Whole Hog Butchering: Breaking Down a Mangalitsa-Red Waddle Heritage Pig





Introduction: Whole Hog Butchering: Breaking Down a Mangalitsa-Red Waddle Heritage Pig

Video by Jon Brown

Much of meat’s flavor comes from fat. People are starting to embrace fattier cuts, and cooking with pork lard is making a comeback. With the welcome of full flavored, lard-laden pork, the fat, furry Mangalitsa heritage breed of pig, native to the Austro-Hungarian Empire, is gaining in popularity. Known as the “kobe beef” of the pork world, their meat is marbled and fat stores plentiful. It’s said that their fat is less saturated that normal pig fat, and so tastes lighter and cleaner. Farmers are cross breeding them with other breeds to get a pig that grows fast and has lots of fat. This one that we broke down was cross bred with a Red Waddle, also a chubby breed and a fast grower.

Jointing a pig is different from traditional butchering. If you separate at the joints, you don’t need big knives or saws. Notice, we were able to do most of this pig with small paring knives, though doing it with this method, some of the cuts are less traditional. Every part of this pig has been used, except about 2 cups of glands that were thrown out. The liver and pancreas were saved for pate, the hooves made into “SPAM”, meat scraps into sausage, bones cooked into stock, skin into chicharrones, the ears cooked and sliced, fat rendered down into lard and the head will become pozole. Keep in mind, there are only two tenderloins on a pig, and not that many pork chops-often, so in our traditional food chains, many lesser-valued parts of the pig get thrown out. So eating the whole pig will require more creativity and an adventurous spirit. But it’s a sustainable way to reduce food waste in our system and stretch your pork-laden pleasure.

Step 1: Separation of the Head

Photo by Jon Brown

Often times the pig’s head arrives already separated. However, if not, cut as near as possible to the head bone, divide the vertebrae joint, and cut the head off.

Step 2: Take Out the Tenderloins

Photo by Jon Brown

The tenderloin runs along the spine and ends hindquarter or hip of the pig. Stick your hand in there and feel between the leg and the loin for thick sinews. You’ll do a round, sweeping cut through the sinews, between the fat and the hip bone. There are two tenderloins on an entire pig. That’s it! So save them for something/someone special.

Step 3: Ham Bone

Photo by Jon Brown

Next you’ll remove the leg. Feel for where the joints connect and pop them apart. If you have a place you can cure meat, make ham, prosciutto or jamón serrano, or if not, cut through sinews to remove meat from around the bone.

Step 4: Remove the Shoulder

Photo by Jon Brown

Count down five ribs from first, then cut between the 5th and the 6th rib. It should slide right through. The spine will hold it in place, so snap that.

Step 5: Separate the Belly & the Loin

Photo by Jon Brown

Remove the fat/lard and soft membrane. Nick the ribs and with a rib stripper or your hand, remove them. Clean the meat and fat off the bones and use later for sausage. Set the rib bones aside to make stock. Separate the loin cuts. The belly is marbled meat and fat. That’s bacon!

Step 6: Take Off the Trotters

Photo by Jon Brown

Search for the joint between the hock and knuckle, then cut around the knuckle. Then take the trotters and cut open and use to make SPAM or stock.

Step 7: Remove the Skin

Photo by Jon Brown

Slide a fillet knife under the skin and separate the skin from the flesh in long, steady strokes. Set the skin aside to made chicharrones with.

Step 8: Remove Roasts and Steaks

Photo by Jon Brown

Separate the shoulder and neck. If using a paring knife, you’ll follow pockets of sinew and fat, and make even, light cuts through this. These will naturally cut into steaks and roasts. This is a less traditional way of doing it, but will result in far less waste. The only parts you need to discard are the glands. You’ll come across these as small lumps in the sinews. Just cut or pull out and throw away. Continue to do this with the thighs and hips for roasts and steaks.

Step 9: Remove the Ham Hock

Photo by Jon Brown

The ham hock, or knuckle is near the knee joint. Cut around the joint, and break it off. Set these meat bones aside for cooking with beans and soup.

Step 10: Use All the Parts

I'll be posting Instructables as I start to use the different parts of the pigs. To start, here's a link to making homemade SPAM out of the hooves. I'll be adding how to render the lard and make tamales, cooking stock from the bones, making sausage, doing something with the head, ears and inner organs.



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    21 Discussions


    2 years ago

    Voodoo DooDoo Head P1G

    We'll be getting a whole hog next month, and I've told them to be sure I get everything from the nose to the tail and in-between! I can't decide between making hog's head cheese or smoking and roasting the whole thing. But looking forward to crispy fried ears and tail, and home smoked bacon. We will find a use for every part of the pig (except the intestines). Can't wait!

    2 replies

    I have read that you should use everything, including the squeak. This 'ible is great, the video is so cool!

    Actually head cheese is good if you don't look at it or know that you are eating it. I fell less sure about spam being made from trotters for some reason. Interesting instructable. I doubt that I will ever be doing this but it is more trivia to know. Thanks!

    Chicharrones should have some meat to be truly good. Pork belly makes the best chicharrones which is a Dominican specialty. Pigs feet/knuckles are great cooked with Chinese wine, ginger and soy sauce for about 3 hours covered <Red Cooked> Get out the paper towels and pig out. [Pun intended]

    There is a better use for trotters: 20 minutes in a pressure cooker on high, until the flesh falls from the bones. Eat with the hands. Use a little salt and pepper. Perhaps a slice of fresh bread. Wonderful! But for the sake of the arteries, perhaps best confined to once a year... /sigh/

    Genial! Una de las únicas veces que hacen una marranada en Instructables Y ME LA PERDÍ!!! CHICHARRONES!!!!!

    Man, I miss to eat pork...

    Good instructable, by the way :-)

    Great 'ible! We need more about how to break down animals on here. Though I also prefer my method: Smoke entire pig. Tear apart with fingers.

    Head cheese is awesome. I grew up eating head cheese sandwiches, and the first time I brought a sandwich to school, I got all kinds of teasing because of it. I didn't know any better, I didn't know that head meat was not acceptable. I just knew it tasted good, and since I grew up on a farm, I was taught to never waste anything. Good eats, gotta try it.

    Very well written.

    This was such a great experience! What happened to the video content??

    Now I need a pig, thank you for posting this. As a side note, your method of breaking down he animal is far more traditional than the band saw cuts found at your local super market.

    My mother used to eat something called Head Cheese which she had told us it was made from boiling the head and scraping it clean. Not sure what else went into it, but as a child I never dared to even try it. lol

    very detailed explanation...good

    Looking forward to all the tasty recipes to come!