What to do with a dead pig?
October 24, 2010 2:42 PM   Subscribe

What to do with a dead pig?

I have been keeping and feeding a pig for 6 months as part of a farm collective. Slaughter day is about 2 weeks from now. After the chop, we're going to have a whole lot of pig on our hands - I've never done this before, so I'm looking for advice, tips and tricks for cooking, preparing and preserving.

We're going to the abattoir and will get the pluck (organ tree + tongue) on the same day, then the rest of the pig a couple of days later. There is no part of the pig unavailable to us, so such delicacies as brains on toast are planned, as well as the more normal items like bacon, sausages and ham.

But what else can we do? We of course have some ideas but welcome your piggy experience. Bonus points for things that can be frozen and made later on, because half a pig is a *lot* of meat!
posted by mjg123 to Pets & Animals (21 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
The go-to book for variety pig parts is Fergus Henderson's The Whole Beast (that's the US version; the UK one may be slightly different). There are recipes for ears, snout, trotters--you name it.
posted by AkzidenzGrotesk at 2:46 PM on October 24, 2010

Good first answer! Here's the amazon link for (what I think is) the UK version: Nose to tail eating.
posted by mjg123 at 2:51 PM on October 24, 2010

Can you smoke and/or dry some of it? I've always wanted to try that.

If you can get some venison or other game meat you can make delicious sausages. Most game sausages are largely pork anyway with the game meat for taste. You'll need a secret recipe but there are lots on the internet.
posted by fshgrl at 2:52 PM on October 24, 2010

Pig tails can be crisp fried.

Serious Eats' offal tag has lots of other info (mixed in with other animals' offal).

Among them, pig skin looks awesome!

Faggots look like an interesting use for pig offal.

There's a blog about offal, and at least one relevant post.

Cook it simply has offal articles.

Another offal post from Menu In Progress.

It all looks delicious and it's making me hungry! To be honest, though, I don't have a lot of experience with pig offal. I have cooked and eaten a very lean and tasty beef heart and I also regularly cook and eat chicken offal. Also, I'm a big beef tripe and tendon fan (but generally eat them prepared by others).

There's a local Hunan restaurant that makes a delicious spicy pig's ear salad that I love.

I'm also a huge fan of grilled chicken skin, which makes me think that the pig skin I linked above would be awesome.
posted by kalessin at 2:57 PM on October 24, 2010 [1 favorite]

Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall is another obvious source of inspiration, and mentioning him may be too obvious: he has a whole-pig roast in The River Cottage Meat Book as well as terrine and pâté recipes which are definitely traditional approaches, along with curing.

There's also pickling, which gives you a certain taste of the American South.
posted by holgate at 2:57 PM on October 24, 2010 [2 favorites]

Can you get the blood and make black pudding or some other blood sausage variant?
posted by elsietheeel at 2:58 PM on October 24, 2010

P.S. Google's got lots of links swith a search string like "pork offal recipe".
posted by kalessin at 2:58 PM on October 24, 2010

Speaking of blood sausage, the Korean blood sausage (Soon-dae or sundae) is freakin' awesome.
posted by kalessin at 3:00 PM on October 24, 2010 [1 favorite]

This is good! More like this, please.
posted by mjg123 at 3:10 PM on October 24, 2010

Scrapple. Chops. Cure and smoke your own bacon. Intestines for sausage casings. Breakfast sausage.
posted by MonkeyToes at 3:20 PM on October 24, 2010

A bánh mì is a kind of very tasty Vietnamese sandwich which often contains head cheese and other weird slices of pig, in addition to yummy pickled veggies, all in a baguette made with a mixture of wheat and rice flour.

When I first tried one, I asked an employee at the shop what all was in the sandwich. His practiced response: "pork, it's all just pork." I didn't pry any further. Just tried to enjoy my delicious, spongy, whitish, cheesy pork.
posted by Xezlec at 4:10 PM on October 24, 2010 [2 favorites]

Pulled pork!

n.b. When we make ours, it usually takes anywhere from 12-18 hours. But you'll know.
posted by Night_owl at 4:46 PM on October 24, 2010 [1 favorite]

Definitely bacon. The tongue is delicious prepared in the Japanese yakitori style. Clean off the taste buds, then lay the tongue flat, slicing it from the sides. Skewer the tongue-disks, sprinkle with salt and pepper, grill over charcoal, and sprinkle with chili powder at the end. Great appetizer.

The face can be used to make guanciale(?), which is sort of a cured pancetta type thing. Check out Charcuterie, by Michael Ruhlman and Brian Polcyn, it has a lot of good recipes for curing and smoking.

Given a whole pig, I'd try out making a standard cured ham with one leg, and attempt to make a version of jamon serrano/jamon iberico (note, this is supposedly worth it only if the pig was hand raised and otherwise better than your average pig), but that's evidently a 9 month long process.

You could, and I feel should, make your own lard. With all that fat on the pig, it's almost like your solemn duty.

The front legs/shoulders are great for barbecue, stew, and also things like carnitas (and other delicious Mexican ways to cook pork shoulder). The ribs = barbecue, though you could leave the bones on the chops. A loin roast is nice, though slow cooking a half a loin and carving off slices (to serve in a pita, topped with grilled onions and peppers) is a great party feast (Jaime Oliver did something similar in an early season). Do you get the bones, too? Stock!

Sausage is definitely worth a go, too, with breakfast (caseless) sausage being the easiest. From all I've read, cleaning out the intestines on your own to make casings is one of the more unpleasant things a person can do, and casings are easy enough to get by mail.
posted by Ghidorah at 4:59 PM on October 24, 2010

If you get the head - head cheese. Render some lard and make cookies\pies\etc.

The River Cottage Meat Book should have a recipe including every part of the animal, as will The Whole Beast by Fergus Henderson.
posted by sanko at 5:30 PM on October 24, 2010

I've always wanted to do the pig's bladder thing from Little House In The Big Woods.
posted by padraigin at 6:54 PM on October 24, 2010

Make pork floss! I've wanted to try for a while, but haven't had a chance yet. We're thinking about buying a quarter hog soon, though, so that may change.
posted by MeghanC at 8:03 PM on October 24, 2010

Okay, not a direct answer to your question, but relevant anyway: http://www.ted.com/talks/view/id/960
posted by DreamerFi at 6:18 AM on October 25, 2010

wait, let me make that a link: http://www.ted.com/talks/view/id/960
posted by DreamerFi at 6:18 AM on October 25, 2010

Seconding Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall. Pig In A Day.
posted by tra at 8:41 AM on October 25, 2010 [1 favorite]

OK - thanks for all your answers - I'm definitely going to try a few of them. Especially Sundae :) Cheers - and happy pigging.
posted by mjg123 at 3:30 PM on October 26, 2010

Oh, and Hugh FW is brilliant, too. Beware though, his "Meat" book often just refers you to the "River cottage" book, so you'll end up buying both.
posted by mjg123 at 3:31 PM on October 26, 2010

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