Has anyone done a CSA share of a whole pig? Did you find it hard to use up all the odd cuts of meat?
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No CSA, but we butcher a pig once a year. The odd cuts often go into ground pork, but you have to know what you want when the pig is butchered. If you find yourself with some odd cuts, let me tell clue you in on what the abattoir (here in Maine) calls a "country sparerib" (looks more like a sinewy pork chop and nothing like a sparerib). It took me a long time to figure this out. These cuts make the MOST delectable pulled pork or any long simmered shredded pork type thing. We recently had the most delicious pork tostadas, working from a recipe that appeared in Cooks Illustrated, although I cooked it for a good deal longer than the recipe suggested. This kind of cut also works in a stirfry and you could even grind it yourself for ground pork (delicious gyoza, etc. etc.) if you had the wherewithal.
Yes, I have twice bought a 1/2 pig (which I purchased with a friend and we split the cuts) from the farmer who grows my CSA vegetable shares and also raises pigs and chickens. I was able to tell the slaughterer/butcher (who was local) exactly how I wanted the pig to be butchered. For example, did I want whole hams or hams slices, pork shoulder roasts or pork shoulder chops, pork loin roasts or loin chops. Fresh pork belly vs. cured bacon, fresh ham roast, slices or cured ham. You get the picture. There were no "odd" cuts. The trimmings were turned into sausage and scrapple by the butcher and I got a bucket of lard. I had the optioin of getting the feet and pork jowls, head, if I could use them. The meat was great (it was raised organically, free to roam and eat acorns, kitchen scraps, etc.) and tastes nothing like supermarket or even Whole Foods pork. It was not inexpensive, but averaged a bit under $3 a pound for EVERYTHING, which I felt was actually pretty good. If you can get your pig butchered to your specifications (most important being whether you want chops or slices vs. roasts), it is worth it if the quality of the meat if excellent. And you are supporting a local farmer.
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