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What parts of a pig should I ask for: not the meat, tho?

DB is butchering a pig this week, what parts should I ask for? I want his family to get the meat, but I want all the other parts.
So far I will get the head, hopefully split. I've also asked for all the bones, tail, trotters, liver, pancreas. Should I ask for the skin? Belly? I'm sure there's more.

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  1. I'm not able to give you advice about the parts that you mentioned, but I had pork liver only once many years ago. It had a very gamy flavor which I did not like, and have not had it since that time. It will needs some special rub or mixture of herbs to get rid of the gamy flavor.

    2 Replies
    1. re: ChiliDude

      I've never had pork liver by itself, but my father makes an old family recipe for a dish that was always eaten for breakfast - think "scrapple" kind of thing, but different. I love it, and have noticed no gamy flavor.

      1. re: ChiliDude

        i prep for pig liver is to thinly slice it then make a soup of it with ginger, scallion and not much else... the fresher the better and the ginger, my guess is, takes away some of the gaminess... http://chowtimes.com/2008/08/30/pork-...

      2. Did a little searching and found this useful link. Scroll down and you will see plenty of variety meats, including rectum (which I've seen packaged for sale in my Asian market).

        About por liver, it is an essential ingredient in Louisiana boudin. My family made and sold it when I was growing up.

        Here's the link (pdf is safe):


        1. If you get the head (helllo, head cheese) -- you'll also get the cheeks -- the treasure of the whole pig.

          8 Replies
          1. re: sunshine842

            Are pork cheeks akin to beef cheeks--meaning they would have a very singular kind of texture/structure?

            I found beef cheeks flavorful but not especially appealing as regards texture for something like pot-roast. Of course, if you shred the meat finely for some other purpose, that wouldn't be an issue.

            1. re: Bada Bing

              guanciale comes from the pork cheeks.

              1. re: hotoynoodle

                Yes. Love guanciale for Bucatini (or other pasta) all'Amatriciana. But it does require being cured, which is, for people, in most climates, doable.

                I wonder what similarly cured beef cheeks would be like?

                1. re: Bada Bing

                  Beef cheeks, or cachete de res, are so tender they really don't need much help. They are usually a premium priced taco meat when you can find them.

                  1. re: Veggo

                    Tender, no doubt. But they lack the kind of muscle structure that one finds in even the most cartilaginous cuts of beef, like chuck or shank or short rib. The one time I made a pot roast from beef cheek, the taste was fine, but the meat texture was halfway between tender chuck and jello.

                    Not that there's anything intrinsically wrong with that, but it made me feel that I wouldn't re-do beef cheek for a preparation in which some structural interest is part of the picture. Or maybe I overdid them....

                    1. re: Bada Bing

                      I think that is why they are best suited for tacos rather than a stand alone plated item.

              2. re: Bada Bing

                Pig cheeks are very suitable for a long braise. I find them fairly easily in the supermarket (although not free-range or organic ones) and they're so cheap.

                I usually cook them to this Mark Sargeant recipe (although the amount of honey needs consdierably cutting down to around 2 tablespoons): http://uktv.co.uk/food/recipe/aid/586366

                1. re: Bada Bing

                  I make braises from both pig and beef cheeks -- they're succulent, have nice texture, and wow flavor.

              3. Well I'd get the all the lard I could and have him separate out the leaf lard from the rest.

                1. If you can get the Belly, grab it! Make your own Bacon.

                  1. Pork liver is essential to most pate de campagne recipes. There's nothing else with quite the same amount of, erm, liveriness. I find it freezes well, so make a big batch and freeze in portions.

                    When you say "belly", do you mean the stomach or the roasting joint? If the latter, wouldnt the family be claiming it as part of the "meat"? Not sure what I'd do with a pig's stomach.

                    10 Replies
                    1. re: Harters

                      Pig's stomach uses? A bota bag for wine, or an ammo pouch.

                      1. re: Veggo

                        I must ask the Spanish brother in law. The family always used to hold a matanza - the annual pig-killing event. I know most of the offal gets used quickly in the "frit de matanza" (and I can vouch that the lungs are unpleasantly chewy). Don't know about the stomach but they're bound to have had a use for it.

                        1. re: Veggo

                          Saumagen, a German form of Hog Maw, or stuffed pig stomach can be made from the stomach.

                          " Saumagen stuffing consists of potatoes, carrots and pork, usually spiced with onions, marjoram, nutmeg and white pepper, in addition to which, various recipes also mention cloves, coriander, thyme, garlic, bay leaf, cardamom, basil, caraway, allspice, and parsley. "


                          It is pretty tasty.

                        2. re: Harters

                          Stuffed pigs stomach is a popular PA (Dutch) German dish. My local grocery store often has stomachs in the meat case.

                          Growing up I was never a fan and I can't remember the ingredients aside from potatoes. Mr. CB loves it. The presentation looks impressive.

                          I'll look for an authentic recipe and post it but I am sure you can find something via google.

                          1. re: cleobeach

                            Hallo Cleo -

                            Here is a link you might enjoy from a German site, with photos, start to finish on Saumagen.


                            It can probably be translated via Google, etc. Most informative.

                            This would make a good Fall or Winter project in the kitchen, but when the opportunity presents itself, go for it !

                            1. re: SWISSAIRE

                              My German is rusty but I could read most of the recipe so I am feeling pretty good about myself today!

                              This article describes the style I remember -


                              1. re: cleobeach

                                Hi cleobeach-

                                That is a good article.

                                No measurements Hmmm.....By memory, apparently.

                                The comment " ... like a barnyard " is quite correct. "

                                Same with cleaning tripe ( I use a weak bleach solution ).

                                1. re: SWISSAIRE

                                  Yes, the like a barnyard comment brought back less than desirable memories!

                                  My born and raised farmer's daughter and later farmer's wife grandmother left behind offal or what she considered to be "poor" food as soon as family economics allowed. This was not uncommon where I grew up, some families clung to tradition, some didn't. My German father, on the other hand loved all organ meats and never missed a chance to partake. Filled or stuffed pig stomach was a common dish at friends and neighbors homes as well as church and community dinners.

                                  My husband's aunt was a real "Dutchie" and she very much a pinch and a handful type of cook. When my husband asked her to write down some recipes, she struggled to "convert" to real measurements.

                                  1. re: cleobeach

                                    My in-laws fill it with sausage, potatoes and a little bit of cabbage. Stuff it into the well cleaned belly and put in a pot with a little water and cook until the outside starts to brown. Slice and serve.

                                    1. re: melpy

                                      I remember some versions with sausage. No doubt the recipes varied from family to family.

                        3. All the bones
                          Lard and leaf lard
                          Head is the big part imo, those cheeks are pure gold.

                          1. Leaf lard!
                            There is nothing like it.

                              1. You could make scrapple with all your ingredients. I've heard tell scrapple contains everything but the squeal.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: i_am_Lois

                                  Lois - I'm fairly sure scrapple includes the squeal too.

                                2. Pan fry the thinly sliced liver breadcrumbed with some seasoned masa harina. Pig liver is the liver of choice for me between pig, lamb, beef and goat. The heart is also delicious, a little too tough even when cooked slowly. I grind it and add with some ground back fat to ground pork to make chorizo. It's also great as an addition to burger or meatloaf, though as it's so lean it's good to add extra fat. The kidneys are delicious, need to be cooked very carefully or they get tough. I soften an equal weight of sliced mushrooms in some lard, then add the cored and sliced kidney. Some barbecue or chile sauce goes well as the kidney flavor is strong and distinctive.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: andrewtree

                                    Plus one on the pork kidney -- like other filtering organs, it needs to be cleaned scrupulously, and andrew's advice on the speedy cook time is spot on. There's a great Sichuan dish whose name is quite poetic: fire exploded pork kidney flowers (see: http://kake.dreamwidth.org/112156.html) that is quite craveable.

                                  2. Ask for everything they're not keeping for themselves (hard to imagine they're not going to keep the belly, tho!). Then come back and let us know what you may need help using.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: ricepad

                                      Yes, there are many wonderful Asian pork belly recipes.

                                    2. and in the head are also the brains (wash and remove the membrane, slice and saute in whatever sounds good - I'd pick butter, white wine and herbs) during the BSE period, what few places that still served brains went over to pork.

                                      skin? why not if you like cracklin's. Laura Ingalls Wilder's Pa would save the bladder on butcher day to blow up like a balloon for the girls to play with. if you have the patience for the multiple soakings and washings required you might consider chitlins (chitterlings) or as casings for your own sausage...

                                      1. Don't eschew the trotters. They are a national dish here in Quebec. You can google the recipes. Aww, now I'm all hungry.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: mtlcowgirl

                                          We have a local restaurant that always has trotters in some form on their menu. GREAT!

                                        2. Oooh, I see a homemade chorizo in the making!

                                          1. Leaf lard in particular is something to call for, as it's hard to locate commercially.

                                            1. the intestines, both small and large. the ears. the heart. the blood. the stomach. all are PoP (parts of pig) that I ate growing up as a chubby chinese kid. depends how adventurous you can get... some ideas though...

                                              large intestines - deep fried. need to be very thoroughly cleaned...
                                              small intestings - boiled. with ginger, soy dipping sauce.
                                              ears - boiled, then chilled and mixed with garlic, green onion, soy and sesame oil.
                                              blood - pudding. some dish called wu gen chang wang, which is pickled mustard greesn, large intestgines and blood pudding in a spicy almost stew...
                                              stomach - same as ears.

                                              yeah, i know, off the wall a bit if you're not used ot it, but wanted to at least throw it out there for you.

                                              2 Replies
                                              1. re: FattyDumplin

                                                ears are also very popular with dogs as a chew toy - but roast them first or their breath will be deadly.

                                                1. re: hill food

                                                  We've had this prep of pig ears at a fave Chinese spot:

                                                  Chilli Oil Thin Sliced Pig's Ear

                                                  Very tasty.

                                                  We've had really good pig intestines and most recently some that we just too "funky" tasting :( Must not have been cleaned well enough.

                                                  BTW and OT for this discussion: Beef cheeks are very tough until braised.

                                              2. Pork bung - indistinguishable from calamari

                                                1. Eat the heart ASAP. Godlike on a fresh kill.

                                                  5 Replies
                                                  1. re: Muddirtt

                                                    yeah, we had some GREAT lamb heart tonight.

                                                    1. re: hotoynoodle

                                                      We're buying a lamb soon. Could you elaborate on cooking the heart please? TIA.

                                                      1. re: c oliver

                                                        I don't know any gourmet ways. For deer, it's over the fire while processing the game in the field. Pretty traditional. Rabbit and squirrel, it's the first thing in the fry pan at home. Nothing too fancy. Never had a hog heart, nor do I know of any fancy recipes.

                                                        1. re: Muddirtt

                                                          DON'T crock-pot-roast it - mom did that with a deer heart once and since that muscle is so lean it was worse than her usual shoe leather. whatever you do you might even want to bard it like a pheasant.

                                                          1. re: hill food

                                                            Hopefully hotoynoodle will weigh in also. I've had beef and chicken hearts many times and loved them.

                                                  2. Stomach-so you can make hog maw!

                                                    1. If they don't consider the belly to be meat, perhaps they're also willing to part with the shanks? Smoke them for ham hocks or braise them in all kinds of delicious sauces.

                                                      1. I would request the back fat. I really want to try my hand at curing lardo charcuterie. Also, the brains! Yum!


                                                        1. If they'll give a hock or two away, take it. The parts around the ankles make for the best bone-in ham and bean soup. They might need an axe or hacksaw to get it loose from the shoulder or rear though.

                                                          1. ask for everything else....including the blood