The Birth Of Bacon

We break down whole animals at Bluescreek, including hogs. I tried to document the process of procuring pork belly for bacon, but I missed a couple of steps. My hands were kind of messy…

split right down the middle

Whole half hog, The belly is to the right of the saw, running almost the entire length of the side.

Not so much here or here...but right in here...

My boss, David, showing me where to break the shoulder from the rest of the side. Beginning at the front of the side, count three ribs in. This positions you behind the foreleg, making a clean separation and producing a “new york shoulder.” This may be further broken into boneless cottage ham (which is smoked), shank, and the ubiquitous boston butt roast (or pork shoulder roast) which is most commonly used for barbecue pork. My right hand is at the front-most part of the belly. The belly essentially starts where my right hand is, and ends where the picture ends, running all along the bottom. From the top come chops (loin and rib).

aka fresh side

The whole pork belly, bones still attached. The bones will become St. Louis ribs or spare ribs. The only diffrence in these two types of ribs is the shape. St. Louis ribs are much more square, as the breast bone is taken off, allowing the bones to be cut straight down. The spare ribs are rounded, as the breast bone is left on, resulting in a slightly more cumbersome rib consumption.



Bones removed. All that remains is to straighten the edges, or “square” the belly. The ribs are, at this point, spare ribs. Note that they are still rounded. The small piece of meat to the right is the skirt, which is used for ground pork.


This is the final product. From here, the meat is cured and smoked for bacon. Or, it can be used as is for fresh side.


And here are a couple of fun shots! Because I can.


A close up of the ribs. You can see the skirt at the top of the photo.


Ribs and bacon. There are napkins in the kitchen.







One Comment on “The Birth Of Bacon”

  1. Jamie says:

    I definitely like the way you so simply explained about where the bacon (pork belly) and it’s connecting pieces are located. As well as the difference between St. Louis Ribs and Pork Spare Ribs… which alot of people don’t know. Very well done!

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