Categorized | Blog, Food

Ever butcher a pig?

Ever butcher a pig? Nor had I until the other day. I’ve always known there was something funky going on with most of the meat being sold at the grocery stores and after watching the newly released DVD of “Food Inc”, my worst fears had been realized. I know not everyone will think the way I do about food and that’s okaybut it doesn’t change how I view it.

For years now, my wife and I have sourced most of our meat from local butcher shops – you know, the kind of places where the man behind the counter can actually tell you something about the products they’re selling? After all, don’t you want to know where the meat came from that you’re enjoying – I sure as heck do.

As a huge proponent of the “whole food” concept, I firmly believe that the closer we get our food to the source it comes from, the healthier it is for us, the better it is for the local economy and ultimately the more humane it is for the animal being slaughtered  – and that’s something even most vegetarians can get behind.

A couple of years ago, I was introduced to a couple who own 35 acres and live about 30 minutes away. They raise horses, cows, chickens, pigs, lamb and goats – we first bought a side of beef from them at the time.

This past weekend, however, we picked up one-half of a hog from them and this time around I was determined to get more involved in the process of putting food on the table for my family. This involved both Traci and I as she picked up the other half of the hog.

This past Monday was the day her and I did our own cutting and wrapping of the pig and in hindsight I’m really glad I decided to do this. It’s one thing to know what the various cuts of meat are called from a culinary point of view but it’s a whole new level of immersion when you’re the one making (or in my case, trying to make) those cuts.

Having lived in Italy for about 20 years, she had a lot of experience of farm life and butchering her own animals so that was indeed a handy skill to have. That said,. however, she was still a bit “rusty” so we turned to Google and found this handy video on

So what does this have to do with wine? Well nothing, directly – but like wine, quality ingredients make up the fabric of our lives in so many ways and frankly, a huge part of that is good food pair with good wine and friends – in my humble opinion – do make the world go ’round.

Tonight I fixed the first piece from our side of the pig – the tenderloin. I pan-seared it with onions, apples and rosemary then deglazed the pan-drippings with cognac and heavy cream. On the side are oven-roasted potatoes, carrots and crimini mushrooms.

  • erica

    Wow, this sounds incredible. What was the fat content? That’s the saddest part of the commercialization of pork — in the effort to market it, the industry is only selling the lean (tasteless) stuff.

    I hope you had a nice bottle of wine with this! :)

  • Duane Pemberton

    Hi Erica – I have no freakin clue what the fat content is of this pig… I can tell you, however, that I trimmed quite a bit off before we made the cuts…