Dairy-fed pork is the best; the flesh should look white and smooth, and the fat be white and fine. In preparing a hog for bacon, the ribs are cut, with a very little flesh on them, from the side, which has the fore and hind leg attached to it; the hind leg is then called a gammon of bacon, but it is generally reserved for a ham. On each side there is a large spare rib, which is usually divided into two, one called the sweet bone, the other the blade bone. There are also griskins, chine, or back bone.
Hog's lard is the inner fat of the bacon hog.
Porkers are not so old as hogs; they make excellent pickled pork, but are chosen more particularly for roasting.
To roast a leg, a small onion is minced together with three sage leaves, seasoned with pepper and salt, and put under the skin at the knuckle bone; the skin is cut into strips nearly half an inch apart, and rubbed over with a bit of butter. If weighing seven or eight pounds, it will require nearly three hours to roast.
A spare rib should be roasted, is basted with butter, and has sage leaves dried, rubbed to a powder, and mixed with salt and pepper, sprinkled over it.
Both a loin and neck are jointed, the skin scored in narrow strips, and rubbed with butter. If weighing six or seven pounds, it will require rather more than two hours to roast.
A griskin may be either broiled or roasted.
A chine is stuffed here and there with bread crumbs, mixed with a little butter, and seasoned with some finely shred sage, parsley, and thyme, some pepper and salt. The skin is cut into strips and rubbed with butter; it is then roasted, and served with apple sauce, as are also the preceding roasts.
A porker's head is stuffed like a sucking pig, sewed firmly, and hung on a string to roast.
The shoulder may be roasted, but, being very fat, it is generally preferred pickled.
The breast may be made into a pie, or broiled.
To boil hams, they should be put on in water, the chill taken off, and simmered for four or five hours, taking care not to allow them to boil.
The prime season for pork is from November to March.
Take particular care it be done enough: other meats under-done are unpleasant, but pork is absolutely uneatable; the sight of it is enough to appal the sharpest. appetite, if its gravy lias the least tint of redness.
Be careful of the crackling; if this be not crisp, or if it be burned, you will be scolded. Pickled Pork, takes more time than any other meat. If you buy your pork ready salted, ask how many days it has been in salt; if many, it will require to be soaked in water for six hours before you dress it. When you cook it, wash and scrape it as clean as possible; when delicately dressed, it is a favorite dish with almost everybody. Take care it does not boil fast; if it does, the knuckle will break to pieces, before the thick part of the meat is warm through; a leg of seven pounds takes three hours and a half very slow simmering. Skim your pot very carefully, and when you take the meat out of the boiler, scrape it clean.
A leg of nice pork, nicely salted, and nicely boiled, is as fine a cold relish as cold ham; especially if, instead of cutting into the middle when hot, and so letting out its juices, you cut it at. the knuckle: slices broiled are a good luncheon, or supper.
Some persons who sell pork ready sailed have a silly trick of cutting the knuckle in two; we suppose that this is done to save their salt; but it lets all the gravy out of the leg; and unless you boil your pork merely for the sake of the pot-liquor, which in this case receives all the goodness and strength of the meat, friendly reader, your oracle cautions you to buy no leg of pork which is slit at the knuckle.
If pork is not done enough, nothing is more disagreeable; if too much, it not only loses its color and flavor, but its substance becomes soft like a jelly.
Remember not to forget the mustard-pot.
Of eight pounds, will require about three hours: score the skins across in narrow stripes (some score it in diamonds), about a quarter of an inch apart; stuff the knuckle with sage and onion, minced fine, and a little grated bread, seasoned with pepper, salt, and the yolk of an egg.
Do not put it too near the fire: rub a little sweet oil on the skin with a paste-brush, or a goose-feather: this makes the crackling crisper and browner than basting it with dripping; and it will be a better color than all the art of cookery can make it in any other way; and this is the best way of preventing the skin from blistering, which is principally occasioned by its being put too near the fire.