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Page:Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management.djvu/739

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neck, close behind the ears; the feet and also the internal fat are removed. The carcass is next divided into two sides in the following manner: the ribs are divided about 1 inch from the spine on each side, and the spine, with the ends of the ribs attached, together with the internal flesh between it and the kidneys, and also the flesh above it, throughout the whole length of the sides, are removed. The portion of the carcass thus cut out is in the form of a wedge—the breadth of the interior, consisting of the breadth of the spine and about 1 inch of the ribs each side, being diminished to about ½ an inch at the exterior or skin along the back. The breast-bone, and also the first anterior rib, are also dissected from the side. Sometimes the whole of the ribs are removed; but this, for reasons afterwards to be noted, is a very bad practice. When the hams are cured separately from the sides, which is generally the case, they are cut out so as to include the hockbone, in a similar way to the London mode of cutting a haunch of mutton. The carcass of the hog thus cut up is ready for being salted, which process, in large curing establishments, is generally as follows: The skin side of the pork is rubbed over with a mixture of 50 parts by weight of salt and 1 part of saltpetre in powder, and the incised parts of the ham or flitch and the inside of the flitch covered with the same. The salted bacon, in pairs of flitches with the insides to each other, is piled one pair of flitches above another on benches slightly inclined. and furnished with spouts or troughs to convey the brine to receivers in the floor of the salting-house, to be afterwards used for pickling pork for navy purposes. In this state the bacon remains a fortnight, which is sufficient for flitches cut from hogs of a carcass-weight less than 15 stone (14 lb. to the stone). Flitches of a larger size, at the expiration of that time, are wiped dry and reversed in their place in the pile, having, at the same time, about half the first quantity of fresh, dry, common salt sprinkled over the inside and incised parts; after which they remain on the benches for another week. Hams being thicker than flitches, will require, when less than 20 lb. weight, 3 weeks; and when above that weight, 4 weeks to remain under the above-described process. The next and last process in the preparation of bacon and hams, previous to being sent to market, is drying. This is effected by hanging the flitches and hams for 2 or 3 weeks in a room heated by stoves, or in a smoke-house, in which they are exposed for the same length of time to the smoke arising from the slow combustion of the sawdust of oak or other hard wood. The latter mode of completing the curing process has some advantage over the other, as by it the meat is subject to the action of creosote, a volatile oil produced by the combustion of the sawdust, which is powerfully antiseptic. The process also furnishing a thin covering of a resinous varnish, excludes the air not only from the muscle, but also from the fat, thus effectually preventing the meat from becoming rusted; and the principal reasons for condemning the practice of removing the ribs from the flitches of pork