How to Butcher a Pig: Leg

bringing the people behind our food to

life now we just have the back leg the

back leg is a little bit different than

the shoulder in terms of the bones that

we’re going to take out but the Trotter

and the hawk are about the same the only

thing to know is that the Trotter is a

little harder to take off just with a

knife on the back leg there’s more

tendons holding it together so I tend to

use a saw for that but I still use my

knife to make that initial cut okay

that’s also nice Trotter it’s got lots

of gelatin and lots of marrow in there

so that’s going to make that stockpot

taste better okay and then we’re going

to take our hock off a little bit larger

than that front hock but we’re going to

do the same thing so we’re going to cut

this just like we did on the shoulder

and then we’re gonna use our saw like

that so that hock has nice meat on there

as well one thing that I wanted to note

is that when you saw bone you get a lot

of bone dust in there so you’re going to

want to get your towel wet and just kind

of wipe that off and that can attract

bacteria it’s also just doesn’t look

that good not nice to bite into just

make sure you clean that up okay so

there’s our hawk and our Trotter so now

I’m going to take before I start to

debone this I’m going to take the skin

off and usually I’ll just make a little

incision there I’m not going too deep

like that

and I’m just going to start peeling that

skin away leaving as much fat as I can

on those roasts and keep in mind that as

you cut it’s going to seem like the fat

stays closer to the skin but it actually

starts to go starts to get less deep so

like right now I’m cutting a little bit

into the meat there so I just want to

make sure that I keep pressing up

towards that skin so I’m letting all

that meat stay intact

okay so there’s one side and again you

don’t have to leave you don’t have to

take the skin off you can always leave

that on a roast but in case you don’t

like the skin I just want to show you

how how easy it is to get that off it’s

actually a good way to practice your

knife skills to practice making those

long cuts so there I got into a little

bit of meat no biggie but so you can see

kind of how that curves around okay

just want a nice piece of skin with the

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another piece there

there we go okay so now you can kind of

see there’s not that it’s not the same

as this back fat on the pork chop but

there’s a good half inch or a quarter

inch of fat on there so now I’m going to

take the H bone out which is this funky

little bone right there this is probably

even trickier than the shoulder blade

but it can be done anyone can do it if

they with a little bit of practice and

again you’re just using your knife

pushing against that bone and carving

around that little S shape there and one

of the funny things about this bone is

that there’s a hole right there so if

you have a meat hook you can stick your

meat hook in there and hold on to it and

then you can see there’s a bone right

there that it’s attached to actually

that’s part of the H bone and then

there’s another ball and socket joint

right there that we’re going to


and when in doubt I stick my fingers

where my knife can’t go so that I can

see kind of where that that bone is

curving because this bone really does

some kind of funky little tricks on you

and it’s better to stick your finger in

there than then the knife so that you

can keep those muscles all intact

I’m going to go ahead and just cut this

little scrap a fat off here that also

allows me to see what’s going on

underneath okay so now I’ve basically

revealed where that ball and socket are

so I’m going to try to stick my knife in

there if I can and again disarticulate

that tendon that’s holding it on to that

bone that leg bone so now I’ve actually

detached it and I can get my knife in

there to take it off and this is why

that flexible knife is really nice to

have because it can do turns that a

stiff knife probably couldn’t again I’m

using that whole is a little hook for my


okay so that teeny tiny bone takes quite

a bit of work to get out that’s the H

bone so now we revealed that little ball

at the end of the leg bone which ends

right here so it runs just like that now

the back leg is fun to butcher once

you’ve gotten that H point out because

the seams are really obvious and what we

have here is about five small muscle

groups that all have fashio in between

it so it’s really easy to Joe even if

you don’t know what you’re doing to just

kind of use your fingers to find where

those where those seams are and you can

also use vision so you can see here

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there’s the meat hits the meat right

about there

that’s actually the end of this muscle

group that’s called the top round so I

just use that line to guide me

and to basically peel this top round off

the top of the leg and all of this is

the top round as well I actually got

through that a little bit and I’m going

to make a little roast out of this

there’s that seam

so again looks like kind of a funky

piece but all you got to do is trim it

up and then tie it nicely and I would

put that in brine simple sugar and salt

brine for about a day and then I could

smoke that I could roast it and turn it

into lunch meat if I wanted to it’s a

lot of things you can do with it okay

then I’m going to find next step is to

basically do what I did on that shoulder

where I follow that bone and open up

this ham like a book I’m just cutting

around that bone I’m going to turn this

into a little roast and this is actually

something I would turn into what the

French call a new audio jam bone which

means sort of the nut of the ham I would

take this and tie it really tightly and

then I’d salt it overnight and then I

would pepper it very generously and hang

it in my basement there’s a little

floating bone there hanging in my

basement and probably for about a week

maybe a little longer until that turns

into a nice cured piece of ham really

peppery slice it thinly great piece of


so there’s another little ham roast

there still working on getting this bone

out but instead of trying to think of it

as getting the bone out I think of

peeling the layers of muscle off the

bone so now I just liberated this side

of the bone that meat off of that side

so now I’m going to liberate the other


and each of these muscles works slightly

differently so you’re going to cook them

slightly differently that’s why I like

to actually follow the scenes between

the muscles as opposed to just

willy-nilly cutting straight down and

through and I actually when I’m cutting

this bone off I’ll actually just slice

all the way down like this and the

reason is that I love making soup out of

this ham bone and the meat that’s

underneath so I just leave all of that

meat on and that makes a nice pot of

beans some people would take that all

off I leave it right on and put it in

that stockpot okay so now we have a

couple choices here and I can leave this

as one whole roast although I have a

couple of different muscle groups in

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here that are going to cook slightly

differently or I can turn it into a

couple more Nuada John bones smaller

roasts like this I think probably I’m

going to turn it into two big roasts so

I’m going to find the seam here like

that these will be nice long roasts that

we can tie up and slice and make look


we’ll just square this off this can go

into sausage meat so that’s a nice

little two-person sweetheart roast right

there and then this we could turn into

two Sweetheart roasts I’m going to leave

it whole just square off these ends so

it looks pretty and that’ll be a nice

ham roast as well we could also make ham

steaks out of this so basically we just

slice about two inches like so and take

that layer of fat off

and then we would basically butterfly it

so it slides almost to the end but not

quite and then we’d open it up like this

and pound it and we have a nice little

ham steak okay we could do that with

this whole piece but I’m going to leave

it whole as a rose because it looks so

beautiful just as is so now I have a few

scraps that I can throw into my sausage

pile I’ve got fat I’ve got my stock

bones I’ve got my four major ham roasts

I’ve got the skin that I can put on

leaner pieces of meat or I can throw

into the stockpot I’ve got my pork chops

here I got my loin roast over here we

have our trotters floating around and

our hocks more skin we’ve got our

beautiful shoulder roast which we can

turn into sausage meat if we want to or

leave as a roast we’ve got our lovely

Coppa my favorite part of the entire pig

we’ve got a little bit of sausage meat

we’ll put that in our sausage pile more

bones our picnic we’ve got our ribs for

stock and then our fresh belly and our

bacon belly depending on how much meat

you eat if you do let’s say every dinner

you have meat as your main course this

would probably last for a family of four

about a month or two but if you eat like

I do as a meat-eater which is using meat

more as a accent in dishes versus a main

course this would last me for almost a

year so I do a lot more curing and

brining and then I do cooking fresh meat

and that makes it last a lot longer

I have always loved pigs and as soon as

I could get a pig of my own I got two

and started to breed them