How to butcher a hog: Part 1

IMG_3173Our hogs are a heritage breed, called guinea hogs. They are best butchered at 135-180#. It takes longer for this breed to grow than a conventional breed that can achieve slaughter weight in a few months. Ironic. It takes longer to grow this smaller pig. But, boy do they taste good! It’s a lard type pig that has been featured in the Slow Food ark of taste. And because of it’s smaller size it is easier to butcher at home than a 300# pig. This actual pig we did this time is a Guinea Hog/ Berkshire cross. Jeremie started by heating up water in a cast iron bathtub. You want the water to be hovering around 155 degrees. Once the fire was going under that, he put down the unlucky hog with a 22lr. He then quickly stuck the pig, to let him bleed out. We did not collect the blood, because I am not inspired to make blood sausage. However, now would be the time to collect the blood, if you are so inclined. IMG_4835Then Jeremie dragged him over to the now warm bath tub and he and Tommy lifted him up into the water. This is where it is nice to have a smaller size pig. Because we didn’t need a tractor or winch to get him up and into the tub. Would’ve been nice, but not necessary. After a few minute’s soak in the hot tub, we pulled him out a bit and scraped off the hair. The first one we did was difficult to pull out because he was hot and slippery. For the second pig, we put a couple cinder blocks in the water so we could just flip him over from side to side to scrape him. Jeremie had 3 scrapers, but it was hard for the kids to help because you had to be tall enough to reach into the tub, without getting burned by the fire underneath. Tommy, Mia and Susie were a big help. I probably was not. IMG_4854 After scraping off the hair, we drove him into the barn on Jeremie’s lawn mower deck, and hooked him up to the gambrels. Again, being thankful he wasn’t 300 pounds. Jeremie and Tommy did the eviscerating and halving of the carcass. I don’t know the details of that, but perhaps Jeremie will do his own post about it? Then into the cooler they went. This is actually a chest freezer that Jeremie converted into a fridge. We could fit two hogs in there, 4 halves, with a shelving piece between the halves for better air circulation. We’ll cover the actuall meat processing in another post. IMG_4861

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About Molly

Hey! Welcome to our little homestead in Tn. Join us as we daily try to seek the Lord’s face and raise up the next generation of His warriors. There’s always something crazy going on here and we hope to bring a chuckle to your day or evoke an “amen, sister, I’ve been there!”

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