Edible Parts Of A Pig

Many parts of a pig can be cooked and eaten, even more than you could imagine!

Edible Parts Of A Pig - Labelled Pig Joints
Edible Parts Of A Pig - Labelled Pig Joints

A Key To The Labels

A = Head, B = Spare Ribs or Shoulder, C = Hand, D = Loin, E = Belly, F = Ham, G = Trotters & H = Tail.


  • A large pig’s back can be cured as back bacon.
  • A large pig’s back can be cut into roasting joints.
  • A smaller pig’s back can be used as loin chops.

Spare Ribs / Shoulder / Neck End / Blade Bone

  • The spare ribs can be used as a roasting joint.
  • They can be cut into chops.
  • The shoulder can make a roasting joint.
  • The shoulder can be cured for bacon.
  • Spare ribs can be cured as collar bacon.
  • They can be used for salami.


  • The ham can be a huge joint of prime roast pork.
  • The ham can be salted or smoked to make cured ham.
  • Only the back legs are called the ham and they can also be boned out and cut up to make gammon.


  • The belly can be cut up into strips.
  • The belly can be used for a roasting joint.
  • The thick end of the belly can make prime bacon.
  • The thin end of the belly can make streaky bacon.
  • The thin end is sometimes pickled in brine.
  • The belly can be salted or cured whole for bacon.

Hand / Hock

  • The hand / hock can be used as a roasting  joint.
  • The hand / hock can be cut up for sausagemeat.
  • The hand / hock can be used for salami.
  • The hand / hock can be cured on the bone to make a ham.


  • The head can be cooked up for brawn.
  • Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall recommends cutting off the ears, simmering them in water and then cutting into finger sized pieces, next coating them with mustard and breadcrumbs and then baking in the oven for 30-40 minutes until crisp and golden.
  • The chaps – pig cheeks can be used in brawn, made into ham or roasted as a roasting joint.


  • The trotters can be cooked up for brawn.
  • They can also be boiled and served as pig’s trotters.


  • The tail can be boiled.

If you keep pigs or are thinking of keeping pigs then join the free farmingfriends pig forum for the latest chat, advice and questions about pigs and pig related issues.

A useful book for a new pig keeper and breeder is the book Starting With Pigs by Andy Case.

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Click on the book image below to visit Amazon.co.uk to find out more about this book or visit one of the Farming Friends Bookshops.

The Delia Collection, Pork (Delia Collection)

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2 thoughts on “Edible Parts Of A Pig”

  1. Hi Andrew,
    Thanks for visiting farmingfriends and leaving your very useful comment. My father -in-law calls the pig cheeks chaps and we have roasted them off and eaten them as a roasting joint. They are very succulent and tasty. I have added them to the head section.
    I will find out more about chitterlings, dripping and tripe. Thanks for mentioning them.
    I would be interested to hear about your findings surrounding the tradtional use of pork especially as I keep and raise my own saddleback pigs.
    I look forward to hearing more about your website.
    Kind regards
    Sara @ farmingfriends

  2. I’m just putting together a web site for traditional British foods and as part of my research I’ve seen the revival of Bath ‘chaps’, pigs cheek made into ham and whole roasted pig cheeks availble in Doncaster market. I noticed that you didn’t list pigs cheeks on yous ‘pigs head’ section and I though I’d encourage you to do so.

    How about ‘chitterligs’, tripe, dripping, etc. too?
    I’m more than happy to supply my findings surrounding the traditional use of pork.

    Nice web site.

    Andrew Lane

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