Pork backbone, heart, kidneys. This is what I used for stew meat.
(Can also use tongue, ribs, ears, tail…just the leftovers.) Before anyone gets nervous about the “leftovers” I use in this stew…have you ever eaten a hot dog? Ok, the meat in hotdogs, potted meat, and Spam is probably scarier than these ingredients! I didn’t use the ribs for stew, because we like to smoke and BBQ the ribs. (Yum) I don’t use the tail because it’s too much trouble to be worth it for a little bit of meat, and I don’t use the tongue because I used it in souse meat. Some sources I’ve read use the lungs in stew, but I’ve also read where they’re pretty gross. So I decided to toss the lungs this time.
We also scrap the intestines. I’ve never made chitlins, and I didn’t have time to research and cook them this time around. It’s a lot of work! It was enough for me to handle the Liver Pudding and Stew in one day.
Enough talking, here is how to make Use-It-All Stew!
Immediately put heart and kidneys in ice water. (Or if you can run inside, just put them in cold water in the fridge. Soak until the water rinses clean in the heart. I let them soak all day in the fridge.
Cut up heart and kidneys. Rinse and drain cut up pieces. Put in a big pot with the cleaned backbone, add salt. I used three different pots to cook all the backbone pieces in! There was a lot.
After several hours of cooking on the stove, the meat will come right off the bone. Because of time constraints, I refrigerated my meat in the cooking pot, and waited until the next day to de-bone and process my meat.
Once I got all the meat off the backbones, I put it all together, heart, kidney, and backbone meat, and brought it to a boil. (Still using the original broth it cooked in.)
Prepare canning jars, lids, and bands. For this amount of meat, I ended up filling three quarts with the hot meat. I packed the jars with meat, then added the broth for the liquid. Wipe rim clean, put on lid and band, and put in the canner. (Always follow directions when pressure canning.)
For pork, I used ten pounds of pressure for 90 minutes. (Again, this is the canning rules for most meats.)
Now, I have meat to use in stew, chili, or really whatever calls for shredded pork! And all this from leftovers! Very thrifty when the backbone, heart, and kidney would have just been tossed. The fun thing is…no one will know the heart or kidney is in there, because it blends in so well!