The hams sit above the back legs. There are two hams per pig. Ham steaks are cut out of the middle of the ham, and the top and bottom are roasts. Two-pound roasts are a good size for two people, plus some leftovers. To read a great poem about ham, click here.
A Quick Pig Anatomy Lesson
Bacon is smoked belly. It's delicious. But so is fresh belly. Especially if you want to braise it for ramen. Just food for thought.
The top of the shoulder is the Boston Butt roast (pulled pork/bbq), which is also where shoulder chops come from. The bottom of the shoulder is roast material or good for grinding into sausage.
The bottom of the shoulder and the ham is the hock, good for grinding into sausage, smoking and using in stew and baked beans (our favorite), or keeping whole and fresh and braising.
The loin is the long eye of meat from the spine to the top of the ribs. It's thinner at one end and thicker on the other. We suggest country style spare ribs from one end and then a mix of chops and roasts from the center and loin sections. Also, no need to request tenderloin-- every pig has two, and you will get both of them.
The types of sausage available are sweet, hot, or breakfast. If you want any unseasoned ground pork (which we sometimes prefer), make a note of this and how many pounds you want on the cut sheet in the sausage section. The butcher needs a relatively large amount of meat to grind for flavored batches (approximately 5 lbs. per batch), so you will likely only get a few different kinds of sausage. Sausage comes loose ("bulk") in 1 lb. bags. If you prefer links, they cost $2.89 per lb.
We're happy to talk offal with you if you're interested in playing with some unusual parts of the pig. Contact us with questions.