Happy Porker

Yet more on ‘Eating Well on a Fixed Income’.  When bone-in pork shoulder went on sale for .99 cents in my area, I had a golden opportunity to see what I could make out of it.  
After picking up a pair of 10lb pork shoulders, I broke it down with my meat carving knife to get the following items. (You can see this in the picture, from twelve o’ clock and moving roughly clockwise.)
2 Pulled Pork Sections (shoulder bones and attached meat)
2 Pork Belly-style Sections
1 Pork Roast
3 Sets of pork steaks
2 portions set aside to make pork sausage
4 portions of pork shoulder chunks

That’s plenty of material to work with if you know what pieces to use!  For example, the fattiest segments are cut like a slab of bacon and can be worked with just like pork belly.  The next-fattiest can be ground up and mixed with fresh and dried fennel to make amazing sausage.  Then the leaner pieces can be turned into pulled pork, stir fry, or chunks for Vietnamese Caramelized Pork.  While I wouldn’t want to eat pork every day for 2 weeks, there’s enough recipes around to do different things with the meat that you wouldn’t get bored!
Finally, I was able to answer a question that’s always been in the back of my mind as a frugal shopper: How much are you paying for the bone when you buy by weight?  Here in Austin, bone-in pork runs 20 to 40 cents a pound less than the boneless equivalent.  So which is the better deal?
Option 1: Bone-in Pork Shoulder @ .99 cents/pound
Option 2: Boneless Pork Shoulder @ $1.29 / pound
Now I can actually answer this, as I weighed the pork shoulder bones (which slid out cleanly from the pulled pork sandwich meat I made yesterday).  The bones from the two shoulders weighed .78 pounds, or .39 pounds each.
So out of a 10-pound pork roast, you’re paying for .39 pounds of bone and 9.61 pounds of meat.  That raises the price from .99 cents a pound to…(drum roll please)
…1.04 cents per pound!
Well, if you know how to use a carving knife + how to make amazing pulled pork, pork pernil, or any other roasted version that allows you to remove the bone without leaving any meat behind, the Option 1 wins, hands down!

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