Born and raised in Harrow, Ontario, Jamie Waldron got his start in a small country butcher shop as a teenager. Jamie has dedicated 15 years of his life to mastering the art & skills of a butcher; working, learning, researching and teaching an age old craft.
Website: www.jamiewaldron.com // Twitter: @jamie_waldron
Butchery skills for this piece were provided by Jamie Waldron & written content by Ontario Pork.
The leg primal is the hog’s hind leg. A large cut, it accounts for approximately 24% of the carcass weight. The bone-in leg contains the aitch, or pelvic bone, leg, and hind shank bones. The leg, or fresh ham, contains large muscles with a relatively small amount of fat and connective tissue.
Leg cuts are lean: there’s little waste other than the bones, and leg cuts are an economical choice for both retail and retail. The majority of pork legs are sent for further processing, curing and smoking, to become smoked hams or prosciutto, for example.
The leg primal can be merchandised whole or broken down into three major sub-primals: inside roasts, outside roasts, and leg tips. Each of these has its own characteristics, with the inside round being the most tender.
The eye of round, which resembles the tenderloin in shape and size, but not tenderness, is part of the outside round. Begin by removing the hock at the natural joint. Skin the leg along the natural seams. Remove bone, fat, veins, glands, and silver skin from each muscle prior to final preparation of retail and retail cuts.
Boneless and skinless legs are also available in various formats from most suppliers. The inside is the most desirable sub-primal from the leg. It can be easily merchandised into many profitable cuts, like schnitzel and scaloppini. It’s recommended to remove the cap muscle and rough end on the bone side before slicing.
The leg tip, also known as the knuckle, is a muscle that has a relatively high lean percentage, and is excellent for further processing. The tip will also carry a noticeably different colour than the other major sub-primals of the leg, appearing redder in contrast to the much lighter inside and outside muscles.
And there you have it: your pork leg is ready to be merchandized.