The chine and spareribs, which correspond to the loin in lamb and veal, are used for roasts or steaks. Two ribs are left on the chine. The hind legs furnish hams. These are cured, salted, and smoked. Sugar-cured hams are considered the best. Pickle, to which is added light brown sugar, molasses, and saltpetre, is introduced close to bone; hams are allowed to hang one week, then smoked with hickory wood. Shoulders are usually corned, or salted and smoked, though sometimes cooked fresh. Pigs feet are boiled until tender, split, and covered with vinegar made from white wine. Hocks, the part just above the feet, are corned, and much used by Germans. Heads are soused, and cooked by boiling. The flank, which lies just below the ribs, is salted and smoked, and furnishes bacon. The best pieces of fat salt pork come from the back, on either side of backbone.
Fat, when separated from flesh and membrane, is tried out and called lard. Leaf-lard is the best, and is tried out from the leaf shaped pieces of solid fat which lie inside the flank. Sausages are trimmings of lean and fat meat, minced, highly seasoned, and forced into thin casings made of the prepared entrails. Little pigs (four weeks old) are sometimes killed, dressed, and roasted whole.
Pork contains the largest percentage of fat of any meat. When eaten fresh it is the most difficult of digestion, and although found in market through the entire year, it should be but seldom served, and then only during the winter months. By curing, salting, and smoking, pork is rendered more wholesome. Bacon, next to butter and cream, is the most easily assimilated of all fatty foods.
Wipe pork, sprinkle with salt and pepper, place on a rack in a dripping-pan, and dredge meat and bottom of pan with flour. Bake in a moderate oven three or four hours, basting every fifteen minutes with fat in pan. Make a gravy as for other roasts.
Cut fat salt pork in one-fourth inch slices, cut gashes one-third inch apart in slices, nearly to rind. Try out in a hot frying-pan until brown and crisp, occasionally turning off fat from pan. Serve around strips of codfish which have been soaked in pan of lukewarm water and allowed to stand on back of range until soft. Serve with Drawn Butter Sauce, boiled potatoes, and beets.
Wipe ham, remove one-half outside layer of fat, and place in frying-pan. Cover with tepid water and let stand on back of range thirty minutes; drain, and dry on a towel. Heat pan, put in ham, brown quickly on one side, turn and brown other side; or soak ham over night, dry, and cook in hot frying-pan. If cooked too long, ham will become hard and dry. Serve with fried eggs cooked in the tried-out ham fat.
Soak thin slices of ham one hour in lukewarm water; drain, wipe, and cook in a hot frying-pan until slightly browned. Remove to serving dish and add to fat in pan three tablespoons vinegar mixed with one and one-half teaspoons mustard, one-half teaspoon sugar, and one-eighth teaspoon paprika. When thoroughly heated pour over ham and serve at once.
Soak several hours or over night in cold water to cover. Wash thoroughly, trim off hard skin near end of bone, put in a kettle, cover with cold water, heat to boiling-point, and cook slowly until tender. See Time Table for Cooking, page 28. Remove kettle from range and set aside, that ham may partially cool; then take from water, remove outside skin, sprinkle with sugar and fine cracker crumbs, and stick with cloves one-half inch apart. Bake one hour in a slow oven. Serve cold, thinly sliced.
Cut apart a string of sausages. Pierce each sausage several times with a carving fork. Put in frying-pan, cover with boiling water, and cook fifteen minutes; drain, return to frying-pan, and fry until well browned. Serve with fried apples. Sausages are often broiled same as bacon and apples baked in pan under them.
Pick over one quart pea beans, cover with cold water, and soak over night. In morning, drain, cover with fresh water, heat slowly (keeping water below boiling-point), and cook until skins will burst,which is best determined by taking a few beans on the tip of a spoon and blowing on them, when skins will burst if sufficiently cooked. Beans thus tested must, of course, be thrown away. Drain beans, throwing bean-water out of doors, not in sink. Scald rind of three-fourths pound fat salt pork, scrape, remove one-fourth inch slice and put in bottom of bean-pot. Cut through rind of remaining pork every one-half inch, making cuts one inch deep. Put beans in pot and bury pork in beans, leaving rind exposed. Mix one tablespoon salt, one tablespoon molasses, and three tablespoons sugar; add one cup boiling water, and pour over beans; then add enough more boiling water to cover beans. Cover bean-pot, put in oven, and bake slowly six or eight hours, uncovering the last hour of cooking, that rind may become brown and crisp. Add water as needed. Many feel sure that by adding with seasonings one-half tablespoon mustard, the beans are more easily digested. If pork mixed with lean is preferred, use less salt.
The fine reputation which Boston Baked Beans have gained has been attributed to the earthen bean-pot with small top and bulging sides in which they are supposed to be cooked. Equally good beans have often been eaten where a five-pound lard pail was substituted for the broken bean pot.