While I was gnawing on the piece of chop I thought about how delicious and versatile the pig is. Pork, or porcine, has been a delight to eat for many people. Throughout the years people have deemed eating pork as being dirty, evil, or just fattening. Truthfully, eating some pork in your diet is actually good for you. It only starts getting evil and fattening when you fry it. I might be contradicting myself being that I just shoved a fried pork chop into my mouth almost 4 hours ago. Hey a person can indulge ever now and then right? I say yes, but I digress. Pork is great. It has good flavor and the oh so juiciness that people enjoy when they are eating meat.
There are many parts of the pig that you can eat. I was raised in the country where you are taught to not waste any food. This included the pig which means that we ate every part of the pig almost. Every part of it was cooked and enjoyed. Ahhh I am smiling as I type this. Anywho…let’s look at the pig…
Depending on where you are located, the diagram of the pig may look a little different, but they all mean the same thing. In culinary school, my amigos and I use to make up names for each primal so it would be easier for us to remember the subprimals. The primals are the section that are colored and your sub primals are the cuts of meat that come from that primal. For example, center cut pork chops, like those pictured above, are a sub primal of the loin section of the pig (which also yield baby back ribs YUM!). The Boston butt is your roasts, your ham is, well hence the name, the belly of the pig is where you get your fresh pork belly…excuse me for all of you that arent so culinary literate, that where your bacon comes from. All of the other sections are pretty self explanatory. The jowl might be a little confusing to some of you mainly because not too people I know indulge on pork jowl; unless it is when they are eating a hot dog or bologna (the jowl is one of the parts of a pig that is thrown in the mix with other ingredients to make a lot of processed meats).The skin of the pig is cut and fried in oil (pork rinds) and also fat back is fried also or used to add flavor to a pot of collard greens or beans. Pig’s feet are also a delicacy (one of my favorites), as well as the ears, tail, and intestines (chitterlings). The head of the pig is even eaten. It is often put in a pot with seasonings and such and cooked until the meat of the head is a mushy, creamy texture…what they call Hog Head Cheese.
Whether you are eating a pork chop or a rack of ribs, be sure that your piece of the pig is cooked to the proper temperature of 155 degrees F.