We believe in the ‘everything but the oink’ theory of raising and eating your own meat – out of respect to the animal really, but also because being thrifty is a massive part of being a small holder or just simply trying to grow and raise your own food.
So whenever we sent a pig to slaughter we always ask for the head back. This is the bit I am the most squeamish about.. but chant under your breath ‘everything but the oink’ and proceed.
In previous years we have made brawn but this time I wanted to try something different, and decided to give Bath chaps a go.
Bath chaps are a west country tradition, made popular in Bath as the name suggests, and is basically the cheeks of the pig that have been given the ham treatment.
So I did a bit of reading, watched some videos, found a fair bit of difference, and took the bits I liked. You can still buy Bath chaps from independent butchers, and I guess they will each have their own version too. Here is mine.
And we love it – it tastes like ham, is a bit fatty, but that tastes great too – and you can cut some off as I did (I’m not convinced it is respectful to the animal to clog up ones arteries.. however the cat had other views and nothing was wasted).
A hit with the family, we ate some, froze the rest and is a real treat.