According to the Great Code of the Omnivore, we should try our damnedest to use as much of a slaughtered animal as possible. Our recent experience butchering a pig has given us a chance to put that in practice. Here are some of the things we’ve done with commonly discarded parts of a pig.
Head: Pâté de Tête. Also called headcheese or brawn. Not pretty to process, but delicious. Every soft part of the head, save the eyes and ears, is used. Cheeks, tongue, neck, snout, lips, etc.
Ears: Crispy Pig Ears. Fry ‘em up. “Sounds” good, eh? Eh? Sorry, that pun was “offal.” Oooooh!
Brain: Again, fry it. A helluva challenge to extract in one piece, but, like most things deep fried: tasty. Unique texture. Watch out for shot.
Heart: Some of the inner bits are very tough, but cooked right the meaty parts can be interesting. Note I didn’t say “good.” Could also be thinly sliced and layered in a terrine with a pate for a completely different texture. Maybe with some fried brain?
Blood: Black pudding, also known as blood sausage. Delicious.
Liver: Pâté, duh.
Kidney: Deviled Kidneys. River Cottage has a recipe that looks good, but I haven’t tested it.
Small Intestine: Sausage casings. Not sure what crazy bastard had the idea to clean the poop out of the small intestine and stuff it with bits of spiced meat, but s/he was a genius.
Stomach: Some people love tripe. I’m not one of those people. I prefer my food to smell like things other than poop. Pretty much anything else.
Caul: This is a net-like layer of fat attached to the stomach. It’s handy for wrapping up roasts and rolled loins. Or herding cats.
Skin: Left on the meat for delicious cracklin’, or could be processed for fine. leather. goods. Treat yo’ self!
Trotters (feet): Added to brawn, or their gelatin extracted by boiling and reducing and used in place of, well, gelatin. Bill Cosby would be so proud.
Tail: Also added to brawn. Watch out for a million increasingly tiny bones.
All joking aside, imagine how many of these items are discarded daily, and how much food they could produce. A little bit of creativity makes the animals killed for prime cuts go lot further. Any other ideas for making use of these or other commonly discarded pig parts?