Cutting Recommendations for 500# Berkshire Sow

Discussion in 'Pigs' started by jkleven, Nov 13, 2017 at 7:13 PM.

  1. jkleven

    jkleven Well-Known Member

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    I hate to do it but I may need to butcher 3 of my (almost)2 year old Berkshire sows. They're probably 450-500 pounds I'd guess, and I'm wondering about cutting recommendations for larger pigs. These sows are in nice, lean condition now and will be finished on alfalfa, rolled barley, field peas and wheat and should be nicely fattened and marbled but not overly fat.

    I expect the meat to be of premium quality and am looking for recommendations and advice on how to best cut up a pig of this type and size to best make use of it since most butchers are used to butchering 250 pounders.
     
  2. ET1 SS

    ET1 SS zone 5 - riverfrontage Supporter

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    Shoulders, hams, ribs, loins or chops, bacon and lard, the rest goes to sausage.

    Unless you have a customer who specially asks for some cut.

    We usually butcher in the 300# - 400# range.
     

  3. Ziptie

    Ziptie Well-Known Member

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    Ours are in the 350 range: 5 lb roasts, I have them debone the hams and cut in half (they are still huge this way), one side pork chops other side loin, bacon, lard, liver, tongue, jowel, hocks, kidneys, and a box of bones for the dog (plus I can see how well they are cleaning the bones of meat), everything else ground pork in 2 lb packs.
     
  4. Gravytrain

    Gravytrain Well-Known Member

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    Cut them the same way you'd have a smaller pig cut. The cuts will be larger obviously, and you should get a nice amount of bacon.
     
  5. cpnkrunch

    cpnkrunch Well-Known Member

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    I had two that size butchered a couple of years back. They cut them just as I asked, just had more packages. Butts would be big but if cut into pork steak, not a big deal. You can get some nice 3/4 to an inch pork chops that way. Cure the hams and bacon ( took an extra week on that). Butchers around north MO see them that size on occasion, not surprised by them. Right about dog bones too.
     
  6. krackin

    krackin Well-Known Member

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    I like 1" country ribs and chops over roasts and just as soon grind the shoulders fresh. It is easy to season fresh for whatever your need. Sometimes I'll grind up a fresh ham, if it looks too lean some sow belly can be added easy enough. With big hogs using the belly for that doesn't cut into the bacon all that much, good trade off for me. I use a lot of ground pork where I decided I should cut back on my beef intake. I render leaf lard in a crock pot outside, works great.
     
  7. highlands

    highlands Walter Jeffries Staff Member Supporter

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    I would cut them like any finish pig. Excellent meat off of them. They're young.
     
  8. jkleven

    jkleven Well-Known Member

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    I too expect the meat to be excellent, that is why I'm wondering about how to part it out to make the best use out of a special pig. All the parts will be quite a bit larger than a typical "market weight" hog.

    Should a guy maybe cut some steaks off of the hams and shoulders to pare them down to a more usable size? Maybe de-bone them as well?

    Does anybody ever cut t-bones/porterhouse steaks instead of removing the tenderloin and strip separately?

    Any other parts that normally get ground up that might be better left whole on a pig like this? (collar steaks, ect)
     
  9. krackin

    krackin Well-Known Member

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    Take it to your processor and fill out a cut sheet. Your pig isn't out of the ordinary, talking with the processor will answer your questions.
     
  10. bobp

    bobp Well-Known Member

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    We've tried several different cuts ect.

    The last few we went to 2 OK 1" fresh shoulder and 3/4" ham steaks, 1" chops and the rest in sausage.
    No smoking or cure... Doesn't seem to keep as well.
     
  11. jkleven

    jkleven Well-Known Member

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    Not sure I follow what you're saying?
     
  12. highlands

    highlands Walter Jeffries Staff Member Supporter

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    We have chefs who reserve these ahead because of that specialness of size and flavor. Some of them are doing things as simple as pulled pork, others as complex as porscutto and other charcuterie. One aspect of this is finding those chefs, finding the niche market that appreciates these animals with larger than typical market weight cuts. That takes time and leg work.

    Personally I like the Boston Butt shoulder steaks off of these big animals. That's my favorite cut and the older sows make the best of that. We have three restaurants that want the bellies. They order them skinned but not squared. One of them is using them with a burger. Another is using them as a dish that features the belly roasted in small (3"?) squares. Another makes pulled pork from the shoulder, both Boston and Picnic. Another uses the hams for porscutto - this is an irregular order. Ironically the loins are not a big seller on the big pigs - I say ironic since loin is the highest selling cut on market size hogs.

    I cut T-bone steaks from the shoulder with the shoulder blade in and call them shoulder steaks bone-in.
    I cut bone-in chops from the sirloing up to the ribs which again puts a "T" bone in the chop but I pull the tenderloin first because tenderloins are worth so much more, about 2x, so I don't want to waste them on chops. People love the larger tenderloins from the bigger animals. If the tenderloins get too big I divide them in two when packaging.

    Jowl, cheek, hocks and trotters - small market for these but the big ones are good for this.

    -Walter
     
  13. krackin

    krackin Well-Known Member

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    Boston butt is the best cut if you do real BBQ. I rub with prepared mustard then dry rub. Place in preheated 225* smoker and apply heavy smoke for a few hours. Then up the heat to 250* and I add sauce and wrap in foil until internal temp is hit or until it gets to where you want it as in falling apart. The best.
     
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  14. brumer0

    brumer0 Well-Known Member

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    Nobodies said this so I'll add it. Last year I had my 400lb hogs cut like I did my market weight pigs. However, I had the shoulder and hand cut into thirds or quarters. It looked a bit odd but the size was more manageable for my family. If you are marketing these pigs you may not want to do that unless you have buyers ahead of time that want a specific size. Also, I've been taking one ham and having it cut into 3-4lb roasts which works out very nicely.