or Connect
SmokingMeatForums.com › Forums › Smoking Meat (and other things) › Pork › Meat Selection and Processing › Pork: Selection and Processing
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Pork: Selection and Processing

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 

Parts of The Hog:





1 - Pork Shoulder

2 - Pork Whole Loin

3 - Pork Hind Leg

4 - Pork Belly and Ribs

5 - Pork Arm Shoulder

6 - Pork Jowl/Neck



A hog is pretty straightforward to cut up.  You can cut it up with a knife or knives, handsaw and a cleaver.  As you can see in the first graphic, the bone structure is like any other four legged animal.  Once you split the carcass along the center of the backbone:





That is my preferred way of splitting the hog, just a handsaw and a branch for a gambrel. 


However, motorized technology continues to advance!




From the hatchet,




to a handsaw:




and the Sawzall:




to the Circular Splitter:

to the Recip Saw:


to the floating Power Saw:



The hog will be split!



(BTW, for practical purposes I refer to swine as hogs, vs. pigs.  A pig is under 120 lbs., a hog is over 120 lbs.  These are hogs in the 200 - 240 lb. range,)


First, you cut the neck off, and jowl if attached.



This can go into trim for sausage, pork cubes and stew, etc.


Second, there is the fore shoulder of the hog, consisting of two pieces, the Pork Shoulder and the Pork Arm Shoulder:



Once the inside bones are removed, there are the two pieces:




These can be merchandised into pork steak, country style pork shoulder, pork arm shoulder, 


Pork Steak:



Pork Arm Shoulder Steak:



Country Style Pork Shoulder:



From the side of the pork arm shoulder roast comes the Pork Cushion:




This is usually sold as a cubed pork cutlet, breaded, or cut up into pork stew/cubes, or ground.


The trim from the pork shoulder and pork arm shoulder is saved for making many different varies of sausages, or both can be used directly into sausages.


The Pork Hock:



These are cooked slow, can be smoked, pickled, roasted, stewed, etc.  (My favorite is pork hocks and saurkraut slow-roasted until they fall apart).


The next section is The Loin:



Whole Pork Loin:







The pork loin consists of:


1. Rib (Ribeye) section

2. NY Pork (Center Cut) section

3. Porterhouse section

4. Sirloin section


1. Ribeye section:






This can be cut into ribeye chops:


Boneless ribeye chops:


Boneless ribeye roast:



Pork Country Style ribeyes, bone in and/or boneless:





2.  Pork NY section:



The first section is the NY Roast:



You can roast it, or cut into bone-in NY chops:



or boneless NY chops:



Then, the second part, the Porterhouse Roast:



on the right, can be roasted whole, or cut into Porterhouse chops:



Now, the boneless version of this cut is a NY boneless chop:



And the pork tenderloin:


Whole and sliced into medallions:




The Pork Sirloin Roast:


Roast it:



or slice it; 


At the other end of the Pork Sirloin Roast are two bones:



The backbone and joined to it is the hip bone, just like on a beef sirloin steak.

Remove both bones and slice into Boneless Sirloin Chops:



Then, you can bone out the entire loin, usually separated in the middle into



or, the whole boneless loin:


These are usually COV:



On all ribbed bones you can cut the chine bone:


making it easier to carve, or to remove the 'baby back' ribs.


Pork whole bones:



This is what you remove when you bone out the entire loin.  They can have the baby backs taken off, cooked for soup or stew, or smoked.


That completes the Pork Loin.  


Next, the Belly Section:




The belly section consists of two parts:


1. pork belly


2. spare rib


You first remove the sparerib from the belly:


Showing the sparerib on the belly, just starting to remove them on the seam.


Pork Whole Belly:



Pork Whole Sparerib:



With a fresh pork belly, you can slice Pork Sidepork from it, with or without the skin (rind) on it:



That is usually fried or grilled.


The next 'stage' of belly is Salt Pork:


This is fresh belly that has been cured, but not smoked.  Most commonly cooked and added to beans, or fried and eaten, usually sold in a small chunk.


The third stage of belly is.......



This is whole pork belly, cured (salt pork) and smoked for bacon!    Usually sliced or cut into small pieces for beans and soups.


The Sparerib of pork is usually done in several ways:


Whole Slab of Pork Spareribs:


St. Louis style spareribs:



Carolina Style spareribs:



Kansas City Style spareribs:  a smaller version of the St. Louis style ribs.


Many like to further 'dress' their ribs by removing the membrane on the underside of the ribs:



this is a chewy thin membrane; some like to eat it, some don't.  You can remove it faily easily, it peels off.


Another is removing the diagonal flap of meat on the same side, the skirt meat:



It is your choice how you wish to dress your ribs; for competition, however, both are required to be removed, as well as the ends squared and St. Louis style:



Personally, I buy it, I eat it.  I leave everything intact, even the membrane:


Some spares I did in my smokehouse for a July 4th celebration!



only bare bones and ligaments left!


What is trimmed off can go into sausage, be frozen for the next batch of sausage, smoked separate and nibbled on, etc.



The Hind Leg:




Whole fresh ham or hind leg:


This next graphic isn't stock image, it is from a ham I cured and smoked.  But, it was in the correct view:




This is the whole ham.  Now, the ham is divided into different parts:


Shank Half

Shank Portion

Butt Half

Butt Portion




The difference is the center section, how many center slices are removed. Even one slice removed, then it is a portion, not a half.


There are other parts that are garnered when cutting up a hog, mainly the excess fat (also known as backfat), and small pieces cut up for pork stew (if not included in sausage meat):







Now, the fat is just under the skin.  There is also internal fat, inside the hog:



This is the kidney fat; much like in a steer (suet).  This is very very rich and should be processed separately, not mixed into the back fat.


Regardless, by grinding the back fat and rendering it down, it makes the very best lard you can buy!


There is also the extraneous parts - head, ears, jowls, fore and hind feet, tail, penis on the boar, and internal organs.  One of the most popular parts is the inner lining of the intestines - hog casings for stuffing sausages!

post #2 of 12

oooo....cant wait for more Pops!



post #3 of 12

Me too - these will be very helpful to newer members! This is gonna be another great article Pops  thumb1%20copy.gif

post #4 of 12
Always good when pops gets on. .. we all learn!
post #5 of 12

I think Pops needs his own section, so all of his info is lumped together.

post #6 of 12
Originally Posted by c farmer View Post

I think Pops needs his own section, so all of his info is lumped together.
A Pops sticky forum would be great!
post #7 of 12

Being from NC, I am an Eastern NC BBQ fanatic. I love doing pulled pork but no red sauce is allowed within 100 yards of REAL NC BBQ. I enjoy doing pork butts/Boston butts, but I miss the pieces of skin which are in the best BBQ. Can I use a different piece pork which still has skin? Will I cook it the same way and same temps if I use a ham, shoulder or whatever you tell to use?

post #8 of 12
Thread Starter 

You can use arm shoulder roast:



It has skin on the hock and completely on the back; and should cook about the same as a shoulder roast.  It is much leaner with backfat on it; but at 200° - 205° it should pull ok!  What's "red sauce?"   :biggrin:

post #9 of 12

We call the tomato based BBQ sauce "Red Sauce" .  The Eastern NC BBQ sauce is vinegar based; the Western NC BBQ sauce is mustard based; and SC just has no idea how to even make BBQ.

post #10 of 12

Very Nice!!!!  Now to try to remember all this so someday I will be able  to do it!!!    Thank You Pops!!



post #11 of 12

very informative....thanks man

post #12 of 12

Thanks for this thread Pops it will be very helpful.

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Meat Selection and Processing
SmokingMeatForums.com › Forums › Smoking Meat (and other things) › Pork › Meat Selection and Processing › Pork: Selection and Processing