About two years ago, my formerly-vegetarian wife suggested we buy a chest freezer and go halvsies with some church friends on a side of local, grassfed beef. Aside from my wedding, the birth of our son, the first Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie, and discovery of beer, this was the most monumental day of my life! I had no concept of the quality and quantity of beef we were buying. Seriously, if you have a pink highlighter around you, that’s the vibrancy and color of the ground beef! You’ve never eaten a tastier cut of beef before (Waygu perhaps excepted).
Well, we took stock of the freezer recently to see how much we had. A couple of roasts, several pounds of ground, and a steak or two. Not bad for the two of us (and little Liam who loves beef, but doesn’t eat too much of it).
We decided to embark on another meatventure and visit our local farm and inquire about … pork!
Several weeks ago, we were picking up some great frozen chicken and eggs from Rumbleway Farm in Cecil County, Maryland. You may remember them from our Thanksgiving post. Yep, they produced the whoppin’ turkey I did on the Big Green Egg this year. We asked Robin from Rumbleway about pork. She had an opening coming up in a few weeks for a half-hog, so we put our name down.
Now, I’ve cooked a lot of commercial pork cuts, but I didn’t know where to start in ordering “whole hog” so to speak. When the time came to put in our cut order, Robin walked me through the anatomy of the beast and asked how I usually cooked. We were able to figure out the most versatile cuts to learn with (sustainable meat is more delicate and needs to be cooked properly).
Wednesday was the day for pickup. I was fortunate enough to be working from home. I dropped Liam at school and drove in the early morning mist over the Conowingo dam to Rumbleway. When I arrived, Robin was preparing for an influx of vocational tech students for their end-of-year field trip. She was going to walk them through preparing what sounded like a wonderful meal. I wish I had stayed!
We pulled the walk-in freezer open and started looking for our boxes. Sadly, we were only able to find one of them; with the smoked items. It seemed the rest of our quarter pig was roaming around somewhere lost. Never fear, Robin marked us over to the farm store and we went shopping from their store stock. With the butcher on the phone, we were able to reassemble our pig from their cut sheet.
For our $300, we now have the following chilling in the basement:
- Two fresh pork shoulders (boston and picnic roasts for pulled pork)
- 10 pounds of smoked bacon
- Eight pounds of scrapple (yes, we’re going to learn to eat scrapple)
- 10 pounds of pork sausage (five hot and five sweet)
- 10 pounds of ground pork
- Two smoked pig feet
- Two smokes ham hocks
- A bag of pork neck bones
- Four racks of spare ribs
- Two baby back ribs
- 21 pork chops
- Two end cut
- Two center cut
- 14 boneless chops
- Two honkin’, I don’t know what but they look great chops.
Tonight we cook the first of our pig, some sweet sausage for a savory clafouti. You’ve never made a clafouti? You really should. The link I included made short work of our Thanksgiving leftovers.