PORK recipes of all sorts
Here I will try to help you find a recipe for whichever cut of pork you want to use.
Warning: this may include some of the old favorites that so many people don't use any
longer, relinquishing so much of the pig to animal feed or the rendering truck when in
fact it is perfectly suitable for human consumption, even beneficial, and allows you to
get further and further away from the processed offerings in the grocery store.
The solution to one the first very important dilemmas I encountered in offering this delicious
pasture raised organic pork to my customers (and myself).

We love sausage and so do most people if they've ever had the chance to try some of this good stuff.
We use Joe's meat market in Ontario, NY as our butcher. They are USDA inspected which is
necessary for us to use if we are to offer up cuts to anyone dropping in to buy a little meat. Joe's
makes awesome excellent sausage, but since they are USDA inspected the rig-a-ma-roll they must
go through to get organic spices into their shop and past the inspector is too much of a job for just us,
as well as risky to pay for it and have the inspector say, "not lettin' it in", like because of the package
or whatever reason they want to use. You can't question or challenge them. Government rules you
know. So if you're good with sausage made with just salt, pepper and conventional spices like sage,
fennel, crushed red pepper, then Joe's will still serve your sausage needs well. But if you are the total
organic purist for whatever reason as some of us are, you may want to try turning our ground pork into
sausage with your own organic spices. After trying many recipes, and not finding anything I'd say I was
crazy about, a friend came up with this one, that has passed the muster of the family test. Good for
breakfast or anything else, you can make it in just a 1 lb batch and adjust seasonings as you prefer
one batch at a time until you find exactly what you like.

I call this BARB'S FABULOUS FIND...  Thanks Barb.

To 1 lb of ground pork add 1/4 teaspoon cumin, 1/4 teaspoon oregano, 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
                                     1/2 teaspoon basil, 1/2 teaspoon sage, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
                                      2 teaspoons salt and one egg
Spread out the pork a little and sprinkle the dry seasonings over it, add the egg and mix it all together
to distribute everything well. Wrap it up and refrigerate it overnight. You can use it the next day.

Some options:
Running it through a home grinder after adding everything increases it's "stick-togetherness"
I suspect that's the reason for the egg, so you can eliminate the egg if you do this
Instead of egg use 3 Tablespoons cider vinegar or use a flax egg
Cut the cumin in half (my husband hates cumin)
Add more cayenne or some crushed red pepper to make it "hotter"
Basil and oregano can significantly boost the "spiciness"
Of course you can cut the salt in 1/2 if you like
Garlic anyone?
Add 1 lb ground beef and make meatballs, for a spicy meatball just double the spices.
Let me know how you make it!
"Fresh Ham"
What to do with a fresh ham? What IS a fresh ham?

A fresh ham, also called a ham roast, is just a portion of the meaty hind leg of the pig that has not
been cured or smoked. Many of us have never even given thought to the fact a "ham" can be other
than cured and smoked. But it can, and it's delicious and more versatile than one that has been cured
and smoked.

The whole ham is oval shaped and will vary in weight from one pig to another. The ends can be cut off
to form what we usually call "half hams". The size will depend on just how far down the whole oval you
make the cut. One whole ham will yield two half hams. But there is another trick to this! You could take
that whole ham and cut off the ends to make two half hams, but leave a center section uncut and now
you have another chunk of ham from the middle called a "portion" or slice further into ham steaks. Any
of these are delicious.

Marinade, or brine
I start by marinading or brining this ham in a big bag (like a zip lock if it fits, otherwise any bag I can
squeeze a little air out of to keep the mixture up against as much of the ham as possible, not wanting
to have to use too much wine to submerge it in a bowl or anything crazy like that) with some white
wine and some salt, pepper, chopped garlic and dried rosemary in there and turn it frequently over
the next day or two. I don't like adding sugar to this as it tends to burn during the roasting. Bigger
ham, more wine. 1 cup, small ham, 2 cups, big ham.

Rub it
Next I take it out of the marinade, reserving the marinade, and pat it dry. Score the skin or fat cap all
over in the traditional diamond or cross hatch pattern. Rub the whole thing with a mixture of salt,
pepper, chopped garlic, dried rosemary with just a little oil to make a paste of it. Some people use
some grated lemon zest also. Then I leave it overnight in the fridge to let this mixture take hold of that
ham, covered loosely allowing some air drying to take place.

The next day I'm roasting it.

Roast it
To roast one of these, you will set the cut side down in the roasting pan, fat side up. If using a portion,
you don't have a fat side to go "up", so I cover it with a piece of parchment paper cut to fit the top of
the ham to keep it moist. You can also use a piece of pigskin instead of parchment paper.
I use the reserved marinade to gently drizzle over the ham roast trying to not wash away the other rub
on the ham (do this without the parchment paper in place, then set the paper on the ham), pour into
the pan 1-2 cups of water or chicken broth or pork broth, amount depends on size of the ham, small
ham less water, large ham, more water (don't pour it ON the ham, just in the bottom of the pan) and
then cover the roasting pan, either with the cover for the pan if you have that kind, or a foil tent that I try
to keep away from the ham so it doesn't actually touch the ham.

I start the roasting at 425 degrees for the first 40 minutes, then cut the oven setting back to about 225
degrees for the next 2 to 4 hours depending on the size of the roast. 2 hours for a 3-4 lb roast, 3 hours
for a 5-6 lb roast, 4 hours for a 7-8 lb roast. After this time I remove the cover, baste the ham with the
pan juices, increase the heat to 375 degrees, and then brown the ham up while basting every 10
minutes or so. This can take about 30 minutes more.
If using a ham portion instead of a half ham you won't do this, instead just baste the ham and recover
it a few times with just the parchment paper near the end of it's cooking time without even raising the

Rest it
When it's done, take it out of the oven and let it rest for 1/2 hour before cutting. The pan juices can be
thickened for a delicious sauce for your pork.

Or Grill It
You can also cook a fresh ham on your grill. It tastes great but requires a little patience and skill with
the grill! Long low temp grilling is required over indirect heat.

And then there's the quicker version.
Just make that rub, rub your ham all over. Place in roasting pan and pour some white wine  and broth
in the bottom of the pan, cover and roast. Finish the same way, removing cover, basting, resting.  
I like roasting it at the lower temperature, but if you're in a hurry you can roast it at 350 degrees in
about half the time.   

Yes you can also crockpot it. Just use less liquid.
You know how to use that crockpot.

A fresh ham makes a nice mini pig roast in a grill also.

Fresh ham can be cut up while raw to add to all sorts of casseroles, breakfast dishes and stir fries.
Cut into cubes, dice, julienne, whatever and cook along with the rest of your ingredients.

Leftover roasted fresh ham makes the best sandwiches, hot and cold.

Rub it up with some salt, pepper, rosemary, garlic. GRILL it. OMG !!
Flash fried in a hot cast iron skillet, another OMG !!
Under the broiler...
You'll wonder why we still rely so heavily on cured and smoked ham.

FIRST...basic pork broth. Use the pig foot, too often discarded. The flavor and gelatin from this lowly part of
the pig (no pun intended) is not to be outdone by anything else. Save the foot for headcheese making if you
plan to make that. You can add some plain pork bones as well for more broth, or any other type of bone
including but not limited to, beef, chicken or fish. Put your pig foot in enough water to cover. You can add the
traditional veggies, carrot, celery, onion, if you like. Simmer gently for a few hours, about 18 at most,
skimming off any stuff that rises to the top. Strain. Chill and pull off the fat that rises to the top. Pour into clean
canning jars and cover. Store in back of fridge. Use up in 1 week. You can pour it cooled into plastic jars
leaving a couple inches of headspace, cover, refrigerate, then freeze for a few months. You can freeze in
glass canning jars as well but only the 1 pint wide mouth or smaller glass jars are rated for freezing, larger
jars can crack in the freezer. Check manufacturer instructions for use details.

Use in place of chicken broth and in multiple other recipes.
Cook some noodles in it for lunch instead of the terrible store brand ramen.
Add to mashed potatoes.
Sip like chicken broth.
Many people love our no-nitrite smoked bacon but we know it can be a pain to get it cooked just right
without keeping a close eye on it on the stovetop. Here's how I'm doing it.
I set my oven to 375 degrees. I lay out my bacon in a single layer in a metal baking pan like a sheet cake
pan. Once my oven has reached temperature I put the pan in the center and set my timer for 20 minutes.
That's it. Ovens vary and so do preferences, so until you know this exact setting and time suits you, check it
at 15 minutes and go from there.  (next I'm trying it on a rack)

FRESH BACON ... just like our ham, you can use bacon "fresh". Not cured or smoked these are strips of
pork belly sliced like bacon you are used to. Cook in a pan just like bacon without the problem of burning
easily because there is no sugar here. Season with salt and pepper, that's it. You can make it somewhat
crispy (not for me though) or somewhat chewy or somewhere in between. This is also super delicious and
again you will wonder why we've all been fooled into thinking the pork preserving technique of curing and
smoking is the only way to eat your pork!