how much you can save by raising your own animals.

  • Head Cheese Recipe said:

    […] quite a while now, I’ve had a couple of my pigs’ heads sitting in my freezer, waiting to get the opportunity to do something with them. The problem […]