Saturday night, Randy and I were in the kitchen, doing the finishing touches of putting up two hogs. He was in the process of cutting the backstrap into cubes to put in jars and can, when he made the comment, “You know, this is the true meaning of ‘eating high on the hog’. I had to laugh, but he is right. The backstrap is the highest point on the hogs back. But, oh, is it so tender and delicious! Most people call it the ‘tenderloin’, and in the grocery stores they can get pretty expensive. I always feel so indulged when he puts them up whole, for us to grill. But my next favorite way is in jars.
When he first suggested doing this, he and our friend and neighbor, Johnny, were sitting at the table discussing canning deer meat. Randy made the suggestion that canning the pork backstrap would make some good Pork over rice. I fully admit – I made a face that said, ‘I don’t think so!’ Johnny looked at me like I was crazy.
“Have you ever eaten it?” he asked.
“Nope,” I responded. ‘That just sounds too gross!”
“Shame on you!” he said. “I thought you were a ‘real’ Farm Wife.”
Oh, those are fighting words. I was now in a position to have to put up or shut up. So I told Randy to have at it. And the next time he got a hog, he did just that.
Canned pork is now one of my favorite meals. It is so easy to can, and makes for some delicious eating. All you have to do is cube up a tenderloin, season (we use garlic powder, Tony’s, onion powder and a touch of seasoned pepper). Mix well. Place meat into a hot sterilized quart jar to within 1” of the rim. Pour boiling hot water over the meat. Run a non-metallic spoon or knife down the sides to release any air bubbles, and top off the water to within ½” to ¾” from the rim. Wipe the rims, and add a flat and ring. Tighten to finger-tip tight. Place in a pressure canner and process at 10 pounds of pressure for 90 minutes. Turn off heat and allow to completely cool, or until pressure gauge returns to Zero. Loosen lid and lift it away from you to prevent any steam burns. Remove jars from canner and place on a towel or cooling rack. Cool completely before storing.
For all of you who have your noses turned up, I will say to you what Johnny said to me:
“Shame on you!”
Go ahead. Be a little adventurous. It really isn’t easy, provided you follow the recommended instructions for pressure canning. And now that you have your jars ready to go, head on over to the kitchen to learn how to make Pork over Rice. And don’t forget the French bread to go with it. I promise – you’ll find out what it means to eat ‘High on the Hog’!