Friday, May 8, 2009

aissa is USDA inspected pork

Today we learned about pork, lots and lots of pork. I still can't get the smell off my hands, which is kinda gross since I don't even eat pork. I got to the kitchen around 6:15 am, I wanted to sharpen my knives, and was also responsible for getting all the previous day's cuts out for review and general organization of the kitchen. I walked in and saw this little fellow hanging around:

He was a suckling pig only around 15-20 pounds:

Chef Schneller was really excited about breaking down this half hog (over 100 pounds) and it was really helpful to learn all the different cuts of pork and how to use them in the future (should I use them at all). It was too big so I tried to take two pics side by side:


The notch in the right leg is where they hang up the carcass after being slaughtered (gross but true.) So here is half of a market style hog, complete with the ham, ham hock, loin, tenderloin, boston butt, picnic, and ribs, among other cuts. Chef Schneller broke this down completely, here's a sample video:

Each day, as you can see, we get atleast one cut of meat to fabricate and break down, though its usually more than one. The major cut today was the centercut bone-in pork loin. Here it is before we broke it down:

Also notice my iran/italian flag (depending how youre holding them) I made on my knives with tape. Since every student here receives the same knife kit, we use colored tape or engrave our knives so they won't get confused in classes:

As as we break it down by removing the ribs (for baby back ribs) and then creating a roast:

First we cut out the tenderloin:

Then we took off the loin, leaving the baby back ribs:

Then we trimmed the fat off, and tied the loin into a roast. It's surprisingly hard to get them evenly spaced and all the knots in a row. See how pretty mine is :-D (Chef Schneller even commented on doing a good job)

Later on in the lesson we cut various other things from larger cuts; pork cutlets, as well as 1-inch cubes for stew. After the kitchen portion, we have lecture about the daily topic for a couple of hours, in this case being pork. We learned about quality grades in pork and how to cook the various cuts within the hog. Since I am not too familiar with pork, I especially learned a lot today. I can't wait to go back monday :-D

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