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Deboning pork belly?

Discussion in 'Bacon' started by doomahx, Nov 8, 2012.

  1. doomahx

    doomahx Newbie


    I tried searching first but wasn't able to find anything, if there is already a thread dedicated to this let me know.

    I purchased a pork belly today for some bacony goodness and I completely forgot to have the butcher debone it, now it looks like I am going to have to do it myself. Can anyone point me in the direction of a good tutorial or explain how i should go about cleaning this hunk of meat up? 

  2. tjohnson

    tjohnson Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Insider OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    You mean "Pork Shoulder"?

    Never seen a pork belly with a bone in it
  3. If it truly is belly still on the rib you simply just separate the 2 with a knife, or if you don't care about the ribs you can use a rib puller to strip out the meat between the ribs leaving it attached to the belly.
    I'm sure there are videos on youtube that demonstrate.

  4. doomahx

    doomahx Newbie

    I don't have a rib puller so I guess i will attempt to slice the rib section off without taking too much meat from the belly.

    Now that i'm watching some videos i'm realizing this is a pretty pathetic belly i've found. Not sure what kind of pig this is from but it's got to be the skinniest pig on earth, after removing the ribs i can't imagine this thing will be more than an inch and a half thick
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2012
  5. I have seen bellies thinner than 2" never saw them come with the bone attached tho, doesnt sound fun either
  6. frosty

    frosty Master of the Pit


    I think you were misled as to what tehye sold you.  Apparently LOTS of exta work for not much reward.

    Good luck with it anyway!
  7. mike johnson

    mike johnson Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    sounds like a lot of extra money paid for the bone weight. I hope the bacon turns out great.
  8. Good luck and I hope it turns out well for you!
  9. Hi doohmahx,

    Boning out pork belly doesn't need to be hard work.  You need a really sharp knife (ideally a butcher's 6" boning knife as they have a sharper edge than chef knives).  With the belly skin side down, pull the leaf fat off starting from the pointy end (this may have already been done by the butcher, but if you want to make your own lard, this is the fat you need).  There's a thin membrane over the leaf fat which sometimes comes off without the fat; the fat is easy to pull off in chunks with your fingers.

    Next, flatten it down so you can feel the curve of the cartilage that runs down the edge of the ribs.  From the smallest rib down to the largest, score around the curve with the knife.  

    Take the tip of the knife, and keeping it angled upwards, slide between the flesh and the rib section, taking care to keep the knife tight against the ribs as you go.  Keep going, pulling the rack of ribs upwards as you go, until you reach the line you scored earlier.  

    Grill the ribs up and enjoy your belly!
  10. bluebombersfan

    bluebombersfan Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Just curious how much you were charged for belly with ribs attached?
  11. doomahx

    doomahx Newbie

    Thanks Butcherette! That was very helpful and I think i nailed it.

    Blue, I think it was $2.29 per pound but don’t fully remember. Somewhere between 2 and 2.5
  12. bluebombersfan

    bluebombersfan Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Not too bad if you can save a decent slab of bacon out of it!  Hope it turned out for ya!  Any pics?
  13. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Nice description. The Boning knife is the best choice because it is designed to do the job. But they are not inherently sharper than Chef's knives. Every knife I own from the 4" Paring Knife to the 14" Slicer is Razor Sharp, in fact how I test to see if they are where I want them is to Shave a small patch of hair off my forearm...JJ
  14. doomahx

    doomahx Newbie

    No pictures, i generally save the pictures for my second attempt once I am more familiar with what i'm doing. Don't want evidence of my failures ;)
  15. fpnmf

    fpnmf Smoking Guru OTBS Member

  16. Next time I bone out pork belly (probably at the weekend) I'll take some step by step pictures and upload them.  If there are any other butchery type questions and practicals that anyone needs, just let me know.  If I can't do it (I'm still training) then one of the boys will be able to do it :)

    Starting my first smoke on Saturday, will report back (smoking streaky bacon, I don't know what that is in American, but it's cured belly)
  17. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

     Congrats on learning a dying Art. The step by step will be useful and appreciated. Talk to Pops6927 some time, he is a award winning Butcher. Pops is as Old as Dirt and probably Butchered the Lamb for the " Last Supper " but he still knows his stuff!...[​IMG]...JJ
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2012
  18. Ok, here are some pictures of boning pork belly.  Sorry about the quality, it's not very bright in the butchery and my phone doesn't have a flash, but you should get some idea from these.

    Skin side down, I have scored a shallow line around the cartilage edge of the ribs:

    Next, I take the knife and free the edges of the rib from the meat:

    Then I cut the ribs away from the meat with the knife held tightly against the bone, working my way from the edge to the line I scored earlier:

    And voila!  One boneless (blurry) pork belly

    This one went to the pub (after I skinned and rolled it) so of course I had to try it out.  It was delicious slow cooked (the menu said 10 hours but as I had only given it to them 6 hours before eating it I'm not sure how they achieved the 10 hours.  It was good anyway) with crackling from the loin skin I gave them.