Deconstruction of a Pig
The Corner Table restaurant in South Minneapolis is committed to supporting local producers and showcasing seasonal flavors. This comes through in the restaurant’s tasting menu, and through Tour De Farm, which was founded by Corner Table Owner / Executive Chef Scott Pampuch to bring together chefs, diners, and farms. But nothing really drives home a commitment to a slow food ideal like butchering a whole pig from Hidden Stream, a local producer based out of Elgin, MN.
And that is what Chef Pampuch does a few times each month.
Having already removed the tenderloin (the pig came with head removed and carcass sawed in half) Chef Pampuch (left) and newly hired Chef Chris Olson (of Paired) wrestle with their respective sides to remove the shoulder.
Some somewhat graphic pig photos follow after the jump.
Then, the loin (the large muscle running along the back of the spine) is removed.
The spine is removed from the ribs. The spine, along with scraps, will be used to make stock, so the spine is cracked into multiple bits to expose more marrow.
Virtually the entire pig is used in the kitchen. Besides the obvious cuts like tenderloin, ribs, and loin, the pork bellies are made into pancetta and bacon. A fat layer is cured into lardo (an Italian cooking fat) and the tongue is rubbed with herbs for a tasting menu. Often, the scraps are cased to make sausage.
The pig’s tongue is removed from the head for cooking; the head is eventually stewed.
The belly is separated from the ribs (left); the belly is salted for curing (center); the tongue is prepared for diners using herbs including rosemary.
Salt is kneaded into the pork belly as part of the curing process for the creation of bacon and pancetta.
The lardo (or fat layer) is used to start sauces in place of butter.