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The Pork Cuts



As our pork comes exclusively from pedigree rare breeds, it is more mature than commercial pork. You will also notice that it is a deeper colour and does not exude liquid. The surface will be silky and the fat a little more predominant. If you notice black bristles on the skin, take these to signify real quality! (They will burn off during cooking). All in all, our pork is so different from that elsewhere, you’ll think you’ve discovered a totally new and thoroughly delicious meat!

Diagram of Pork Cuts (gif, 5.6k)

The cuts that we offer, which are shown on the "clickable" diagram, are as follows:

1. Head
We do sell heads and they are particularly popular with certain ethnic groups such as the Chinese, Vietnamese and Japanese who value the delicious options available from such a cheap source of protein. The main dish to make from a pig’s head is Brawn or head cheese. Bath Chaps are made from cured pig’s cheeks.

2. Spare Rib Roast
This can either be supplied on the bone or boned and rolled and is an excellent roasting joint. It consists of the shoulder extending into the neck end of the chine plus an inch or two of the first ribs that lead off it – very different from the Chinese-style spare ribs. This is a large joint so will suit a family get together. On the diagram, the joint is sub-divided into the Spare Rib and Blade but the joint described is both together.
Cured, it becomes Collar Bacon, a delicious joint for boiling or baking.

3. Shoulder
Described as the Hand & Spring, shoulder meat is some of the juiciest and most delicious on the pig and can be supplied on the bone or boned and rolled. It is very well suited to slow roasting ending up with the tender meat falling off the bone. Diced Pork is shoulder meat and it is perfect for stews and casseroles (an underrated option with pork) or stir frying.

The Hand of pork can be roasted but is also delicious for a slowly cooked pot roast with plenty of vegetables.

Cured on the bone the Hand becomes a Picnic Ham and off the bone, a Jambonneau.

4. Trotter
The pig’s trotters are oft discarded by most butchers but many chefs today in some of the smarter restaurants are serving delicious meals based on the humble trotter and you too can benefit from this cheap meat. There is, in fairness, not a lot of meat in a trotter but they can be stuffed and, slowly simmered, the sinews become wonderfully gelatinous making a terrific dish or even a wholesome soup. French butchers certainly wouldn’t throw them away! Incidentally, it used to be a joke that the Roman Catholic church once decreed that pig’s trotters could safely be consumed on a Friday (when eating meat should be avoided) because ‘they spent all their existence under water’. This is an allusion to much old-fashioned cottage pig-keeping and the fact that the pig would be sometimes be wading about in mud.

5. Belly
The belly of the pig is a very versatile cut, thoroughly underrated and highly recommended by us to give the cook a number of different options. That closest to the shoulder is known as the Thick End which can be slow roasted in one piece to perfection. The extra fat means that you can leave this cut roasting for hours without detriment. The fat ensures a pleasantly sticky skin which will give the roasted joint some wonderful crackling and if the meat is cooked oriental style, slowly braised with vegetables and spices, the flavours adhere to the meat to perfection. Cut into chunky cubes, belly can be mixed with crushed garlic and thyme and slow roasted to produce rillons. Add cubes of fatty belly pork to casseroles of leaner meat such as rabbit or game to ensure that a good balance is maintained.

Cured, the belly becomes Streaky Bacon or pancetta. In America, this seems to be the only type of bacon available.

It is from the Thick End that good quality Spare Ribs come from. Ideal for barbecues, they should be marinated in a barbecue sauce and basted while cooking. If you can’t wait for the fine weather, you can reproduce the effect by baking them in the oven.

6. Leg
Often considered the ultimate roasting joint, you can choose almost any size of joint to want either as a Leg Bone-in or as a Leg Boned and Rolled. The Leg is a relatively lean part of the body but with our rare breeds, you will make the most of the extra fat and marbling as the meat will remain juicy and the crackling will crackle.

Cured, the leg becomes a Gammon and once cooked, the Gammon becomes a Ham. The Gammon can be supplied as a Gammon Joint for boiling or baking or as Gammon Steaks for frying or grilling.

7. Loin
Pork Chump (part of the loin)The loin runs along the back of the pig from the shoulders to the rump. This is where all the chops come from but left undivided, Loin Bone-in or Loin Boned & Rolled make excellent roasting joints. In the diagram you will see these described as Foreloin, Middle Loin and Chump End. Most commonly, these are divided into chops. The Foreloin produces Pork Cutlets whilst the Middle Loin delivers Loin Chops and the Chump End gives us Chump Chops which are lean and boneless. The eye of meat from the loin is trimmed out to provide Pork Escalopes. Tenderloin is the fillet of lean meat that runs along the top of the loin and is used in a number of fine recipes.

Cured, the loin is where Back Bacon is derived which can also be provided as delicious Bacon Steaks. Middle Bacon is cut from the whole side and thus includes back and streaky in one long rasher supplied folded.

That concludes our tour around the pork carcase. As well as the various joints and cuts described, we also offer a range of delicious and nutritional Sausages and Sausage Meat for stuffing. You also have the choice of Pork & Apple Burgers and various cooked meats from the Delicatessen. Also Pig’s Liver, a little fuller flavoured than lamb’s, Pig’s Kidneys and Pig’s Hearts, all delicious and so versatile. All in all, one is reminded of the old saying that you can eat all the pig bar his squeal!

If you require more information, we'd be delighted to help. Please send an e-mail to mail@rarebreedsbutcher.com, or call us on +44 (0) 1531 632744



Beef | Pork | Lamb