How to Cut Up Parts of a Pig

Brand X Pictures/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images

While enjoying pork ribs or ham, you are probably not thinking about how the butcher has cut up the pig. A good butcher, however, knows how to cut up the parts so there is minimal waste. This includes not only the conventionally edible parts such as chops and even the liver, but less conventional parts such as the tongue and the intestines.

Use a meat saw to completely remove the head of the pig and set it aside. You might first cut all the way around the head with a large knife for ease of removal.

Make slits at the Achilles tendon and the ankles. Remove the front feet of the pig at the joint. The hooves of the pig can be used to make gelatin. The feet of the pig can be used to make stock or can be pickled.

Remove the skin from the pig using the skinning knife. Discard the skin unless you have a use for it, such as making pork rinds or "chicharones" from it.

Separate the large intestines from the body. Do this by using a boning knife and cutting around the anus to separate the intestines. The large intestines can be used for sausage casings.

Remove the bladder from the body, then remove the stomach. You can also remove the stomach fat at this point and use it for chicken feed. The stomach can be stuffed, using an old Pennsylvania Dutch recipe, or discarded.

Remove the kidneys and liver and place them in a bowl. Remove the lungs and heart. The lungs should be discarded. The heart is edible, but you must first squeeze the blood out of it.

Hang the pig in a meat cooler overnight to chill once all of the innards are removed. Cut the body in half along the back using a meat saw.

Cut each of the sides into thirds by making a cut from the backbone through the second and third ribs and another after the 11th rib. This piece is the middle section where you will get the ribs and chops. The excess belly fat can be set aside and used in sausage.

Cut the chops, removing extra fat. Remove the pork loin. Remove the bundle of muscles.

Cut the ribs after removing excess fat. This is where you will get the bacon. The bacon will be much easier to slice once it has been smoked.

Separate the hams from the sections. Use any excess meat for sausage and stir fry.

Remove the hock from the front third of the pig. A shoulder roast will also be cut from this third. Trim off excess fat.

Bone out the hams that are removed from the rear third of the pig. Save enough of the rear third to use for lard and sausage.

Retrieve the head of the pig that has been set aside. From the head, you can harvest the tongue and the brains. Use these pieces to make head cheese.