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Join Date: 02-17-09
Location: Ayden, NC
The new Pork Rule defined.
The new pork rule: What does it really mean?
PORK: Pork is defined as Boston Butt, Boston Roast, Picnic and/or Whole Shoulder, weighing a minimum of four (4) pounds at time of inspection. After trimming, pork shall be cooked whole (bone in or bone out), however, once cooked, it may be separated and returned to the cooker at the cook's discretion. It may be turned in chopped, pulled, chunked, sliced or a combination of any of those.
The final pork rule (2014) above may not mean what the BOD intended. We can argue our personal interpretation of the meaning of the words in the pork rule or use a crystal ball to interpret the BOD line of thinking, or can we.
To definitively decipher the rule, we must understand about creating rules and regulation specifically what do words mean. Simply, if a word is to be limited or defined in a manner different than found in commonly available dictionaries then the definition must be provided.
The words with the most discussion or “gray area” in their meanings are “trim” , “whole”, and “cooked”; none of which are defined in the rule(s). Therefore, a dictionary must be consulted.
From Merriam Webster:
1) to cut (something) off something else
2) to remove (something) by cutting
3) to make (something) neat by cutting it
4) to make the size, amount, or extent of (something) smaller
Now we apply the four (4) definitions to the rule by substituting the meanings for the word “trimming”.
The rule: “After trimming, pork shall be cooked whole….”
“After cutting, pork shall be cooked whole….”
“After removing (something) by cutting, pork shall be cooked whole….”
“After making it neat by cutting, pork shall be cooked whole….”
“After making the size, amount, or extent smaller, pork shall be cooked whole….”
1) complete or full
2) not lacking or leaving out any part
2) having all the parts
3) not divided or cut into parts or pieces
4) great or large in size, extent, etc.
Referring to the sentence in the rule, “After trimming, pork shall be cooked whole”…... “Whole” is an adjective which qualifies a noun or pronoun in the same sentence. Therefore, we can conclude “whole” is referring to “pork” after the act of trimming.
1) to prepare for eating by a heating process
2) to go through the process of being cooked
The new pork rule when applying common meanings reads like this.
PORK: Pork is defined as Boston Butt, Boston Roast, Picnic and/or Whole Shoulder, weighing a minimum of four (4) pounds at time of inspection. After trimming (cutting, removing pieces by cutting, making neat by cutting, or making the size, amount, or extent smaller), pork shall be cooked (prepared for eating by heating above *145°) whole (trimmed pork) (bone in or bone out), however, once cooked (prepared for eating by heating above 145°)*, it may be separated and returned to the cooker at the cook's discretion. It may be turned in chopped, pulled, chunked, sliced or a combination of any of those."
*145° was added to further define “cooked” because 145° is the lowest temperature pork is considered safe to eat.
Much clearer now isn't it. Maybe not?
Is a pork collar legal?
No. Because pork collars are not defined as "Pork" in the rule even if they come from one of the parts of the shoulder. Refering to the
definition from the Pork Council, all parts contain a bone. Pork collars do not contain bones.
"Pork is defined as Boston Butt, Boston Roast, Picnic and/or Whole Shoulder weighing a minimum of four (4) pounds at time of inspection"
The Pork Council defines Pork shoulder as the top portion of the front leg of the hog. The terminology for pork shoulder can vary widely depending on the region. However, the lower ‘arm’ portion of the shoulder is most commonly called the arm Picnic. The upper part of the shoulder, often called the Boston Blade Roast (also known as Boston- style Butt), comes from the area near the loin and contains the shoulder blade bone.
Is a 4+ pound boneless Butt legal?
Yes, as long as the muscles around the bone are present.
After inspection can the Butt be trimmed down to the pork collar?
No. The rule allows trimming but after trimming it still has to meet the definition of PORK. Therefore, post trimmed pork should contain all the muscles of the inspected product.