Pork Recipes

We here at CF successfully completed our first pork pick up day for our customers!   This was the end result of many firsts on the farm:  first “Mama Pig,” first litter of babies (10!), and first processing and distribution of half hog shares.  For those that have been following us for a while, this was a major accomplishment for this small family farm and a very long time in the making.  Farmer B didn’t sleep at all the night before and said the day felt like Christmas morning!

At the pork pickup, we served up some fresh breakfast sausage and had some of the best conversations about food and cooking with everyone. I was so inspired by the porcine pontifications and as promised, here are some links and instructions to recipes and tutorials; our tiny contribution to your pork education.  Let’s get the most out of your meat! Even if you aren’t in the business of trying to get the most out of a pork share and are just a casual cooker of swine, we hope this can help you discover new horizons in bacon, chops, and ham.

Over the years we have built quite a nice repertoire of skills and recipes, so enjoy our favorites. I have posted some explanations broken down by cut of meat, and at the very bottom you will find a list of books for your piggie pleasure for further reference. And we would love links and instructions to your favorite recipes too! Please post your faves and don’t forget to send pics of your finished products.

Cooking all of your half share of Callywood Farms pork…

Neck bones – We encourage many of you to take these. We LOVE this portion of pork. It is super easy to prepare and is good stand alone or part of a dish. Below you will see two different preparations. The first is the a pack of neck bones thrown in the crockpot with BBQ sauce. Farmer B often makes this when he has to make dinner for himself, ha! A typical man dinner: pork, slaw, beer.


Most often, we throw a package into the crockpot along with beans. The best pork n’ beans ever. The neck bones add fat, gelatin, and flavor without sacrificing your delicious bacon or another cut of pork. You’ll have to extract the bones from the crockpot  (pic on top left) and spend a few minutes picking out the chunks of meat (pic on bottom left) and then throw it back in the crockpot and mix it back in (pic on right), but we have found that it is always worth the effort.


Ham – We have cured and smoked many hams over the years with great success. We have roasted a “fresh” ham as well and both preparations are delicious.

Finding a container large enough to cure and brine your ham is a challenge if you kept your ham whole. Many chose to order a half ham which is easier to wrangle. Below is a full ham submerged in curing brine. It then needs to fit in your refrigerator for a week or so, so you need to account for that too. We have only home cured using nitrites/pink salt, which we order online. I find Michael Ruhlman’s Charcuterie book to be the best reference for curing pork (link to book at bottom).


Out of the brine and to the smoker!


And on the smoker. You can also bake after curing for a more honey-baked ham approach, as well.


Out of the smoker and oh so delicious…


Fresh Ham with Lemon, Garlic, and Rosemary – You guys. This is one of the best pork recipes I have ever tried. It was so so good. We made this last Easter served with freshly creamed spinach from the garden…it was one of those meals you’ll always remember. My picture looks quite different from the magazine, but one thing to NOT LEAVE OUT is the cherry jam sauce. DIVINE.

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Feet and hocks – The feet and hocks can be cured and smoked or used fresh. Most feet and/or hocks you find in recipes will call for cured/smoked hocks. It is often used as a sub for bacon in recipes, particularly soups. If you are curing a ham, just throw your hocks/feet into the same container and cook alongside your ham. Plan accordingly to weight with your brine and smoking time/temp.

You can also just throw the fresh feet/hocks into your dish like the neck bones. Just know that if your original recipe calls for cured/smoked hocks (example: split pea soup) and you use fresh, you’ll probably have to add salt.


Well, I could write a book on this topic. But here’s the low down real quick. There are two types of lard: leaf lard and not leaf lard. Leaf lard is the cream of the crop and is the coveted lard for baking and pastry. You can use it as a substitute for butter or vegetable shortening and it’s dairy free (for those with an intolerance), non-gmo (unlike shortening), and actually healthy. Lard has gotten a bad rap, but when it comes from heritage pigs fed a rich diet, it is actually very low in saturated fats and heart healthy. Leaf lard is the fat you find surrounding the kidneys and internal organs of the pig. It is pure and white. You might find some pieces of meat on it and that’s fine, but you’ll need to render it. You won’t have much of it, so you can choose to render it separately if you want to reserve it for pastry use or your can render it alongside all your fatback and get a large batch of lard.

For some, this combo lard comes out clean enough to use in pastry, for some it doesn’t and they choose to use it more like olive oil to cook with. Your choice. With leaf lard you won’t get any cracklins’ and with fat back it may not come out clean enough (white/odorless) to use in pastry. I love making a lard/butter pie crust myself. I also love using lard as a cooking oil, it maintains a high heat (unlike olive oil) and if it isn’t totally “clean” lends a bacon-y taste to your dish (hellooooo cornbread).

My favorite way to render lard is in the crockpot (my crockpot gets a lot of use and I actually have many sizes, ha!). You can also render on the stove top.

Rendering lard in a crockpot

To Render Lard – Stove top


Perhaps the most under rated cut from the pig. The jowl/cheek produces a very similar marbling to the belly. Many customers chose to cure and smoke theirs alongside the belly. The jowl is a smaller cut of meat that is perfect to try curing bacon at home with. If you would like to try something different, we have done a very nice braise with ours before that was a wonderful Christmas Eve dinner ragu over homemade pasta!

Pork cheeks braised in red wine



For those that get a couple packages of plain ground pork and would like to try your hand at sausage making, I highly recommend it! For our household, we order ground pork in 5 lbs. bags which we season and then re-freeze in packages of 1 lb. and take out as needed. Though our butcher uses top shelf organic spices to make the sausage,  we like making our own unique sausage flavors and enjoy the creativity and process of having one of a kind sausage.   Again, my favorite reference for the best sausage recipes is Charcuterie.  I particularly LOVE their breakfast sausage (fresh ginger, garlic, sage…is so so good), spicy italian (I add lots of basil and garlic), and chorizo.

I can recommend the kitchen aid grinding and sausage stuffing attachment. It’s good for a beginner and making small batches of sausage.

Other recipes 

Here’s a quick collection of some of our very favorite recipes that we keep coming back to over the years.

One pan whiskey pork chops

Cocoa and chile pork chops

Bourbon and apple juice ribs

Bacon Jam – You need to make this. This is a base recipe. Add/edit/ take out to your preference. This is perfect to make for a special guest, but be aware that it will go very, very fast.

Books & Products

Charcuterie by Michael Ruhlman and David Polcyn

Pickles, Pigs & Whiskey

Kitchen Aid Grinder and Sausage Stuffer


Call for Meat Chicken Orders!

Hey there friendly farm-raised food lovers…We are now accepting orders for Meat Chickens for 2015!

Please follow the link below for the order form. Like last year,we do expect all batches to sell out, so the sooner your get your order in, the better. If you are interested in volunteering at any of the chicken processing/pickup days, let us know and you will receive a free chicken for your effort.

As we are a small, family run operation, we depend on referrals, recommendations, and the grassroots efforts of our customers to help us grow.  So, please share with your friends, family, co-workers, or anyone else you know that may be interested in pastured meat chickens.  Our growing participation in the local food community is our favorite part of what we do!

Thanks for your continued support and for letting us help feed you and your family…together we make the world a happier and tastier place, one chicken at a time!

Meat Chickens 2015


Episode 5 – We’re Back!

Welcome to the long awaited Episode 5 of the Callywood Farms Podcast.  It’s been far too long and we are thrilled to be back in the bedroom studio to share with you all the goings on of the farm the past several months.  We update on all things Callywoods including some hot garden talk, what’s going on in chicken world, pig updates, and we finish with a lightning round of updates and news from around our world!  The link to the magazine article about our farm we mention towards the end of the episode is:


Thanks for listening!


Whew. We have had a busy, productive, and rewarding summer here on the farm! Between farmer’s markets, meat chicken processing, hatching three rounds of baby chickens, processing another pig, and growing a whole lot of food we haven’t made our website and podcast a priority, but we are getting back around to it, promise.

Anyways, we’ve been so busy that “Living the Country Life” magazine decided to write a little story about Callywood Farms! The story is featured on their website and we invite you to hop on over and take a read! Of course, Farm Baby steals the show with her prize beet harvest. Check it out here. Thank you to the magazine and Anna for thinking we are worthy of inclusion on their great website!

Here’s the story – http://www.livingthecountrylife.com/becoming-farmers

Also, if you happen to be an Instagram user, we are too! We post very regularly on Instagram and welcome you to join us as we continue to tell our tale in pictures. Search for us @callywoodfarms or look to the right towards the bottom of the website and you will find our Instagram link there too!

Homemade Chicken Stock

Chicken stock. The backbone of a delicious and nutritious kitchen. Chicken stock is the reason that chicken soup is given to those who are sick.  Chicken stock is not only a great healing food, it is incredible nutritious, has versatile uses in the kitchen, and making your own is a fantastically frugal and easy option. Skip the boxes and cans, this is the real deal.


I want to explain a few parts of the recipe you will find below…

About the chicken part: While you can definitely use just the carcass (as opposed to boiling a whole chicken first and then stripping the meat off for meals), I get a better stock when I use 2 or even 3 carcasses. Sometimes, I use just one. It still makes a great light chicken stock, which is a perfect base for soup or risotto, so if you only have one, go for it! Add whatever parts you have: neck, gizzards (save livers for pate or another use because they are so good!), and feet. I’ll talk about the feet in a minute.

If you have an old chicken (stew hen), this is a great use for an old bird. As pictured, I used a stew hen here.  From time to time, as nature calls for, our older laying hens move on from the flock and serve yet another amazing purpose. What I will often do is boil the bird until tender, then remove and pick all the meat off and make something with the meat like pot pie or enchiladas. I reserve the leftover liquid for “cooking liquid” (which I use to cook grains or beans and in a pinch can sub for regular stock) and then put the carcass back in the pot with fresh filtered water for our amazing stock. Double score!


Let’s talk feet. Chicken feet. Now I know some cultures eat the feet and many have tried it before. And I might one day, but that day is not today. Instead I use the feet in the stock. The feet are loaded with gelatin. Gelatin has been shown to help digestion and contains healing properties for our stomachs. Many resources say to blanch the feet, but I just throw mine in au natural. If you want to learn more, check out this website.

The next weird thing on my ingredient list, “random vegetables peelings.” Often I don’t even put onion, carrots or celery in and just use random vegetable peelings. I keep a bag in the freezer marked for this and fill it with onion ends and peels, carrot ends and peelings, celery ends and insides, potato peelings, herb stalks, etc. The only thing you want to stay away from is cruciferous vegetables or vegetables from the brassicas family (broccoli, cabbage, etc.).


Okay last explanation. Why 1/4 cup of apple cider vinegar, and why do you let it sit for an  hour before bringing to a boil? Great questions. Letting the bones sit in slightly acidic water before boiling helps bring vitamins and trace minerals contained in the bones out into the stock. If I have the time and the forethought, I always do this, if not, I just turn the burner right on!



  • A chicken carcass or stew hen including neck, gizzards, and feet, preferably from a pastured chicken
  • 1/4 cup raw apple cider vinegar (bragg’s)
  • 1 onion
  • Celery (I use the middle pieces and outer pieces that you don’t use otherwise)
  • Carrots (about 3)
  • Random vegetable peelings (as explained above)
  • Filtered water, fill up pot so that the bones and vegetables are firmly covered in water
  • 1 tspn. sea salt
  • Optional: Black peppercorns (1TB), Bay leaves (2), Herbs (parsley stalks, thyme, rosemary all work well)


  1. Fill a large pot with everything listed. Let it sit for about 1 hour.
  2. Turn heat up to high and let it come to a boil. Once it does, turn it down as low as possible. You want a big bubble to surface every few seconds. Low and slow, baby.
  3. Simmer for 12-24 hours.
  4. When 24 hours is up, strain through a fine mesh sieve and place into glass jars/containers and freeze or refrigerate.


Getting the most out of your chicken.

Today was the first pickup for our pastured meat chickens. Hopefully, we will have a podcast out soon with details on the day, but I wanted to share a post for our customers who have one or a couple tasty chickens in their freezer and may not know exactly what to do with a whole chicken (or for others who maybe want to spice up their dinner routine!).

It’s a reality these days that a whole chicken is a daunting task in the kitchen. We have become used to the convenience of packaged, parceled out chicken. And that can be great! However, it is also costly for families, especially if you are looking for humanely raised, pastured, or organic chicken!  So I thought I would share my routine and a couple recipes that we have come to love!

My routine:  I usually use one of the whole chicken recipes listed below. Sometimes I venture out and try something different, and I included some of those ideas as well. If you stick to the basic recipes (or even Jamie’s Chicken in Milk recipe), depending on the group you are feeding, you might have some chicken meat leftover to use in another meal! If so, I shred/chop it up and freeze in 2 cup portions. This is the time to dig deep into the chicken. There is some great meat in the neck/backbone area and let’s be real, you want to get every piece of meat when you are paying good money for top quality pastured chicken! Just like your store bought rotisserie chicken, this leftover meat can be used for endless recipes (also listed below).

After cooking and picking off all the meat, I usually stick all the leftover bones and carcass, plus the neck and feet, into a freezer bag until I’m ready to make stock. So stay tuned, I am going to put up a post later this week about how I make yummy and super-useful stock and some more resources for that!

If you don’t want to use the whole chicken because your favorite recipe calls for leg quarters or bone-in breasts or whatever, here are two tutorials for breaking down and cutting up your chicken that have been helpful:

Alton Brown on Good Eats.

Melissa Clark from NYT.


Basic Whole Chicken

Something a little different:

Leftover Chicken Meat Meal Ideas:

  • Chicken Pot Pie
  • Chicken Enchiladas
  • Chicken tacos (for a different taco recipe try this chicken tinga recipe)
  • Soup – Chicken Tortilla, chicken n dumplings, or the “throw everything in your fridge that’s about to go bad and add chicken” soup are a couple favorites!
  • Chicken “pockets” – Like a calzone, kinda. I use this yogurt dough and stuff it with endless things. Mediterranean (artichokes, sun dried tomatoes, feta, chicken), Spinach artichoke chicken, Indian Samosas (potatoes, peas, carrots, chicken, curry powder), etc.
  • Chicken salad – We don’t do a lot of chicken salad. It’s just not our thing, but some people love it, and leftover shredded chicken meat is ideal. One day, I’d love to try this recipe for Apricot Basil Chicken Salad.

We’d love to hear some of your favorite chicken recipes! And for our customers, we can’t wait to hear how our chicken turned out in your kitchen!


Episode 4 – Solstice Updates & Sit Down with 3 Oaks Farm

New Year, Episode 4!  We begin with updates from the farm and a recap of solstice activities.  Chickens are enjoying longer days and so are we.  The meat of this episode features a sit down chat with the owners of 3 Oaks Farm from Westminster, SC. We discuss organic farming, farmers markets, how they got into the agricultural racket, and whole lot more.  Thanks for listening!