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Shiloh Acres Family Farm

The Best Things in Life are Homegrown

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How to Use Various Pork Cuts

When you're at the grocery store looking through the meat department, do you sometimes see a package of pig tails and wonder, "who buys those and what do you do with them"? I used to until I started raising American Guinea Hogs.

Long before the creation of Walmart and Food Lion, families butchered their own meat and used virtually every part for food. Neck bones, back bones, tails, ears, etc. were all included in the family's meal plan. I doubt they realized the nutritional value of using the bones, but they definitely benefited from the broth made from them.

Bone broth is often found in the soup section of your grocery store, labeled as stock. You can also easily make your own broth and add your own seasoning or leave it completely unseasoned. You can make a large batch and freeze it for use throughout the year. That's what I do. We use bone broth as a delicious addition to our dog's food so they too benefit from the added nutrients. Here's a great article on the benefits of bone broth, https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/323903.

You can Google or search YouTube for "how-tos" on making your own bone broth. I simply put 2-3 pounds of various pork bones in my InstantPot, add 1-2 tablespoons of Apple Cider Vinegar and use the meat setting for 2 hours. I leave the "keep warm" button on until the pressure button drops. I don't add seasoning to mine because I prefer to use the broth in recipes as it's called for.

If you're wondering about other ways to use various or less common cuts of pork, give these ideas a chance:

Sliced Ham is simple to cook in the oven or in a frying pan. Sprinkle some brown sugar on the slices and bake in a 375 degree oven for 1-1/2 hours. Or cook in a non-stick frying pan on medium to high heat until the fat turns clear.

Shoulder Roast is a bit tougher and fattier than pork chops, but great grilled, broiled, pan-fried, or slow cooked. It's best to tenderize or marinate before cooking. The think layer of fat adds tremendous flavor when slow cooked. Often used for pulled pork.

Ham Roast makes a tasty pulled pork when slow cooked. For the best flavor, cook the ham with the fat facing up.

Tenderlion is lean, tender, boneless and easy to cook. Try them grilled, roasted or broiled.

Sliced Pork Side is crispy, fatty, and very flavorful when baked in the oven. The slices are uncured and thicker than bacon. They make a great appetizer or breakfast treat. Cook with a sprinkle of kosher salt, pepper, and smoked paprika then bake at 400 degrees for 50 minutes.

Pig Tails are mostly used as a great meat dish with turnip greens, black-eyed peas, or boiled cabbage. They can be smoked, fried, or roasted in a BBQ sauce.

Fat Back is generally used to add flavor and juiciness to lean meats, such as venison or poultry. It has a high water content so adding too much can cause meat shrinkage. It's often used to add flavor to peas or collard greens. It's easier to cut into thinner slices when frozen.

Backbones are mostly used in stews to create an especially rich bone broth. An easy and frugal meal for the use of backbones is to cook it for about an hour in a stock pot on medium-low heat with your favorite spices then serve with rice.

Neckbones have a small amount of meat on them, but when simmered for hours, they add a rich flavor to broths and sauces. Try them in your spaghetti sauce.

Enjoy a new adventure with pork!