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  #1  
Old 11/28/11, 06:18 PM
 
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Talk me through pig scalding PLEASE!

Our first pig is due for the chop in a week or two and I am doing the butchering myself. Up till now I have skinned any pig I have butchered but this time I want to have the crackling and NOT have to bury the hide. Having done all the work in raising this pig I REALLY dont want to mess it up or waste any part of it.

How do I scald the pig? Temps? Technique? Tips???

Its a PBP x bluebutt and is only about 100 pounds so the size is perfect for me to start on

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Old 11/28/11, 07:05 PM
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I "hog tie" no pun intended. front legs tied and back also. I make sure the water is 2-4 sec hot (how long you can hold your hand in it) I don't know the exact temp. I lower them in the water for 20 secs or so then raise them up "to get some air", an ex Amish showed me. Rub the arm pits and inner hams. Lower them for another 23-30 secs and pull some hair, back and inner hams. If it pulls nicely, especially the inner ham, you're ready to scrape. if not try to get some air to the pits and give it another 10 secs in the water. It's amazing how white even a red pig can be. Have a torch ready to get the stubborn spots. Good luck and enjoy the lard and cracklins. Blaine

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Old 11/29/11, 12:23 AM
 
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The gal I got my Asian Heirloom Hogs (aka meat Potbellies) from, harvests the pigs on the tailgate of her truck and uses a propane canister to take off the hair. I'm thinking about doing the same when the time comes.

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Old 11/29/11, 12:27 AM
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If you don't have the infrastructure for a proper dunk and scald the propane torch works great, just wave the flame over the carcass to singe the hair and then scrape it away as you go.

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Old 11/29/11, 05:47 AM
 
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Originally Posted by olivehill View Post
If you don't have the infrastructure for a proper dunk and scald the propane torch works great, just wave the flame over the carcass to singe the hair and then scrape it away as you go.
Much easier and less time involved. A torch, hose, and good stiff scrub brush are all you need.
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Old 11/29/11, 08:13 AM
 
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Much easier and less time involved. A torch, hose, and good stiff scrub brush are all you need.
Doesn't it leave the hair follicle still in the skin?
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Old 11/29/11, 08:46 AM
 
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Originally Posted by olivehill View Post
If you don't have the infrastructure for a proper dunk and scald the propane torch works great, just wave the flame over the carcass to singe the hair and then scrape it away as you go.
I haven't seem propane torch used this way. Sure would like to see the results. Maybe someone has put it or will put it on utube. I just got done skinning 400 pound hog 2 days ago. Would like to fine another way to remove the hair. Years ago will heated water in a very large cast iron kettle and i used that. I think the Temp. was 120 f. when we put the hog in. Not sure on the temp. Important thing is not to have it to hot or the hair will set than you will be shaving the hair off. :-)

Correction on the temp. It should be 150-160 f. for scalding the hog.
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Last edited by gerold; 11/29/11 at 01:07 PM. Reason: correction.
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Old 11/29/11, 05:23 PM
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I have done pure flaming off of the hair but don't like the results. I've also skinned - it works but you lose the skin which is good eating plus helps keep the meat better. Scald & scrape is preferred. We use 155°F for scalding. Dunk and then bell scrape and repeat as needed. After most of the hair is removed a little knife scrape and then a quick flame polish.

Alternatively, run the temperature a bit hotter and lay towels over the pig. Pour the hot water over the towels, let them sit a minute or so and then scrape the hair off. I've done this with very good success and it saves the having to lift the big carcass, heat up so much water, etc. I'm not sure if I actually saved water or not. For a single pig it seemed easier.

However, I just bought a big automated hog scalder and scraper that runs cooler at only 145°F for the recommended temperature. I have not yet actually used it, just observed one in action. It seems to run fine at that temperature and does an amazing job very fast. About 1.5 to 3 minutes per pig. See:

http://SugarMtnFarm.com/blog/2011/08...nvertible.html

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  #9  
Old 12/01/11, 01:20 PM
 
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Thanks so much guys!

I have a large cast iron cauldron that I will heat the water in and to save me trying to lift the pig in and out I think I will try the towel method.

Keep your fingers crossed, I am going to need HEAPS of luck to pull this one off - lol.

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Old 12/01/11, 01:44 PM
 
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Originally Posted by highlands View Post
However, I just bought a big automated hog scalder and scraper that runs cooler at only 145°F for the recommended temperature.
The first time I saw one was in a Meats lab in college. The first group stunned and stuck, then hoisted their hog into the scalder. We all waited our turn and watched, not knowing what was next. Hog went into the scraper and it was a real horror show seeing it spin and tumble, paddles slapping and hair flying. And then it came out perfectly white with maybe 3 hairs left in one spot. We were really impressed and couldn't wait to see the next one go for a ride.

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Originally Posted by GBov View Post
Thanks so much guys!

I have a large cast iron cauldron that I will heat the water in and to save me trying to lift the pig in and out I think I will try the towel method.

Keep your fingers crossed, I am going to need HEAPS of luck to pull this one off - lol.
The main trouble we have here with scraping is in cold weather. Two reasons, I think. The hog cools fast and maybe that helps set the hair. And the hog grows a winter pelt that is thick and tough. Now we skin in the cold months and scrape in the warm months and that helps. I'm talking cold like 20 degrees or less. When it gets around 0, nobody seems really interested in butchering.

I got a box of Old Baldy hog scald powder once to add to the tank. It might help some. It wasn't too expensive, but I don't think it is necessary.

We got a galvanized horse tank that is long and skinny. Set it on blocks and build a fire under the far end. The near end is almost under the hoist. That makes it easy to slide the hog in and out with a 12V winch hung on a 4X4 overhead. I put an old steel exterior door over the tank to hold in heat during warmup, and it makes a nice work table during the rest of the butchering.
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  #11  
Old 12/01/11, 04:23 PM
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Originally Posted by Ed Norman View Post
The first time I saw one was in a Meats lab in college. The first group stunned and stuck, then hoisted their hog into the scalder. We all waited our turn and watched, not knowing what was next. Hog went into the scraper and it was a real horror show seeing it spin and tumble, paddles slapping and hair flying. And then it came out perfectly white with maybe 3 hairs left in one spot. We were really impressed and couldn't wait to see the next one go for a ride.
Aye, it is amazing to see in action. My son and I went to see one in operation. We didn't have high expectations. We were astounded at how well the machine worked. We watched them put about a hundred hogs of varying sizes through in short order. Talking with the operators and owners convinced us. I sent a $20,000 down payment the next day to the company for one for our slaughter facility. That's half the price. I also need to get a single-phase to three-phase converter for it since we only have single phase power (another $3K to $5K) and the hoist which is about $5K. It will save us so much work that it will quickly pay for itself vs doing it by hand or skinning. We sell a lot of roaster and suckling pigs which require scald & scrape. Doing it by hand is fine onesy-twosy. After that it's too much work and carpel tunnel syndrome.
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  #12  
Old 12/02/11, 03:03 AM
 
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How to scald and scrape a pig

I've written about this a number of times on my blog. You'll find a sample with pictures here.

Heres the short version:

For pigs that are small enough for one person to lift, we dunk them in water. Do this exactly:

Heat the water to 160 degrees
THEN kill the pig
When it's dead, dunk in heated water, agitating it up and down a little. After a couple of minutes, pull the dunked portion out and test to see that the hair comes off easily. If it doesn't, put it back in for a minute or two and retest.

If it comes off easily, QUICKLY wipe the hair off. We use cake spatulas, but you can use bell scrapers or basically anything that is stiff and dull. Some folks use a chefs knife. You want to apply enough pressure that you're wiping the hair off the skin, but not enough to cut it.

You must do the scraping quickly; if you allow the pig to cool, the hairs will set and it will become much harder. If you only dunked half the pig, reverse and dunk the other end and scrape as above.

Use a disposable razor to clean up anything left, and then use a small propane torch to singe off whatever hairs didn't come off. Usually stuff like chin wiskers.

If you do it right, you'll end up with something that looks like this

If the pig is too big to lift, or you don't have a container big enough to dunk the entire pig, use this method:

Boil 20 to 30 gallons of water. you can use galvanized garbage can, a metal bathtub, or whatever. This is more water than you need but it's better to have more than you need than to run out and have the pig cool down.

Boil means to a rolling boil. Put a piece of plywood over the garbage can to contain the heat. Keep this water BOILING through the next steps. Never let it cool down. BOILING.

When the water is boiling, kill the pig. Do not kill the pig before the water is ready. Use a small bucket, or ladle, or saucepan, and pour the boiling water slowly on the pig. You pour it on very slowly. Dribble it. After you've done this, test the hair to see if it comes off easily. If it does, immediately scrape that area. Take your time and get every single hair in that area before moving on. Pour water on the next area, test, scrape, and continue until the entire pig is clean.

With this method the head and feet are the hardest. for the feet, take a bucket, dip it full of boiling water, and dip the feet into it one by one. The head/face just takes a lot of time. Keep at it and you'll get it.

Finish with a disposable razor or sharp knife to shave off anything left, and then singe with a propane tourch.

A suckling pig will take 1 guy about 15-20 minutes to do a good job. A full-sized pig (280lbs) will take 4 guys about 90 minutes to complete the first time they do it. It'll take them 45 minutes the second time.

Heating water:

I use a propane weed burner and a 5 gallon propane tank. We used to use a galvanized garbage can, but ran across some large stainless pots (50 gallon pots) and we use those now. You could use a cast iron tub and a wood fire; that's a pretty traditional way to do it. In fact, one of the big selling points of early bathtubs was their ability to scald hogs. You can use the same weed burner to singe the hairs off at the end.

Other tools
We use a large serving spoon, cake spatulas and a pie spatula to actually scrape the pig because we can buy them cheap and local at the resturant supply store. Some folks use chef knives, and we have, but don't do that because it's too easy for novices to slice up the skin.

Bruce / ebeyfarm.blogspot.com

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  #13  
Old 12/02/11, 03:09 AM
 
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Speaking to hog scalders -- they're great devices, no question there. I pay the guys who scrape pigs for me $10/hour. At that rate, figuring 4 man-hours of labor per pig, I can scrape 1,000 hogs for that, and give two high school kids a job to boot.

Guess we all have different priorities. Times are tough right now.

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Old 12/10/11, 11:46 PM
 
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Had a couple of russian guys scrape a pig using a propane torch, wrote it up on my blog here.


Bruce / ebeyfarm.blogspot.com
http://ebeyfarm.blogspot.com

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Old 12/11/11, 01:39 PM
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Speaking to hog scalders -- they're great devices, no question there. I pay the guys who scrape pigs for me $10/hour. At that rate, figuring 4 man-hours of labor per pig, I can scrape 1,000 hogs for that, and give two high school kids a job to boot.

Guess we all have different priorities. Times are tough right now.
As you say, we have different priorities. I'm not providing an employment service. I don't hire outsiders. Been there. Done that. Have the scars. We do our own work. The scalder will pay for itself very quickly for our farm. I'm glad for my shiny new stainless steel convertible (the scalder).

A way to think about it is the machine is like buying a tractor. The scalder cost about the same. Each does an extremely good job at what it does. One could hire twenty people to come dig with shovels or carry hay bales to get the same job done but then it becomes a management nightmare. I would rather have the tool to do the job myself than manage other people doing the work.

The right tool for the job makes a world of difference.

BTW, careful about overscalding with too hot water.
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Old 12/11/11, 02:30 PM
 
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Happy for you that you can afford to get one. Sure save a lot of time for you.
I have been looking at the ones for sale and plan on going to see one. I will
design one and build it myself. Years ago i seem one operate at a processors
place of business. It was not as nice as the ones they have now.

Best,
Gerold.

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Old 12/11/11, 09:07 PM
 
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With a tractor I use it every day; a scalder -- how many pigs are you expecting to scald? With only internal labor... maybe 50 a month? that'd be 600 a year, which would cost me $24000 a year in labor costs. at that sort of volume you'd break even in 4 or 5 years, assuming reasonable interest rates on borrowed money. Convertibles are fun. Everyone should have one.

if I were doing 5 pigs a month I wouldn't see a return for 40 years.

Bruce / ebeyfarm.blogspot.com

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Old 12/12/11, 11:07 AM
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Happy for you that you can afford to get one. Sure save a lot of time for you.
I have been looking at the ones for sale and plan on going to see one. I will
design one and build it myself. Years ago i seem one operate at a processors
place of business. It was not as nice as the ones they have now.

Best,
Gerold.
I saw one (after it sold) of the exact same model we got going for a pittence at auction but I was too late. It was a university that had a meat processing department and they were cleaning out stuff. Said it was almost unused but sitting for a couple of years so might need work. So there's another place to look.

I also saw a smaller model on eBay sell for $9K that was a steal. It was a repo. Unfortunately it didn't do smaller pigs so it wouldn't do roasters and sucklings which we sell a lot of.

I had been watching the auctions and eBay for several years in the hope of finding a used one. But this summer with us getting so close to our opening date I finally decided to bite the bullet and order a new one since I couldn't find one used. It takes about six months from when one orders to when the unit is delivered. I debated making one but with the other construction we're doing I don't have time.
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Last edited by highlands; 12/12/11 at 11:13 AM.
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Old 12/12/11, 11:10 AM
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With a tractor I use it every day...if I were doing 5 pigs a month I wouldn't see a return for 40 years.
There is the difference. We do a far larger volume. For us the unit will pay for itself in just a few years. Just as importantly it frees us up to do other things.
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Old 12/12/11, 02:10 PM
 
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What sort of volume are you anticipating? Farrow to finish, 6-8 pigs per litter, you need 8 sows to give birth a month, so you'll need a minimum of 48 sows, more if you're going to sell piglets. For an 8 month growout you'll need to have 400 growers in various sizes. you're going to have to triple the size of your operation; more if you're raising replacement breeding stock and so on. And with triple the pigs you're currently carrying, will the dairy waste cover that many, or will you have to start buying feed?

And that's to get to a volume of 50 pigs a month. Your current volume is what... 3 pigs a month? 5?

I've optimized to sell most of our pigs at weaning, but to get to the 2,000 pig volume we did last year was quite a stretch. When you start talking about big volumes there's some savings from economies of scale, but not everything scales linearly.

Bruce / ebeyfarm.blogspot.com

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