Saturday, September 11, 2010

Pig Killing Day

Today is official pig killing day and I am apprehensive. Neither killing the pigs, nor making any big cuts is even in my job description for the day. I just hope the pigs go down smoothly. Then we still have yet to work on how we are bleeding the pigs out and moving them to where we are continuing the butchering process. I am the most adamant on wanting to scrape the pigs so we have pig skin, so I'm hoping that everyone else is willing to bear with me. I had originally intended on bringing my two sides of pig home to hang for a couple days before breaking it down into the main cuts, but we've been having some lovely fall weather and the days have been  reaching into the sixties, so my cool hanging area is getting to warm.

Other complications to the day are that my husband had to work all day, and we'd always planned on him watching the kids. Also, my brother has been planning on helping and I've been relying on his experience slaughtering large game to, but he is in the midst of having some serious dirt work done on his land. He thinks that he'll be able to join us later in the day. Fortunately my sister-in-law is coming to my rescue. She is going to watch my kids all afternoon in addition to giving me and all my supplies a ride to where the big event is taking place- as we only have the one vehicle and I'm feeling stranded.

I am armed with a propane water heater, a new metal trash can and cake spatulas, all tools for scalding and scraping the pig. I also have a couple new food grade buckets, a couple boxes of two gallon freezer bags, some fillet knives, some printed blog articles, my notes and a camera. What I couldn't find but didn't buy because I know I have some somewhere are latex gloves and big box of freezer butcher paper. My friends are supplying the gun, water, a place to work - I think sawhorses and pallets or plywood, some sort of saw and more knives. I think we'll manage. I'm sure I'll have some stories for you.

I have for the most part decided which cuts I want as roasts and which to grind. My new toy is a one horse power meat grinder that grinds 9-11 lb. of meat a minute. I am still deciding whether to brine and smoke both hams, or leave one for a fresh leg roast. I am planning on making bacon with the belly, jowells, one top shoulder roast and the loin- if we can find it. I am also planning on using the head and hooves etc. I am undecided as to whether I am going to try and wash and scrape the intestines for sausage, I think I may just buy casings. We've got a friend who wants the blood and intestines for making bloody sausages, so I think I'll let him have mine too, and maybe I can try some of his sausage. I'm not sure if I'm going to make sausage right away, or I may freeze the cuts and then pull them out next weekend to grind.

So far our day is off to a good start. I pulled blueberry coffee cake out of the freezer last night so all I had to do this morning was heat it up while the kids watched Saturday morning cartoons and I snuck a hot shower. I also made deviled eggs and egg salad yesterday, so we should be set for lunch. I'm waiting for the sun to start warming up the property before we get out to milk goats and feed the animals. It looks like it is going to be a clear sunny September day. I really don't enjoy killing or butchering animals. I know enough from doing our own meat birds the last couple years, that while it does not make for a pleasant day, it does provide a freezer full of quality, local meat and I know exactly where it came from and how it was handled.


Ginger said...

What a valuable experience this day will bring! I appreciate the pros and cons and hope all goes well and that you have everything you need! Happy September!

Anonymous said...

I've made some amazing pulled pork out of the unsmoked ham. Last pig I had one ham smoked and one left alone. Next time I have a pig done I'm going to skip having the hams smoked. I costs a dollar a pound to have it done and I like pulled pork better. Bacon though that's another story, must maximize bacon. Never enough bacon!


Anonymous said...

As a woman I am so excited for you - because I kinda think that if my day added up to "just me" I would have said "I guess this pig gets a reprieve!" Cannot wait to see how your day went!
Good job

Emily said...

Thanks for all the support Ladies. I've got four quarters of pig hanging under my house and it is in the low forties thankfully- as yesterday was really too warm for butchering. The day went pretty well with a few obstacles and complications that we worked through. A good experience overall.

Plain and Joyful Living said...

How empowering! So wonderful to be such a part of your food experience. You are amazing to do this and thank you for sharing and inspiring.

Amy Manning said...

I feel for you. I'm considering pigs but it will be hard to face the inevitable slaughter.