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. 


  1. Great that your grandson wants to be involved. I also love the idea with straps, very quick thinking!
    Air drying things is difficult over here so I'm keen to see how you get on with that wine cooler.

  2. what smarties and innovators you guys are! can you please invite us for some breakfasts, dinners and suppers?!?!?!? man - that meat is going to be soooo delicious!

    sending you guys much love! your friend,

  3. Love reading of your self sufficiency! What beautiful meals you're creating Dawn!!

  4. Very clever solutions, fingers crossed for you. Love the way you plan your meat, so it's not just pork joints all the time.

  5. It's really interesting to see you producing real cured meat products in your own home.
    May I suggest that you use food grade plastic sheeting (from a freezer or food bag) to line the pressing boards as it's designed to resist attack from food & avoid any unwanted flavours or contamination.

  6. This sounds all very mouthwatering! We've made bacon and sausages before but had to buy the meat at the butchers, so not self sufficiency there. We did have fun though.

  7. Fab post Dawn. Such effort you put into everything and love the image of your own serrano ham when finally ready to tuck into!Again, good on the boy getting involved.

  8. Dawn looking good. A few weeks ago on Jamie and Jimmys Friday night show Jimmy made a home made curing chest but he also used a small dehydrator within it. I think there is a link on the internet for how to do it. If not for Jimmy he of the Suffolk pig farm fame then others have posted up articles. Purchasing the wine coolers is next on my list will go in the shed. One to use for the meat curing the other for storing wine in being as I have started to make again. I am after the larger coolers which cost a little more but are on the look out for them. They will go into the shed Hopefully soon as I now have all the paraphernalia to hand and am itching to get going with some salami. After your help last time I stocked up on the curing salts and skins. Hope you are keeping well x

  9. I'm truly in awe. You've inspired me!

  10. Hi Dawn me again. I have saved the link to my Pinterest board which is under the name Patricia Ellingford. It is saved under the meat charcuterie and salami section. Think it is under Jamies meat curing cabinet. Pattypan x


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