Our share of the four pigs we kept on our orchard has just arrived in two cardboard boxes. It is a truly phenomenal amount of meat.
In total, we got over 30kg of meat and other trimmings.
This includes several large joints for dinner parties. The rib roast (1.9kg) and hand (2.3kg) make up two cuts from the shoulder which are perfect for a big roast, as is the belly (divided into a large 1.7kg joint for sharing with guests and a smaller 530g joint just for us). I’m also going to roast the loin (1.4kg) dijonnaise style, for Becky’s parents this weekend.
We have 2kg of loin chips and a similar amount of sausage meat (we’ll be making our own sausages this weekend… watch this space!). Some of this will be going as
bribes gifts for neighbours, the rest will be store-cupboard meals for us.
We’re going to cure a number of joints, too. Half the leg (2.1kg) will be dry cured as
Parma Westwick ham, the other half (1.8kg) will be Wiltshire cured in brine together with the two hocks (776g total). The Wiltshire cured leg will make a nice glazed ham, perhaps – another party dish. The hocks will likely be cooked in with a soup or stew to add flavour, then chopped and stirred in at the end.
Together with the Westwick ham, we have some more picnic type foods. We already have 1kg of brawn from the pig’s head. But to our surprise we found a second head in our pig pack! I’m fairly sure none of our pigs had two heads so I guess somebody else didn’t want one. Rather than make a ton more brawn, I plan to cook this up and combine with some offcuts from the shoulder (I have cut off 450g from the rib roast and 400g from the hand, not included in the weights above) and maybe a little sausage meat to make pork pie.
We have a few more odds and sods. Two livers will make tasty dinners for us at some point. The heart will probably go into the pork pie. A massive 2.2kg bag of trotters will find various uses, including supplying jelly for the pie. And a whopping 4.3kg of bones will be turned into stock later today. Oh, and the butchers gave us what looks to be the tail, eyes and brain in a little pack on their own. We’re not sure what to do with these as yet.
You may have noticed a surprising omission. No bacon? Well, our Berkshires are quite small pigs, with relatively thin bellies. To get a decent amount of bacon out of them we would really have needed a whole pig, something we balked at given our freezer isn’t exactly empty. but if this all goes well, we may well take a whole pig next time, but for now it’s no bacon for us.
Frankly I cannot wait to start eating what promises to be the best meat we’ve ever had. We’ll get to a fast start this weekend, with roast whole loin for dinner tomorrow, and brawn in with our picnic lunch on Sunday. Yum!