Category Archives: Pork

Pork Scratchings – scratching a living

Recently, there seems to be a bit of a thing about Pork Scratchings.  Perhaps people are latching on to my own method for making them at home ?  My earlier recipe is here.

Mmmmm .... hint of caraway seed added

So a bit more information on the subject is required …..

  • Pork scratchings originated in the early 19th century, when the production of meat began to be industrialised. The term literally means the scraps from the slaughterhouse floor.
  • An estimated 20 million packs of pork scratchings are sold each year as bar snacks. The Black Country in the West Midlands is the epicentre of the industry.
  • There are 606 calories and 2.9g of salt per 100g of pork scratchings (Source: Mr Porky’s, sold in 20g packs).
  • Traditionally, scratchings are fried and made with the softer, relatively hairless skin with attached fat, behind the hock (back foot) of the pig; crackling is roasted or baked, and can be made from a wider portion of the pig.
  • Before cooking scratchings, hair must be singed off and the skin blanched in boiling water to open the pores. Some swear by this to optimise crackling levels when roasting pork at home.
  • International versions include pork rinds and cracklings in the USA, grillons or grattons in France, chicharrones in Central America and the Spanish Caribbean.
  • 99 per cent of scratchings sold in the UK are made with Danish pork. Before recent changes in legislation, this was not revealed on labels.
  • When fried, the skin of the scratching hardens. All UK brands carry a label warning that contents are suitable only for people with strong healthy teeth.

There are also a couple of excellent websites devoted to Pork Sratchings with more on the history, recipes, reviews etc …. click on the logos


Charlie the butcher



Its been a while. I’ve been on a couple of little trips and as always I’ve snapped away.


The beautiful highland cattle.


A happy butcher.

France- Somewhere

I always love the range of butchers shop fronts in France. They seem very welcoming to me, I took lots of pictures but wont bore you with them all.

Horse Butcher.

Foie Gras Farm-France

Its been a little while since my last post but I’m back on the blog so keep your eyes open. Bacon Jam etc…….

Charlie the Butcher.

Bacon Connisseurs’ Week

Happy Bacon Connisseurs’ Week to you all.  It starts on Monday 21st March.

From dry cured to Wiltshire cured and maple cured to oak smoked, Bacon Connoisseurs’ Week 2011 celebrates the vast range of lip-smacking, quality bacon available for us to savour.  This year’s Bacon Ambassador is the one and only Oz Clarke. As the most recognised wine critic in the UK, Oz is lending his sophisticated palate to help explore the many flavours and uses of one of Britain’s best-loved ingredients. “Whenever flavour is needed, bacon delivers. Ask any chef across the nation and they will agree. Bacon by itself or bacon to add flavour, is unique.”

Bacon sarnie ..... mmmm

Click here for more information including some handy advice on curing bacon, various cuts and recipes.

Charlie the Butcher

Pigs can fly ?!

Click here for the latest consumer feedback ….

Cheap laugh ……. you couldn’t make it up !!!

Charlie the Butcher.

British Sausage Week

British Sausage Week

This week is British Sausage Week, held to promote the eating of British reared pork, and you can vote for your own favourite on the website.  There are useful guides to buying prime cuts of pork , as well as a host of recipes to encourage people to cook with sausages.

Incidentally – you thought that Lady Gaga was setting a trend with her meat fashion – think again ……

The Sausage Queen

The word sausage originally comes from the Latin word salsus, which means salted or preserved. In the days of old people did not have refrigeration to preserve their meat and so making sausage was a way of overcoming this problem.

The first sausages were made by early humans, stuffing roasted intestines into stomachs. As early as 589 BC, a Chinese sausage làcháng was mentioned consisting of goat and lamb meat. Around 2,700 years ago the Greek poet Homer mentioned a kind of blood sausage in the Odyssey,

“These goat sausages sizzling here in the fire – we packed them with fat and blood to have for supper.  Now, whoever wins this bout and proves the stronger, Let that man step up and take his pick of the lot !”

Epicharmus, who  lived sometime between c. 540 and c. 450 BC, wrote a comedy titled “The Sausage”.  Evidence suggests that sausages were already popular both among the ancient Greeks and Romans.

Dry sausage was born as a result of the discovery of new spices, which helped to enhance, flavour and preserve the meat.  Different countries and different cities within those countries started producing their own distinctive types of sausage, both fresh and dry.  These different types of sausage were mostly influenced by the availability of ingredients as well as the climate.

Some parts of the world with periods of cold climate, such as northern Europe were able to keep their fresh sausage without refrigeration, during the cold months.  They also developed a process of smoking the sausage to help preserve the meat during the warmer months.  The hotter climates in the south of Europe developed dry sausage, which did not need refrigeration at all.

Sausages are a result of economical butchery. Traditionally, sausage-makers put to use tissues and organs which are perfectly edible and nutritious, but not particularly appealing – such as scraps, organ meats, blood, and fat – in a form that allows for preservation: typically, salted and stuffed into a tubular casing made from the cleaned and turned inside-out intestine of the animal, producing the characteristic cylindrical shape. Hence, sausages, puddings and salami are amongst the oldest of prepared foods, whether cooked and eaten immediately or dried to varying degrees.

Basically people living in particular areas developed their own types of sausage and that sausage became associated with the area. For example ……

Cumberland sausage

Cumberland sausage

This is considered to be the meatiest British sausage.  It is a chunky, course cut pork sausage spiced with black pepper, a  few gratings of fresh nutmeg and mace and a pinch each of marjoram, sage and cayenne pepper. It is made in a continuous spiral and traditionally sold by length rather than weight.  Looks very impressive when coiled in a spiral and cooked whole

Lincolnshire sausage

Lincolnshire sausage

Old fashioned herby regional sausage traditionally made with pork, bread and sage, although thyme seems to be creeping in.

Marylebone sausage

A traditional London butchers sausage made with mace, ginger and sage.

Charlie the Butcher

The Tamworth Two

The Tamworth Two.  Well, where do I start.

12 years ago two Tamworth pigs escaped. It was in January, 1998 that the pair fled from a Wiltshire abattoir, forcing a fence and swimming across the River Avon. They spent a week on the run, searching back gardens and vegetable patches for food, before being rounded up. With a huge media scrum around the story, the two Tamworths became called “The Tamworth Two”.

They hit the headlines and had tv crews rushing to Wiltshire to cover the story. After the media stories it was decided not to send them to the slaughter house and they missed the butcher’s block but ended up at the Rare Breeds Centre in Kent which is a great place. They were nicknamed Butch and Sundance. But sadly the famous Butch has been put to rest and not for the bacon sarnie lovers, but due to bad health.

Farm manager Davy McColm said:  “Butch was always the livelier of the two, the more physically active. We knew it was serious because in the end she would just stand there and let us examine her without causing a fuss.”

‘She was chronically ill and was not responding to treatment. The vets could not say for certain what was wrong with her, but the prime suspect is liver cancer. Sadly, it reached the point where it was in the animal’s best interests to put her to sleep. Considering she was destined for the chop at six months, she had a good innings.’

So if you are ever passing pop in a give her partner Sundance a pat and cheer her up.

RIP Butch.

Charlie the Butcher.

An Evening of Meat

On Monday 1st November me and my good friend Ben Greeno of supper club Tudor Road will be hosting ‘An Evening of Meat’.  It was decided over a couple of drinks and we both thought it would be a great idea to share our skills and passion. Ben is a very talented chef and over the last few years he has spent his time working around Europe, including two stints at Restaurant Sat Bains and two at Noma in Copenhagen where he was the first cook employed at the then unknown venture.  You will experience a wide range of different cuts of meat, a butchery demonstration and be talked through each course by Ben and myself.  We will be using unusual meat cuts complemented along the way with matching drinks.  Over the evening you will be served six courses along with matching drinks,  it will cost £80 per person.  Spaces are limited to 10 people.  For bookings please email

Hopefully see you on the 1st.

Charlie the Butcher.