Back from the Butcher

Discussion in 'Pigs' started by highlands, Nov 12, 2004.

  1. highlands

    highlands Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    9,852
    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2004
    Location:
    Mountains of Vermont, Zone 3
    We just got home from having one of our pigs butchered. Our younger son, Ben, went with me at his request so it turned into a bit of a field trip. Previously I did all my own butchering for our family but I had sold half of this pig to someone else and they wanted it done professionally which was fine since they picked up the tab.

    It was very interesting watching the butcher work. He knew what he was doing and was very economical in his motions. Experience and the proper tools and work area certainly are helpful. He cut the chops and other cuts with a meat bandsaw which is fast and smooth - something I don't have available. I'm used to doing it all by hand and primarily boning rather than cutting the bone for chops and the like. He went about twice as fast as I do, even with chatting most of the time as he worked.

    He skinned the pig rather than scalding and scraping. He and a partner were fairly quick, about 20 minutes, using a winch to pull the skin off the back and fore after knife skinning the belly and legs. The carcass hung for 24 hours in his locker and then he called me today when he was ready to cut and wrap.

    The pig taped out at 305 lbs live but the hanging weight after slaughter suggests more like 260 lbs of live weight using the 73% rule. We got 191 lbs of meat and trimmings. This is the weight without the hide, head, feet, tail, organs or offal.

    This was our one sow that didn't take. She was raised primarily on pasture and hay in the winter. He said that he was very impressed with the meat and rated it excellent firmness, color and fat quality. She was lean with just under 1" of back fat. Tomorrow we will do the ultimate test - taste.

    Ben now says he's going to be a butcher. Butcher, Baker, Candlestick Maker... :) Tinker, Tailor...

    We will be smoking a ham, bacon and sausage. Next week's project.

    Saturday we'll be doing our pig roast (different pig) at my brother's birthday bash. Wish us well!

    Cheers,

    -Walter
    West Topsham, Vermont
     
  2. jeremyx

    jeremyx Member

    Messages:
    12
    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2004
    Location:
    Cornish, NH
    Very interesting Walter. He,y if your gonna butcher at your place, I'd love to come by and help out to learn the process. I butchered about 300 meat chickens over the summer this year, and I have cut up a deer before but never a pig and I would love to learn how.
     

  3. highlands

    highlands Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    9,852
    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2004
    Location:
    Mountains of Vermont, Zone 3
    Possibility. Most of our pigs will go to the butcher for state inspected slaughter. We sell live on the hoof. Watching the butcher do your first pig is very educational and I highly recommend it. Even if you end up deboning for the most part it is still fascinating to see how he does it. This morning I butchered, scraped and scalded a piglet we will be doing for a pig roast for my brother's birthday tomorrow. Now we're brining.

    Cheers,

    -Walter
    in Vermont