Keeping a herd of pigs brings a lot of enjoyment - they are curious, intelligent and (often) lovable animals, with plenty of character. When the time comes, they can provide you with a fine carcass that can be turned into all manner of tasty things. The River Cottage ethos is all about kwing the story behind what's on the plate, and as Gill Meller explains in this accessible and comprehensive guide, by rearing and butchering your own pigs you'll be able to create a full range of delicious pork products in the most sustainable, ecomical and hands-on way possible. Pigs & Pork gives expert advice on choosing whether to keep your own pigs, on sourcing them and setting up their home, and on feeding and caring for them. Gill also explains how you can arrange for the pigs' eventual slaughter, and how to find a good butcher or carry out your own butchery at home and identify the different cuts of meat. And even if you are buying your pork from the butcher, there is plenty to inspire. In the mouth-watering recipe section you will find the ultimate roast pork, farmhouse pates, pork scratchings, brawn, sausages, rillettes, pork pies, Scotch eggs and black pudding, as well as instructions for how to home-cure your own bacon, ham and salami. And of course, there are guidelines for setting up a proper hog roast to cater for large numbers, River Cottage-style - simply the perfect fare for an outside gathering. Whether you are just after the secret to sensational crackling, or you want to go the whole hog and set up your own sty, this book will guide you on the road to pork heaven.
Head chef Gill Meller has been part of the River Cottage team for ten years. Working closely with Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, Gill has been a major part of all of the activities at River Cottage, including sourcing the ethically produced ingredients and creating the ever changing menu at the excellent restaurant. He appears regularly on the Channel 4 TV series and teaches at the River Cottage Cookery School. @GillMeller / rivercottage.net