Little Kai just loves the snow!
Has everyone recovered from the How To Hog Harvest? Did you look? Oh golly.. I told you that was the business, the real McCoy, the shizzle.
A million thanks to Bourbon Red who took the time last winter to provide a detailed "how to." We would have never made it without those instructions. There are some pretty good references out there - but most seem to feature the same two guys from back in the 50's, tho. And when I read thru their instructions I thought, but I don't have this or that piece of equipment... Aside from the gun (and the axe) pretty much we used a $30 meat saw from Gander Mountain, a couple of good kitchen knives, and some gumption.
One of the reasons I wanted to post the "how to's" is that there doesn't seem to be a great, "real" reference that proves a couple of determined (or crazy) people really can get out there and get the job done. As always, with butchering, the problem is that the words used to describe it are pretty gruesome and even if you say it with a smile, it still sounds kinda awful.
So hopefully, BR's easy to follow and approachable style helped you think, "Golly, maybe I CAN do this." I mean, for heavens sakes if my hubby and I can get out there - so can you. We are just regular people with no particular skills other than we are willing to work hard.
I tend to get the same questions so we'll do a super-quick, super basic FAQ:
Q: Is it worth it?
A: Yep. We raise the pigs cheaply, naturally, on pasture using "free" food from our goats, chickens and garden... as well as locally produced corn, fruits, and vegetables. And we save a buncha money doing the butchering ourselves.
Q: Did you puke?
A: Nope. Actually once you start getting into it you really don't have a choice and have to keep going. I think its interesting and have seen much worse on prime time TV (regular network - not even cable).
Q: Did you cry?
A: No.. but I did weep with joy when I saw the how beautiful how the chops were...
Q: Were you scared?
A: Only that an enraged 300 lbs pig would turn and try and kill me. But I had the dog. And the axe. Otherwise, I just don't find it very upsetting. I'm good in a crisis so I tend to just concentrate on the business at hand.
Q: But what about that poor widdle-piggy-wiggy-woo?
A: I hate them pigz. They are not cuddly, they are not cute, they are big, mean, and destructive. They had a great life right up until they walked out of their pen and into the line of fire. It was over for them in a matter of minutes and they never knew what hit them. I do not debate the merits of meat vs not. We do whats best for our family in the most responsible and practical way we know how.
Q: But you're touching raw meat! Eeeewwwwuueeeeeeeeeeee!!! (I got that one twice today)
A: Um... I don't even know how to respond to that.
Q: We want to raise pigs! What do we do?
A: Do it! First thing - run right out and get good fencing, electric will save you a lot of time and hassle. Then get yer pigz - try craigslist. Then just sit back, bide your time, feed 'em good and wait for the bacon. Then double dog dare each other to get out there and take care of business.
I'll be spending the next couple days doing the cutting - that is, processing the big pork sides into the kinds of cuts you'd get at the store. Today we did two halves. The ribs and chops are amazing. We ground most of the shoulders for sausage and to have in bulk. We like to use ground pork like you'd use like ground beef. I have a recipe for a slow cooked, 3 meat tomato sauce that would bring a tear to your eye.. been waiting to make that for months. And we are gonna eat pork chops until we are meat drunk!
Happy Monday Everyone!