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Half a pig, need ideas


Peter the eater
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Magictofu, thanks for the reminder of that great bacon thread (and for distracting me from our election results).

I liked this Hugh F-W recipe because it calls for only four days in a cool dry cure. That's some fast pancetta, which I think ought to be on the salty side.

It's a pleasure to distract you from the election results (it seems it will be more of the same thing anyway).

The comments I have read about HFW's recipes were not necessarily about this recipe but about those found in his books, in particular many people felt they wasted whole hams by following too closely the ham recipe. As such, I would probably stick to a short cure rather than the maximum of 10 days and increase the curing time according to my own taste the next year.

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I've had the pork bellies in the fridge dry-curing for three days now. Lots of salt, some sugar and a tiny bit of KNO3. They look deep and chewy. The plan is to roll one up tightly in cheesecloth plus straps to gt a round rolled pancetta.

Here's the look going into he cure a few days ago:

gallery_42214_5579_3741.jpg

Peter Gamble aka "Peter the eater"

I just made a cornish game hen with chestnut stuffing. . .

Would you believe a pigeon stuffed with spam? . . .

Would you believe a rat filled with cough drops?

Moe Sizlack

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The pork bellies were cured in a salt-sugar-saltpetre mix for 5 days. I rolled a few pieces up and a few were left flat, some was sliced and frozen, and some was strung up to dry in a cool ventilated place:

gallery_42214_5579_79116.jpg

gallery_42214_5579_17861.jpg

gallery_42214_5579_17541.jpg

This dried-cured bacon looks and tastes a lot like the pancetta I can get at the market. It's chewy and salty and is best sliced real thin. I imagine the stuff will keep quite a while without a freezer, but I've got enough to last until the 2012 London Olympics.

Edited by Peter the eater (log)

Peter Gamble aka "Peter the eater"

I just made a cornish game hen with chestnut stuffing. . .

Would you believe a pigeon stuffed with spam? . . .

Would you believe a rat filled with cough drops?

Moe Sizlack

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Hi Peter, I just read your post - wow, it definitely makes me want to raise and share a pig with someone! But I don't have a farm, and unfortunately my freezer space might be lacking a little.

In any case, your new Pancetta is beautiful!

I know you said 'no smoking' but you really need to try it. It's a fun way to spend a couple hours (or a day) and you can do smoked bacon (very tasty), smoked shoulder, smokey cured sausages...

Thanks for sharing your adventures in good eating.

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Hi Peter, I just read your post - wow, it definitely makes me want to raise and share a pig with someone! But I don't have a farm, and unfortunately my freezer space might be lacking a little.

In any case, your new Pancetta is beautiful!

I know you said 'no smoking' but you really need to try it. It's a fun way to spend a couple hours (or a day) and you can do smoked bacon (very tasty), smoked shoulder, smokey cured sausages...

Thanks for sharing your adventures in good eating.

Thanks! I took a look at your Menu In Progress: Homemade Pancetta - nice job.

I look forward to smoking meat in a proper way, I just haven't acquired/built any good gear yet.

Peter Gamble aka "Peter the eater"

I just made a cornish game hen with chestnut stuffing. . .

Would you believe a pigeon stuffed with spam? . . .

Would you believe a rat filled with cough drops?

Moe Sizlack

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Thanks! I took a look at your Menu In Progress: Homemade Pancetta - nice job.

I look forward to smoking meat in a proper way, I just haven't acquired/built any good gear yet.

Thanks, pancetta was pretty much our first foray into cured meats and it encouraged us to do more! Did you find the smoked bacon post as well? :rolleyes:

We took the plunge and got a simple smoker this past summer (Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker). It's been great - easy to use, keeps a stable temperature and I've been able to smoke at various heat levels including a low-temp hot smoke (180*F or lower) for the bacon and andouille sausages.

I just had a really great dinner and yet I'm getting hungry again...

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. . . . pancetta was pretty much our first foray into cured meats and it encouraged us to do more! Did you find the smoked bacon post as well? :rolleyes:

We took the plunge and got a simple smoker this past summer (Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker). It's been great - easy to use, keeps a stable temperature and I've been able to smoke at various heat levels including a low-temp hot smoke (180*F or lower) for the bacon and andouille sausages.

I just had a really great dinner and yet I'm getting hungry again...

I figured a pancetta type of cured pork was a good and easy place to start. I missed your smoky bacon, I'll look again.

I'm a member of Weber Nation and I've been eying their smokers. I wonder if I can rent a good smoker, then build one? :smile:

Peter Gamble aka "Peter the eater"

I just made a cornish game hen with chestnut stuffing. . .

Would you believe a pigeon stuffed with spam? . . .

Would you believe a rat filled with cough drops?

Moe Sizlack

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Speaking of pancetta, I'm liking the rolled version more than the flat version, although they, not surprisingly, taste exactly the same. The recipe from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall suggests leaving the meat hanging in cheesecloth -- just unwrap, slice, then rewrap. The tighter the better. Unfortunately, I ran out of string but found some cable ties:

gallery_42214_6041_114504.jpg

Peter Gamble aka "Peter the eater"

I just made a cornish game hen with chestnut stuffing. . .

Would you believe a pigeon stuffed with spam? . . .

Would you believe a rat filled with cough drops?

Moe Sizlack

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These ties seems like a great idea! I bet they will prevent your rolled up belly from developing a hole in the center as it dries.

An even better solution would be a nylon strap with a ratchet or buckle or something. Or even a few Velcro straps - so it can be tightened and loosened.

Peter Gamble aka "Peter the eater"

I just made a cornish game hen with chestnut stuffing. . .

Would you believe a pigeon stuffed with spam? . . .

Would you believe a rat filled with cough drops?

Moe Sizlack

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These ties seems like a great idea! I bet they will prevent your rolled up belly from developing a hole in the center as it dries.

An even better solution would be a nylon strap with a ratchet or buckle or something. Or even a few Velcro straps - so it can be tightened and loosened.

Can't you tighten these plastic ties?

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These ties seems like a great idea! I bet they will prevent your rolled up belly from developing a hole in the center as it dries.

An even better solution would be a nylon strap with a ratchet or buckle or something. Or even a few Velcro straps - so it can be tightened and loosened.

Can't you tighten these plastic ties?

Yes, but it's a one way street -- they can only been tightened, and then cut off.

Peter Gamble aka "Peter the eater"

I just made a cornish game hen with chestnut stuffing. . .

Would you believe a pigeon stuffed with spam? . . .

Would you believe a rat filled with cough drops?

Moe Sizlack

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These ties seems like a great idea! I bet they will prevent your rolled up belly from developing a hole in the center as it dries.

An even better solution would be a nylon strap with a ratchet or buckle or something. Or even a few Velcro straps - so it can be tightened and loosened.

Can't you tighten these plastic ties?

Yes, but it's a one way street -- they can only been tightened, and then cut off.

Buy Velcro Straps and cut them to length then you can loosen and tighten as needed.

Veni Vidi Vino - I came, I saw, I drank.
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Buy Velcro Straps and cut them to length then you can loosen and tighten as needed.

Thanks RAHiggins1, that's a great idea too.

The roll shrinks a bit each day, I sliced a smidge off tonight:

gallery_42214_5579_35566.jpg

Peter Gamble aka "Peter the eater"

I just made a cornish game hen with chestnut stuffing. . .

Would you believe a pigeon stuffed with spam? . . .

Would you believe a rat filled with cough drops?

Moe Sizlack

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The roll shrinks a bit each day, I sliced a smidge off tonight:

gallery_42214_5579_35566.jpg

Very pretty, Peter. What did you use it for?

And how long have you cured it so far? It still looks like it may need a bit longer in the center - but that might just be the picture... Still, it's lovely at this point.

Edited by PBsherry (log)
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The roll shrinks a bit each day, I sliced a smidge off tonight:

gallery_42214_5579_35566.jpg

Very pretty, Peter. What did you use it for?

And how long have you cured it so far? It still looks like it may need a bit longer in the center - but that might just be the picture... Still, it's lovely at this point.

I used coarse salt, white sugar and KNO3 -- don't have the exact proportions handy.

I cured them flat in the fridge for five days changing the dry cure several times, rinsed them off and rolled them up tightly, and then hung them up in cheesecloth. That one's been drying for two weeks plus a day.

I agree there are a few different colors, but it all tastes good and I'm still alive. I figured a flat cure would mean much better penetration than a 4" diameter roll. I find the circle of pancetta more attractive than a regular slice of bacon.

Peter Gamble aka "Peter the eater"

I just made a cornish game hen with chestnut stuffing. . .

Would you believe a pigeon stuffed with spam? . . .

Would you believe a rat filled with cough drops?

Moe Sizlack

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I used coarse salt, white sugar and KNO3 -- don't have the exact proportions handy.

I cured them flat in the fridge for five days changing the dry cure several times, rinsed them off and rolled them up tightly, and then hung them up in cheesecloth. That one's been drying for two weeks plus a day.

I agree there are a few different colors, but it all tastes good and I'm still alive. I figured a flat cure would mean much better penetration than a 4" diameter roll. I find the circle of pancetta more attractive than a regular slice of bacon.

I agree, the flat cure has worked well for us. And two weeks sounds like about the same amount of time I've hung ours. I was just curious.

But -- what did you use your just-cut hunk of pancetta for? As in, how did you cook it / eat it? :-)

Mmmmm, cured porkbelly!

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I agree, the flat cure has worked well for us. And two weeks sounds like about the same amount of time I've hung ours. I was just curious.

But -- what did you use your just-cut hunk of pancetta for? As in, how did you cook it / eat it?  :-)

Mmmmm, cured porkbelly!

I made Fish & Brewis -- see post #80 of this topic.

We also ate some as is, and fried some other bits. I think I'll mail some to family and friends in a FoodSaver bag for Christmas.

Edited by Peter the eater (log)

Peter Gamble aka "Peter the eater"

I just made a cornish game hen with chestnut stuffing. . .

Would you believe a pigeon stuffed with spam? . . .

Would you believe a rat filled with cough drops?

Moe Sizlack

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  • 1 month later...

A hog will be butchered soon and half of it is coming my way. I am getting the belly for bacon and I will be making sausage. And the shoulder? That I know what to do with. Smoke it and pull it.

What else do you all think I should do? I am thinking of doing one of the hams, but am leery of a dry cure method. I don't really have the space. How about a wet cure and a good smoking? That I can do.

This pig is coming down the pike soon and I need to be ready

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A hog will be butchered soon and half of it is coming my way. I am getting the belly for bacon and I will be making sausage. And the shoulder? That I know what to do with. Smoke it and pull it.

What else do you all think I should do? I am thinking of doing one of the hams, but am leery of a dry cure method. I don't really have the space. How about a wet cure and a good smoking? That I can do.

This pig is coming down the pike soon and I need to be ready

Congrats on your new acquisition.

This year and last I got a half pig, in fact I processed a shoulder this afternoon (I think it was the left).

Peter Gamble aka "Peter the eater"

I just made a cornish game hen with chestnut stuffing. . .

Would you believe a pigeon stuffed with spam? . . .

Would you believe a rat filled with cough drops?

Moe Sizlack

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Using the head for head-cheese would be a great project. I think someone (Daniel??) has a thread on pig with the head and it houses some good ideas.

There is an excellent illustrated thread about pigs legs (maybe named pigs trotters). I have it saved it my "must try" file, but I forgot to note whose thread it was and I'm not good with the search feature. I hope you can find it.

Also, don't waste an opportunity to make homemade cracklins. We just went through Cajun country a few weeks ago on our way to Natchitoches and stopped to get some. The picture is still on my camera so I can't upload, but they were so sood.

Good luck and please post lost of pictures of what you decide to make.

Rhonda

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  • 1 month later...

[i know you said 'no smoking' but you really need to try it. It's a fun way to spend a couple hours (or a day) and you can do smoked bacon (very tasty), smoked shoulder, smokey cured sausages...

Can someone direct me to the bacon thread? I keep looking through this thread hoping to find it, but it sure isn't jumping out at me. Much appreciated!

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Can someone direct me to the bacon thread?  I keep looking through this thread hoping to find it, but it sure isn't jumping out at me.  Much appreciated!

There's this one which is teeming with acumen.

Peter Gamble aka "Peter the eater"

I just made a cornish game hen with chestnut stuffing. . .

Would you believe a pigeon stuffed with spam? . . .

Would you believe a rat filled with cough drops?

Moe Sizlack

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  • 4 years later...

This afternoon I had to rush out and buy a freezer for delivery tomorrow because somehow I have just agreed to buy half a pig from the folks three properties down from me. Good price for $60 (excluding the $$$ for the freezer...) but now I'm trying to work out what I'm to do with it all!

The weather turns cooler here soon (I hope!), so I'm thinking of trying my hand at some kind of smokeless curing, and will no doubt host a large lunch or two as well. Sauerfleisch is probably on the menu too, because I love it so and haven't had it in years.

At this point I'm not even sure how it will be broken down. I'm hoping they've gone through the local butcher who still breaks down carcasses so that at least I'll get manageable pieces.

Anyone have any new ideas or successes since the last post here?

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