Pork is the culinary name or the meat of a domestic pig (Sus scrofa domesticus). It is the most commonly consumed meat worldwide, with evidence of pig husbandry dating back to 5000 BC. Pork is eaten both freshly cooked and preserved. Curing extends the shelf life of the pork products (Ham, smoked pork, gammon, bacon, and sausage are examples of preserved pork).
Charcuterie is the branch of cooking devoted to prepared meat products, mainly from pork. It’s the most commonly consumed red meat worldwide, especially in eastern Asia, but its consumption is forbidden in certain religions, such as Islam and Judaism. For this reason, pork is illegal in many Islamic countries.
Being high in protein and rich in many vitamins and minerals, lean pork can be an excellent addition to a healthy diet. When dry, the protein content of lean pork can be as high as 89% making it one of the richest dietary sources of protein. It contains all nine essential amino acids necessary for your body’s growth and maintenance. In fact, meat is one of the most complete dietary sources of protein.
For this reason, eating pork or other types of meat may be particularly beneficial for bodybuilders, recovering athletes, people post-surgery, or others who need to build up or repair muscles. Pork is also an excellent source of many vitamins and minerals, including thiamine, zinc, vitamin B12, vitamin B6, niacin, phosphorus, and iron.
WHAT PORK CAN BE PROCESSED INTO
Several valuable products are gotten from swine. Some of these include insulin which is needed for the regulation of diabetes, valves for heart surgery, suede for shoes and clothing. Lard is fat from pig abdomens and is used in shaving creams, soaps, make-up, baked goods, and other foods.
In Nigeria, the rate of Pork consumption increased due to the relative ease of raising pigs when compared to other animals. There is a growing interest in pig farming in Nigeria and other African nations.
STAGES INVOLVED IN PORK PROCESSING
The following stages are involved in the processing of Pork;
- The live pigs are led through the stables and runways for the purpose of slaughtering them, this is known as the pre-slaughter handling stage.
- The live pigs undergo the process of Stunning which involves making the pigs unconscious before they are eventually killed using either some gases such as CO2 gas, electrical means, or percussion. This must be done before slaughter occurs.
- There is the Bleeding and Hollow Knife System, this system consists of slaughtering the pigs using knives and draining out blood.
- After stunning and bleeding occurs, the slaughtered pigs or carcasses are doused into a boiling liquid or steam to make it easy to remove their hair or loosen hair follicles, this process is known as scalding. The other step is the removal of hair, from slaughtered pigs, using equipment also designed for the scalding system, this process tumbles the slaughtered pig or carcasses to remove the hair follicles. Injury is not sustained as the blood has been removed in the bleeding stage.
- After the hair carcasses are removed in the tumbler, it then goes through a singer. Here, the remains of the hairs are removed and it also gives additional food safety by decreasing surface pathogens.
In addition to the equipment used, factors such as the scalding time, scalding temperature, breed of pig, and seasonal influences can all affect the result gotten from this process.
- The slaughtered pigs are gutted and split in half and sent through a rapid chill at very cold temperatures (-4 to -40 degrees Fahrenheit) for 24 to 48 hours to improve meat quality. This is usually before they are cut into smaller pieces like ham, loins, picnic and Boston butt shoulders, and bellies which are used to make bacon.
- After the hair on the pigs has been removed, the pigs are hooked and hoisted up to the buffer rail in front of the machine/dressing line conveyor. The internal organs of the pigs are removed either manually or automatically using the right equipment, this process is known as Evisceration Process.
- The cut pork is then processed into ham, sausage, bacon, etc.
Bacon comes from pigs it’s a type of Salt-cured pork made from various cuts, typically from the pork belly or from the less fatty back cuts. It is eaten on its own, as a side dish, or used as a minor ingredient to flavor dishes
Ham is pork from a leg cut that has been preserved by wet or dry curing with or without smoking. As processed meat, the term “ham” includes both whole cuts of meat and ones that have been mechanically formed. Ham is made by soaking cut-up meat in a vat of brine.
Pork Processing Equipment:
Pork can be processed into a wide range of products using different pork processing equipment. The Pork Processing Equipment are;
- Meat Tumbling Machine.
- Smoking Machine for meat.
- Grinding Machine used for meat.
- Brine Injector Machine.
- Sausage Filling Machine.