Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Pigs Vs Cows

I was talking to a butcher recently (Gabriel Claycamp). He buys whole animals, cuts and processes the pieces and sells them.

In many ways, he's got the same challenge as Wooly Pigs; he's got to maximize the value of any carcass he owns.

With a properly fattened Mangalitsa, the fatback is very valuable; in some hands, the single most valuable item on the pig, as these videos demonstrate:

By the way, those videos show why the feeding and age of the pigs at slaughter is so crucial - because besides breed, those are the factors that determine the quality of the fat. If you blow the feed, you ruin your fat quality.

Even if you aren't Chef Stockner, the fat is still valuable, either as lard, sausages, etc. Pigs are amazing in terms of how usable their carcasses are. A person who buys a pig can pretty much use it all up, just as a chef can:

But what if you buy a whole beef? What do you do with all the beef fat? Render that beef fat to produce tallow - and then what? Make candles and soap out of it? Sure, there are some recipes that use tallow or suet - I'm thinking of certain puddings from English cuisine. But the fact that I can't even name them suggests to me that they aren't that popular.

Meanwhile, I've been selling cases and tubs of Mangalitsa lard in the last few weeks. People are using it for frying, baking and cooking.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

There's a market for tallow from grassfed cattle. I've purchased from US Wellness. I haven't tried it for frying yet, but I've made pemmican.