Tip to Tail: Butchering and Using the Whole Hog

Last Friday, special guest Chef Instructor Seamus Mullen came to ICE to teach a class on butchering and cooking an entire hog. You may have seen him on Iron Chef America or The Next Iron Chef America.

This class was a one-of-a-kind opportunity to watch a entire hog be butchered into the different cuts of meats we are familiar with. Not only was it a lesson in how to butcher and use an entire hog, but also in thinking about where our food comes from. For the class, Mullen brought in a pig from EcoFriendly Foods. The 245-pound pig was raised humanely in Virginia, slaughtered on Monday and transported to ICE for the class on Friday. Mullen deftly butchered the entire hog, from nose to tail, and then cooked as many different parts as possible in the remaining time.

Along the way, he gave tips on preparing all the different cuts: making the cheeks into guanciale, turning the belly into pancetta, wrapping the tenderloins in caul fat before sautéing and his technique for curing a ham in 10 pounds of hay. His recipe for Best Effin’s Chops featuring brined chops, herbs, citrus and “funky blue cheese” was declared to be one the best pork chop recipes the class had ever tasted.

Even after chowing down on the chops, tenderloins and ribs, everyone eager helped to grind the massive shoulders and make garlic sausage that was served on toasted baguette with mustard. The class of 16 couldn’t quite finish the whole hog in the four hour class, but don’t worry every leftover part of the pig (included the head, tail and ears) was wrapped up and stored at ICE for use in a future class. Watch this video for a taste of how he butchered an entire hog.

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