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I cure my own bacon with the skin still on the pork belly because I do not know how to remove it. I tried slicing it off with a knife (type unknown) but quickly lost patience. What is the best way to accomplish this task?

Also, I have 50 pounds of pig fat with which I intend to make lard, but I must removed the skin from it as well.

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3 Answers 3

A technique that I've seen is to score the skin in strips on the outside and then cut and peel the skin like a band-aid with a sharp knife (paring or boning) aiding the separation. I'm not a butcher, but last time we cured meat, we (two people) went through 100 lbs of fresh meat meticulously in about 20 minutes using this method (the other person was a southern Italian gentleman who was an old-hand at this).

You use the knife to cut and separate the skin from the meat and end up with long strips of fat. The skin separates from the meat nicely if you work at the interface layer of the skin and the meat.

With fat, you do a similar method. Except this time you place the skin on the cutting board (fat side up) and essentially scrape the fat off the skin (almost like a fillet action).

In both cases, you grab the skin with one hand and use the knife to separate/wedge the skin from the meat/fat with the other (see the safety note below).

Important safety note: always make sure the knife blade is pointing away from you and you're "cutting away" from your body. Also make sure the hand that is holding the skin is behind the blade and not in the path. This is to make sure that if your hand and knife run away, injury does not occur.

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thank you for the advice! –  Throckmorton Q. Dirktwister Jun 25 '13 at 17:01
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I think this sort of physical skill is very difficult to describe in text.

You may wish to search for video demonstrations, such as this one. He is essentially flaying the skin from the pork belly, by running the knife under the skin, angled away from the meat (toward the skin) in short passes, slowly pealing it back. Note for safety the knife movement is always away from the body of the person doing the work.

The speaker recommends using a very sharp, curved, non-pointed knife to make it easiest to remove the skin.

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thank you for the youtube video as i was not able to find any on my own! –  Throckmorton Q. Dirktwister Jun 25 '13 at 17:02
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Cure bacon with skin on. Hot smoke (or use oven)- skin still on. When internal temp reaches 150 the bacon is done. Remove from smoker (or oven) and easily slice the skin off.

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