I know that when the ball drops at 12:01 on January 1 we are all
So I bought a pig…
It has come to my attention that not everyone wants to buy their pork already processed. Why? You may want to save money by raising a hog yourself, or you may want to purchase a whole, already raised hog and have it processed in the way you prefer. If you aren’t in the hog business you might not be knowledgeable about every cut that processing can render from a pig so I decided to do a series of articles that might help you decide which pork cuts are for you.
Pork cuts that come from the Belly:
- Bacon: Bacon is cut from the belly and side, from just underneath the ribs. You can have it processed into slices or leave it in a slab. If you have your bacon cut into a slab, remove the rind before cooking. You can then make “cracklings,” or fried bacon rinds, for a crispy, crunchy, and flavorful treat.
Here at Circle B Ranch, we love bacon, so we offer several bacon products: Circle B Ranch Hickory Smoked Pepper Bacon, Uncured (Nitrite-Free) Bacon, and “For the Love of Bacon”—our triple bacon package. We also have numerous bacon recipes posted to the website that can give you some new ideas for cooking your bacon.
Look for the next installment of this series titled “Bacon, Bacon, Bacon” for more information about this cut and for some very tasty bacon recipes.
- The Belly: The underside of the pig after the loin and spare ribs are removed; this cut is very popular in restaurants, and it is great for slow-cooking recipes since the meat comes out exceptionally tender.
Pasture-fed pork, fresh veggies, and white wine make this roast recipe mouth-watering good.
- Pancetta: What is Pancetta? Pancetta is the Italian version of bacon. It differs from bacon in that it is cured, but not smoked like bacon often is, and is served as a finely sliced cold-cut. Pancetta is made by curing belly meat; the unsmoked meat is rubbed with salt, or it is soaked in brine until the meat is completely saturated with salt and then rubbed with various herbs and spices. To find out more about Pancetta, try this link. The Huffington Post did a very informational article about Pancetta’s various culinary uses.
- Spare Ribs: The largest and meatiest ribs, they are full of flavor. They are larger and heavier than Baby Back Ribs.
There are thousands of spare-rib recipes out there; I have a few here on the Circle B Ranch website that are delicious.
One of the simplest ways to cook them is to start them in the oven. First, liberally salt and pepper 2 racks of ribs. Wrap them tightly with aluminum foil and roast them in a 275° oven for 2-3 hours or until fork tender (this time is optimal for baby-back ribs and may be adjusted for spare ribs). Then, place the ribs on a hot grill and slather with Big John’s BBQ sauce. Grill on both sides for 5-7 minutes, basting with BBQ sauce as needed. Serve with extra sauce on the side and enjoy the taste of grilled ribs with only a quarter of the work!!
Yes, some of the juiciest ribs can be made in the oven. Find some great cooking tips and techniques for any rib recipes at Emma Christianson’s Kitchn Website. You can also check out Paula Deen’s recipe for Slow Cooker Pork Spare Ribs. This recipe has a five-minute preparation time. The crock pot does all the work for you!
Here at Circle B Ranch we are all about simple yet delicious food. I want to provide you with the knowledge you need to make your buying and cooking choices easier. Don’t forget to look for the next blog in the Circle B Ranch pork cuts series: Bacon, Bacon, Bacon. It will give you some tips on how to prepare bacon with less mess and share some surprising bacon recipes.