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Jul 9, 2012 04:04 PM

Pork shoulder...with worms?

Hi Chowhounds,

Last week, I saw a recipe on these boards for slow roasted pork shoulder. I bought a nice 4-5lb piece from the market and cooked it.

When it was ready (and cooled a bit), I started shredding the meat. I came across 5-6 long, black...I don't know what??? threaded through the meat. It was several inches long, black, and when I plucked it out of the would leave a black mark/stain on the meat.

I don't scare easily...but it seemed so weird and unappetizing, I couldn't really stomach it. I froze it and decided ask you Chowhounds....I just want to know what the hell that was???

I have learned how to butcher before so again, I know this was not tendon, or sinew, or whatever...but I don't know for sure if its worms.

Thanks for any advice, thoughts, comments!

PS. Should I eat it...or toss it?

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  1. I would package it up, take it back to the place where I purchased it; tell the meat "professional" that I don't care what it is, I don't want it and I want my money back. Then I'd find a new (quality) source for purchasing meat.
    Inasmuch as adult trichinella typically range from 1mm to about 4mm in length I don't thinks that's what you saw, but I wouldn't spend another minute trying to work with what you have.

    3 Replies
    1. re: todao

      Could it be a blood vessel, filled with blood?

      1. re: bcc

        That's what it sounds like to me, too.

        1. re: froddard

          In agreement with the blood vessel explanation. There IS a large blood vessel in every pork shoulder and it is black when cooked and does discolor adjacent muscle.

    2. It wasn't a piece of string used to tie up the roast, was it?

      1. I'd agree the folks above - sounds like a blood vessels. I bone-out hog legs when making sausage and always come across both veins and arteries. They're usually empty, but sometimes have blood in them. Cooked, they'd turn black.
        Reminds me a bit of chicken. I used to serve hundreds of rotisserie chickens a week. When untrussing and quartering a cooked bird, you'd occassionally come across one which was black between thigh and breast. I was told that the chicken was "injured" before slaughter (read cut or other trauma) and went unnoticed through inspection. The injury, when cooked, turned black (basically cooked discard).

        Appetizing, I know....

        1 Reply
        1. re: porker

          When my husband was in med school we would get a rotisserie chicken and as he was separating the pieces he would point out all the muscles and vessels to me. After a while, I had to tell him to to stop. It's my food, not my 9th grade science frog dissection or med school cadaver.

          I think experienced chefs do need some understanding of what cuts of meat correspond to what part of the animal and to some extent what function that muscle group had so we know what is tough, marbled, etc. and how best to prepare it. I'm more than happy to think my meat comes from the grocery store in Styrofoam trays wrapped in plastic.

        2. It was almost certainly a blood vessel and was not the fault of the merchant you bought the pork butt from so no need to have any ill reactions towards them.

          1. Blood vessel. Its a big chunk of meat.
            They have them. Take it out, wipe the meat down
            your good to go.