Step 17: Carving

This step is a little tough to do for the first or even second time.  I've taken a pig butchering class from 4505 Meats in San Francisco, CA and I still have trouble breaking whole animals down quickly and easily.  The important thing to remember is that the meat will be tasty no matter how it comes off the bone, so have a drink, don't stress, work fast and dig in.

First, sharpen a knife, or two, and find an extra person or two to lend you a hand.  Work the knife between the shoulder and hip joints to remove the four legs from the roast.  These roasts can be treated as their own discreet pieces and handed off to another carver.  By far the most meat will come off of these pieces which include the pork shoulders and boston butts.  

You should be left with the trunk/torso of animal.  This contains the belly, loins off of the back, tasty marbled meat from the neck and jowl, and the also delicious, but hard to work for rib meat.  Save the skin and begin to carve out the loins as that's the most easily accessible and edible meat that will come off this section.  After that, go after everything that's left sorting the parts into different serving platters and pots.  Skin is good to snack on - people will eat it so don't throw it away!  Bare bones make a great soup stock.  Dogs like cartilage and strange off-cuts not suitable for serving.  The best meat should go onto platters for your guests.

It can be useful to cut the ribs with a hack saw off of the spine.  If you are pulling the meat and don't want to serve "on the bone" pork, just work the meat off the bone by hand.  I leave the spine relatively intact once the loins are off - there's definitely some meat along their but it's best to pick at it with some friends rather than try to spend the time removing it so you can be served.

Place a knife between two of the neck vertebrae just behind the ears and cut the head of the pig off.  For some reason, everyone really likes playing with the pig head.

Once you've gotten the legs and carcass carved up pretty well, serve your first round since you can always continue carving as people begin to eat so that the meat doesn't get cold.  In general, it's taken me between 30 minutes and 1 hours to carve up all the pork and chicken and people's mouths can only water for so long, so best to serve and then keep working as people begin to eat.
Super inspiring. Goal: Do this within 3 years.
3 years is almost up..... did you do it?!
<p>When I was living in the Bay Area (Oakland,CA.) I used California Bay Laurel.</p><p>It had a very unique flavor that everyone I cooked for liked.</p><p>Next time you are out on a hike in the woods bring a small hand saw and cut some downed and dried Bay. Please don't cut from a live tree.</p>
<p>Looks like you folks are having a lot of fun! Good Job!</p><p>I plan on roasting a PIG myself.</p>
<p>Use Oven racks, if you don't have a wire mesh grate.</p>
<p>A basic basting sauce has 1) Oil, so meat won't dry out 2) Acid, to help break down meat muscle and 3) spices. Ex. Olive oil, lemon juice, salt,pepper, thyme, rosemary.</p>
<p>try not to use resinous woods (pine,oak, etc.) they leave soot on the food.</p>
Well, what wood good?
<p>I'd like to do it with the head off. I don't want to look at a face. Yeah, I know, call me a wimp. Would also help get the weight down. Has anyone done that? Any trouble getting it to stay on the spit? </p>
Head off, skip u.no Offense
This man knows his stuff most important advice he gives is buy a young pig , smaller size the better. Doing one this weekend thx alot for refreshing my memory.
So share
<p>Do you know anyone who makes the two level staggered spit racks with multiple spits (6-12) and a 'bicycle chain' drive with a single electric motor or gas engine to drive it?!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!</p>
Looks great, I can almost taste it from here! Just like to recommend one thing Invite your friends over to help set it up the night before the cooking so that you can be well under way by the day of. My friends and I would make it a &quot;Men's Night&quot; the night before. We would dig the whole and stoke the fire, set the pig(glazed, seasoned, stuffed, and start the tall tales) granted it was 150 lb pig and a side of beef&nbsp; for the families of about 240 military unit members,&nbsp;but these are things you remember when you get old and say you have not lived until.... And your are right man has always gathered around a fire and made some pretty good friends around a decent meal. Thank you for sharing. Gives me an idea for a small pig and 2 bushel of blue crabs with all the sides.
Awesome instructable-thanks for the info
How do u enter a contest
Good post, it looks like you had quite a great party, and isn't that what good food and friends are all about? As for vegans - hey, more for me! Being vegan is unhealthy anyway. We are omnivores for a reason. <br> <br>One thing though, while your invitations are as creative as your food, I would not like a fork stuck in my doorjamb, or my paneling, or anywhere else unless it is my mouth when the fork is full of delicious roast pig.
cool <br>
Sori for bad english. Best basting is beer. Just shake the botle and spray over the pig. Do it in every 30 min. Simple and delicious <br>
We had an 11-year-old guest who cried when she saw the head at our last roast. Otherwise it was a great Party!
I'm from San Leandro, can I come join you and get a hands-on tutorial? I'll even bring potato salad.
What a fabulous posting! I seldom read entire instructibles but this time I did and I was drooling the whole time! You did a great job in your attention to detail, pictures and humor! I loved it! Good job!
This works good for little pigs but if you do a whole, market pig (220 lbs). You really need to rap them in &quot;chicken wire&quot; or they fall apart.
Here's the last &quot;pig&quot; roast I went to. But these are of the rodent variety. I much prefer the traditional pig roast like you did. I know some complain about his cute little face (the pig, not yours) in the pics. But...it's a delicious little face. Oh, that's guinea pig in the pic. I live in Ecuador where they raise them in their houses for special occasions. Not very tasty.
oh piggy!!!! his eye and face - why am i looking at this!?!? this is no different to me than roasting a dog! <br>though it's really a good instructable, objectively speaking... <br>ps. this is NOT like having a baby! except maybe from the pig's point of view, spears up the crotch sounds about right!
Except for vegans, vegetarians - and observant Jews and Muslims!
&gt; &quot;Having a pig roast&quot; is a bit like &quot;having a baby&quot; <br>Yes, well... Here's hoping you never confuse the two! ;) <br> <br>By the way, if you need any voulenteers for the logical follow-up instructable; &quot;How to eat a roast pig&quot;, keep me in mind! 8-D
I'm impressed! Looks a lot like the way the cook it in the Philippines. I'm hungry now : ) <br> <br>http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lechon <br> <br>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z-cbC48gVW8
Wow, seems like you spent almost as much time on this 'ible as you did roasting the pig! Excellent job all the way around.
This is great. I've cooked a number of these and even had then we prepared so they were fully cooked overnight and then taken them to a football game for tailgating. The best was cooking a lamb in a similar style overnight at the Rose Parade. if you haven't tried this.. you should.
studleylee - &quot;Make mes hungry! Would this work on politicians?&quot; <br> <br>No, they are always spouting hot air, besides politicians are full of poison! <br> <br>Makes me hungry for pork.
Brings back great memories of wicked party's, great friends and great pigs! <br>Remember, It takes a lot of beer to roast a pig.
LOL - Forks to stick up notices... <br> <br>Style Plus.
Wow. I'm actually vegan, but this is one awesome party that I would love to be at. I'd just focus more on the cooking of the pig and the eating of the stuffing and of course the drinking of the beer.
You sir, know how to live.
I think there is no bad way to cook a whole pig. I have had them open pit like yours, buried like in the islands, a wood fired brick oven, and a stainless steel cooker. The different methods yield different favors, and they are all good. However, I have come to like the wood oven or the SS cookers a great deal, because they seem to have more of the smokey flavor. <br> <br>Regardless of the method used, the details are pretty much the same. <br> <br>One note of caution, though. If you want a really fresh pig you will be buying it by the pound on the hoof. Just talk with your abbatoir to get the number of servings close.
OMGosh! This is amazing! We lived in New Zealand for a year &amp; they did magic things with pigs, too, but they had to dig a massive hole, cover the pig with wet paper or cloths &amp; surround the whole thing with hot river rocks then bury it again - a day-long messy job. I can't imagine how many neighbors want to come by to 'visit' when this baby is roasting. In fact, uh, what's your address? ;~}
Make mes hungry! Would this work on politicians?
Super inspiring. Goal: Do this within 3 years.
Man, that looks like a great party! <br>Roasting a pig on a spit is not easy, I know from experience, you guys are pros. <br>Here in Miami, Florida you can get whole pigs for around $1.50/lb during the holidays and not much more on any day. In the Cuban-American culture one must have, at least, one roasted pork every year and the preparation and roasting is as important as the eating of it. <br>Thanks for sharing.
You could send this to Mother earth news also &amp; post it there too. Great job. If I have time I'll build this kind of pit. It's nice to have everything in one place.
Outstanding Instructable! Your use of materials at hand to &quot;Git r dun&quot; ( tarps, cinder blocks, bricks, roofing hammer to split wood, glass patio tables, etc.) is fantastic! Thanks also for the tips on operating a spit; you gave me a few ideas for when I make mine. <br> <br>Kudos for the fork-vitation; I'm stealing that idea!
Food! I really am hungry now. <br> <br>Also, what is that guy in the picture doing splitting wood with the wrong kind of axe and in sandals? eek.
My friend is an experienced wood splitter. The small hatchet is all we had on hand on the time, we were college students, in a city. I will agree with you however that the sandals are probably not the best idea. Luckily, his toes lived to tell the story.
Oh, I know the college students in a city thing, all is forgiven!

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