Monday 27 February 2017
Processing The Pork Stage 1
Yesterday we got stuck into processing the first half of the pig,
Meat weight in total of the carcass is 34kg roughly 75lb
we are happy with that weight and the meat is very lean.
I didn't want chops this time round, it has all been put into joints
We have kept the back leg intact.
Martin bought himself a butchers block it makes it easier having an area to do the butchering, that case on top is a set of butchers knives and saws we bought just after moving here.
First up was turning the two loin cuts into back bacon, I had to make up another batch of brown sugar
Molasses and white sugar mixed together
It does darken up over time, as you can see the two different batches sitting in the scales
The sugar is mixed with salt of equal weight, chopped bay leaves mixed herbs and seasonings divided into 5 portions
the first portion is rubbed into the loins all over, they are covered and put in the fridge, next day the liquid is poured off and the process is repeated with the next portion, you continue like this for 5 days, then the loins are washed wrapped in muslin and hung up to air dry for about 7-14 days, it is sliced in rashers ready to be cooked.
Next up was that leg, I want to have a go at turning it into a Spanish Serrano Ham, this entailed a bit of research, the joint was salted all over
everything I read said about putting the salted joint into a press or weighting it with about 30kg, weighting it was going to be difficult as it needs to be kept on a slope to drain, we didn't have time to make a press, then Martin had an idea, we sandwiched the joint between sheets of wood covered in plastic
we cut some plastic sheeting from a feed bag
then ratchet straps were used to press the meat
using the straps were a brilliant idea
It is now standing in the utility room with a tray to drain into
It has to stay like this for 10 days, then the salt gets brushed off and it will be air dried for at least 6 months.
To air dry you have to have low humidity and the air has to circulate around it while keeping it cool, low humidity is very difficult in the UK, another lot of research and I ordered a wine cooler unit, it seems this will be ideal it arrives on Thursday, something we can use for many things.
Grandson has been in charge of doing the bacon, as he goes home tomorrow I have packed one of the loins for him to take back along with enough cure for the next three days, some muslin and string for the next stage, he can continue making some bacon for the family at home, another skill he can pass on to the others.
later this week I will make some sausages from all the trimmings, the other joints and ribs are now in the freezer.
Next week end we will do the rest of the pig, there is another ham I want to try.