Well, pork did nothing to overcome the notion that I am just not naturally skilled at meat fabrication. We cut some chops, which was easy enough. Following along the rib bones does not require epic levels of intuition. And turns out I was decent at “frenching” the chops, which is to scrape the meat away to leave an aethstically pleasing exposed bone at the end of your chop. (Wow, that sounded dirty.) But then we were charged to fabricate a Boston Butt (totally the shoulder of the animal, not to be confusing or anything) by “following the seams” and breaking it down muscle by muscle.
This started easily enough. Indeed, by following the sinew with a knife tip, large chunks start to come away from the whole. But not entirely, mind you. Eventually you get to an impasse, where it seems that the seam you were following has suddenly come to a dead end, like you’re in some sort of ham maze. And if you’re anal rententive enough (who, me?) and you feel very strongly about not cutting through any muscle itself as instructed, you may then think “okay, I’ll get back to that,” pick a different sinew, and start following along it, often to another dead end. Instead of resulting in a nice pile of individual muscles that could be easily cut into chunks for stewing, I basically had a giant, pork-fleshy möbius strip. Sigh.
Bodies are complicated, y’all.