Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Pig Butchering

 Kevin spent his entire day yesterday doing what he loves to do - fooling with meat.  Accompanied by Mark and Bill, through the auspices of WashColl, and along with one other fellow, he was a part of a serious nose to tail escapade involving pigs from Owen McCoy's small Edesville farm.  

The breed of pig, known ironically as "Guinea Hog", is a small pig, well suited to the backyard farmer, as well as to the diner in search of some fatty pork.

Both pigs were slaughtered at Owen's place - not the part anyone chooses to photograph - and then brought to the restaurant to be first scraped clean of their black bristles. This, according to Kevin, was the most time-consuming aspect of the job.  Thank goodness for deep pot sinks and big stock pots of boiling water.

After the initial kill, they hung the pigs to 'bleed out', and intended to save the blood, which is one of the many useful by-products of pig butchery.  In spite of their best efforts it congealed faster than expected and was not salvaged. 

Here we have Mark dealing with the snout. (Bill is in the background, working on the other hog.)  They plan on making head-cheese with this portion of the animal, which I hope we get to sample.

Kevin said the other difficult part was removing the intestines in a manner that would prevent them from fouling the meat.  This involved some careful cutting and pulling.  You can see the intestines - which are used in sausage making - to the right of the hog in the picture below.  Kevin did not save these, since the job of cleaning them enough for use is not one he wanted to tackle, especially since he has a fine source for already prepped casings.

I was not able to be there yesterday for the project, and once the main details were taken care of, Kevin pretty much did the breaking down of the carcass, hence no more photos.

Today I was able to see the parts that Kevin did keep - for our own personal use - including the feet and some skin. 

That is a nice ham in the center of this tub - small but good looking, eh? - and to the left is one of the pork chops - exceptionally fatty, which we hope proves  to be exceptionally tasty.  We'll get it all wrapped up to take home today, and we'll let you know how it performs on the plate!  The next time, Kevin says, he'll let Haas do the slaughtering and he'll just do the butchering...


  1. Head cheese? Pigs feet? Not on my plate!

    1. More for me, Michael!