On the afternoon of the 4th we killed, skinned, removed the innards and quartered a sow. We hung the meat in the “cooler” which for us this time of year was cooled with a small air conditioner. The cooler is more like a cave insulated with straw. It was fairly cool but not ideal! But, the reality is, we save a plenty of cash by doing it ourselves. The next evening after work, we cut, ground and packaged the meat for the freezer. Hold your computer mouse on each photo and read what we were doing at the time.
After the meat was hung, the butcher shop was hosed down and cleaned up for the next day. Fred, Clayton, Caleb and Peter did all the cutting, skinning and hanging on the first day, basically all the distasteful, heavy work. Fred made the brine for the hams and bacon and then put them in the refrigerator in the shop. That was left to soak until this Friday morning when Caleb and I fired up the pizza pit.
It’s not very easy to show all of the little things we did to process the hog, but I hope the photos give you an idea of how you might try to accomplish such a worthy task. I never did get photos of the acutal packaging because that was my job, although Bella did snap a few and some of the other photos. Everyone has some kind of job when we butcher our meat on the farm. Having added our butcher shop/honey shed has really made the job much more efficient and fast! Hot water, hoses, tables, food lugs, meat saws and grinder, plenty of knives, tape and wrapping paper all in one place makes it very convenient. Especially nice for me is that my kitchen stays clean because no part of the process happens inside, not even the washing of knives, lugs, trays etc.
The lungs in this hog were a beautiful pink color, proof that she lived in fresh air, a non-confinement hog, Niman Ranch style! She was born, raised and died on the same farm. In fact if she had been a good mother, she would still be around today.
There is nothing like growing and consuming your own meat. You can only imagine the very distinct and tasty difference if you have never done so. Now the next project is to butcher a Jersey steer, but I have a feeling we may have that done at the butcher, at least if this heat keeps up. We also plan on butchering a bunch of turkeys which I will also try to post here eventually.