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.