Slaughtering 2 pigs this Sat.

Discussion in 'Pigs' started by Unregistered-1427815803, Aug 3, 2004.

  1. I have two pigs that I am planning to slaughter myself this weekend. We are sending the halves to a custom butcher shop to be cut, smoked, wrapped and frozen.
    All is good except one little thing. I am starting to chicken out a bit on the slaughtering. Growing up we raised our own beef, pork and lamb, and slaughtered in our barn. My Dad hired a guy to come do the shooting and the rest while I just assisted (along with my Dad and brothers). So, I have seen this done many times and helped many times, many years ago. I have also field dressed and cut up my own deer. Because of this I think I will be able to do this without problems. But...... just in case my memory is faded or there is something I need to watch for, do, or not do I was hoping someone would give some advice or a quick step by step. To help I will give my step by step plan.
    Shoot with a .22 where a lines from ear to opposite eye meet.
    Slit throat, (easier said then done, not sure how smooth and exact I'll be)
    Start skining around back legs then hook to spreader.
    Suspend upside down from spreader on block and tackle
    Slit down belly and skin part way back.
    Open belly and drop guts into a wagon/pan below pig.
    Clean cavity get heart etc.
    Skin down and remove head
    Saw down spine to split in half
    Load in truck and take to butcher.
    That is what I have for a plan. (I am skinning, not scalding and scrapping). I have a speader, need to gather knives and set up a beam with block and tackle. Any details, advise etc. that anyone could give just to make sure this runs smoothly would be great. My Dad said not to worry I know what I am doing, just a bit hesitant because this is my first time leading. I hope he is right and I want it to go very smoothly. This will be my children's first home slaughter and a friend is coming up to help, as he owns half of one of the pigs. So I want it to go smoothly and correctly. Thank you, Rick
     
  2. Tango

    Tango Well-Known Member

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    Hi Rick,
    Here is a short version of our big pig method. It may be useful or not.
    Use a hollow point .22 where your lines meet.
    Cut beside the breastbone into the heart- we don't slit the throat.
    Hoist onto the awaiting pulley to bleed out.
    At this point we scald and scrape. You can skin now (but I don't know how to tell you about it)
    Afterward draw a line with a knife from breast bone down to penis (and around it to a couple inches above anus) or to just before vagina and around to anus. Cut into fat but not into body cavity. Cut a line around anus, under tail, so that it is free of surrounding tissue. Tie it with string so that the contents remain inside. Cut the "aitch" bone (we use an axe) so that the large intestine can be freed from cavity. At that time you slice though the previously drawn line to expose cavity. Sever membranes between flesh and cavity to remove internal organs from carcass. Then I guess you split down the middle- never done that so I don't know. Hope I've helped a little bit.
     

  3. bearkiller

    bearkiller Well-Known Member

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    Rick,

    The usual recommendation for "sticking" hogs is NOT to slit the throat from ear to ear. Wrong way. What you need to accomplish is to plunge the knife (and most use a big caping knife) parallel with the long axis of the body through the throat headed towards the heart, but not quite reaching it. Then on the "return" stroke twist the knife slightly...emphasis on slightly...to sever the carotid arteries, preferably the common carotid before it splits into two. With some searching you can find a diagram. What to avoid is cutting into the shoulder meat.

    Once severed this releases a huge flood of the red stuff and they quickly bleed out. Then I take off the head at the atlas joint.

    Skinning is harder to do with hogs because of NO connective tissue in the subcutaneous area like other animals. Result is loss of fat because each step of the way is a slice and dice. Not really any harder to skin other than that. You've paid for the fat so you might as well use as much of it as possible. Makes mighty good lard, good to eat and not as bad as the health authorities are always blabbering about. I've commented about this in the past.

    A very good tool that is enormous help is a small "gutting knife" available at China Mart. It uses drywall knife blades in a holder and allows you to slit the belly from the outside with no risk of nicking the gut in the process. I've seen them for $8 or $9. Big help!

    My approach to the gutting is a little different. I prefer to split the breastbone or cut the cartilage just off center first. Get the trachea and esophagus freed up and everything in the chest cavity ready to fall out. THEN cut crotch to chest to remove the innards. This beats having all that stuff hanging out creating problems while you try to find the right place to slice and dice. Dump it all into a big gut bucket...you know, the galvanized metal tubs about 30 inches in diameter. And don't forget kidneys, spleen, heart, liver. Gut too if you want link sausages...don't have to do it all. The more help the easier the whole process is.

    Lastly, relax about it. When I was in university I used to have races with my cohort to see who could do it all faster. Then after graduating I went off into the big wide world to make my mark and never saw a pig for some years. First time back at the task was like I'd never been away. With your experience behind you, you'll do just fine.

    bearkiller
     
  4. bare

    bare Head Muderator

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    I agree, you'll do just fine. Here, I can call the butcher and schedule them to come out and do the deed for me at the cost of 15.00 each. A price that I'll gladly pay if I'm going to have it cut, smoked and wrapped anyway.

    When I do have to skin, I take a box cutter after the critter is hanging, make my top cuts and just run the blade down to the neck and forelegs every four inches or so. It's helpful to have a sizeable pair of vise grips to get the skin started, but then it just peels down in a long strip.
     
  5. cowgirlone

    cowgirlone Well-Known Member

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    I think you're going to do great Rick! Skinning takes time, but it's a lot quicker than scalding.
    If you've cleaned deer before you should have no problem.
    Keep a garden hose handy and several sharp knives on hand.
    You're one step from doing the whole thing yourself! After you see how easy it is, you'll be ready to try curing and smoking a chunk or two. :D

    Best of luck and let us know how it goes!
     
  6. GeorgeK

    GeorgeK Well-Known Member

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    Agree, except I go a step further and use an SKS, ther will be an exit wound, but no fear of riquochet

     
  7. Tango

    Tango Well-Known Member

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    I know just a little about ammo. What is an SKS? Is the richochet a big problem specific to a hollow point? Thanks,
     
  8. use a.22 also be ready to stick the hog as soon as he hits the ground hold the butt of the gun down a little so you dont shoot too low
     
  9. GeorgeK

    GeorgeK Well-Known Member

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    It's basically a cheap chinese knockoff of an AK-47. A good varmit rifle to if you have trees and rolling hills. They are a high powered rifle with a relatively short range (75 yards or so before they lose accuracy) They only hold 5 shots, but any varmit I've had to deal with was either scared off by the first shot, or dead. Ricochet is a problem for thick skulled pigs. Anything can richochet if it hits at an acute angle and doesn't have enough velocity to go through the bone. Hollowpoint doesn't neccessarily mean there's more power, it just means the bullet is more likely to not have an exit wound since the bullet fragments, (leaving bits of lead in the meat, depending on what parts you eat, and where you shot it) hollowpoints are also going to cause a larger area of bruising, of course if thats in the brain, and you dont eat the brain, the point is moot

     
  10. GeorgeK

    GeorgeK Well-Known Member

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    Ummmm are you saying don't take proper aim?

     
  11. UpstateNY

    UpstateNY Active Member

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    Hello,
    Well the deed is done, partially. I only got one pig done today. My butcher closes at noon on Saturdays and we dropped the first one off at 11:00 and are going to wait till next Sat. to do the other.
    I used a regular old cheap .22 bullet. I missed the first time. The pig moved its head as I was squeezing. I had the muzzle right on its head so it was not bad aiming. After that she was not interested in the grain pile anymore and wary of the rifle also. Finally after walking around a bit the second shot worked perfect. (she did not go crazy after the first, just wandered around the barn area sniffing and grunting now and then, just would not stand still again for about 10 minutes.)
    I put her on her back and spit her open, leaving a layer of tissue over the guts and using the saw to cut the breastbone and between the hams. I cut the trachia and all in the front and cut around the anus and vagina and tied that all off. I cut around the diaphram and some connective tissue, but left everything intact and sitting in the cavity. We then lifted her up, sliced the tissue along the belly that I had left and everything came out quickly, smoothly and most important cleanly into a small pull wagon.
    I was relieved and thought the worst was over and we would be done in plenty of time. I was wrong. The skinning took a long time. The skin does not seperate like on deer and I was cutting fat, trying not to cut through skin or hit meat. When all was done it looked horrible. There were strips of fat hanging like steps all up the carcass. We used a long knife to trim these "wings" of fat off and smooth the carcass off some. (we saved these and I am now trying to melt these slowly over a small flame to get lard. Not sure I am doing that right either, but trying) The butcher said it looked ok. He also slaughters for an extra fee and told us how he gets a smoother faster job done with his skinning trough and hoists but.... he said that he had seen many self slaughter ones that were worse and commented that my deer experiences had helped. In short he seemed to be trying to sell his slaughtering service and while my job was not perfect it was pretty good for self slaughtered. I'll take that for being the first pig I have ever done.
    Next week I will be trying again as I still have two in the pen. Oh the hanging weight of the carcass delievered to the butcher was 186 lbs. I had 2 pigs, one for myself and the other was being split by my brother and a friend of mine. We called today' s pig theirs so by the middle of next week they will be eating fresh pork. Another week and a half for me. (just between us, I do not mind the wait, as theirs was the practice pig and I think I will do a better job next week. I think I got a bit too close on one side and may have lost some bacon fat.)
    I just checked on the rendering. It seems to be working. We ladled most of the liquid off, strained through cheescloth and into a large pan. The pan is not in the fridge and the fat had a slight yellow tint, but looked pretty clear. The smell is bothering my wife a bit, who is upstairs, but the kids, who were helping thought it smelled great!!. Fingers crossed that it all works.
    Thanks for all the help and advice. Any questions please ask I will tell what I can.
    Rick
     
  12. GeorgeK

    GeorgeK Well-Known Member

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    It gets easier with practice. How much are you paying the butcher? try that fresh lard for deep frying something, the trick when deep frying in lard is dont go by the color, if its golden brown, you probably over cooked it. Go by the sound. when the food is done frying it's water will be expelled and you will hear a sudden change in the pitch and a slight increase in volume of the frying. take the food out then, otherwise as soon as the water is out, the lard will be sucked in and you will have a greasy mess. Dont forget to age the meat in the fridge for a week prior to freezing, to tenderize it, or is the butcher going to do that?
     
  13. UpstateNY

    UpstateNY Active Member

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    Ok, I mis-typed before, I meant to say "the pan is NOW in the fridge" not "not in the fridge". Anyway, it has been about 5 hours now and the lard has set up into a nice white block. A small taste and it seems great. I do not do any deep frying. I plan on using it to fry eggs etc. in a frying pan and in some baking. I am very happy with how it turned out. My mom told me that they had tried rendering lard once, but the smell was so bad that she never used it and could not eat pork for a couple months. I was patient and not greedy. I uses the lowest flame I could and stopped as soon as the pieces just started to brown. This left the lard very clear, now white, and no strong flavor to it. It is more like lard and less like bacon fat. Tomorrow we will cut into squares, wrap in wax paper then wrap and freeze most and keep some in the fridge to use. I realize I am far from using the whole pig yet. (we did save the heart as we really like heart) Liver: I did not save but now regret this. I do not remember keeping pork liver as a kid. My dad loves venison liver (it is his favorite) but I do not like it much. I always save and give my venison livers to him. Beef liver I do enjoy. Next week I am going to keep the liver and try it. I do not recall eating pork liver so if it turns out next week that I do like it I will be kicking myself for wasting this one. As I think back on growing up I remember using much more from the beefs and not much from the lambs and pigs. We ate beef tongue, heart, liver and I have even had beef kidneys.
    Well overall I think it went alright. I got the pig done and to the butcher without hacking it up too bad, the slaughter went slow and had a few adjustments but never got out of hand or ugly, (the second shot worked like a charm and I was able to get a very good stick), and the lard looks and tastes great. Tomorrow boil the heart, chill then slice for sandwiches, or my wife may cut it stuff it and bake. (A great recipe of hers that I do not know completely, but she cuts the heart open, cleans the inside and ends up with a flat piece of meat. She then grinds/crushes nuts and some other stuff, kind of like a nut paste, puts that on the flat meat and rolls it up and bakes it. Very good, her favorite way to prepare venison hearts).
    The butcher is charging 38 cents a lb. cut, wrap and freeze and 45 cents a lb to cut, smoke, wrap and freeze. He is not making my sausage he will just wrap and freeze scraps and I will make my own sausage. We will mix the pork scraps with venison scraps to make sausage. In the past we have bought pork butts to grind with venison to make sausage. The venison/pork sausage it wonderful. It has enough fat to cook, but is still lean and does not cook away. We make patties and layer with wax paper and freeze. We can then take them right out of the freezer, seperate and throw into the pan.
    Aging: I do not remember aging pork. Our beef would hang at the butchers for a few days to a week I know and I try to let my deer hang for a week if the weather cooperates. I remember slaughtering and butchering pork all in the same day once. (A very long day!!) While we saved some money it was a lot of work and we were not very good butchers. I do my own deer, but they are smaller and I bone them all out so no need for a saw. We went back to leaving it to the butcher to cut hams, saw out pork chops etc. I like to save money, but I am driven more by quality. We raised our own meat, had it cut up by a good butcher and ate meat as good if not better then resturant quality and much better then store bought. Moneywise, raising our own did not save a lot of money, we could have shopped around and bought specials maybe for less, but we could never get the quality and the custom cut to our desires by shopping the store meat dept.
    Well, it is late, it has been a day and I am turning in. Thanks again for the advise and confidence boost.
    Rick
     
  14. cowgirlone

    cowgirlone Well-Known Member

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    Sounds like you did a great job Rick! Just think....the more you do, the easier they will get. :)
    If you run out of freezer space for the lard, you can can it. Aso any pork that is not too greasy can be canned.
    Isn't it a good feeling doing it yourself? And you just can't beat homegrown! :D
     
  15. UpstateNY

    UpstateNY Active Member

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    ok, well I only got one done last week so this Sat. it will be try #2. One change in plans is the skinning. I talked to my Dad earlier this week and was telling how it went. He said "How many strips did you use to skin it?" I asked "strips?" He went on starting with an "oh yea I thought you knew...." and explained that there is no need to skin the whole pig intact. He said the way to do it is to cut strips down the pig and then skin one strip down at a time and then with each strip move around the pig. He also said to start a strip and then once it is down about a foot, cut a vertical slit in the middle of the strip to use as a hand hold. He said about six strips should make it around the pig. WELL!! that does sound much easier and neater then trying to get the whole skin off at once. So this week I am going to try to peel the pig like a banana and not like a deer. I am also buying a couple new skinning knives. The one that I use for deer worked, but is too short. (I am an avid "do not need a big knife, just a sharp knife" person.) I need a knife as long as the width of a strip. With pigs I now see that I need to skin the skin off, not just pull and cut connective tissue. So, with last week's experience and this new way for skinning I am optimist about next week. (I say new way, but according to my Dad that is the way we always did it and he thought I had remembered that, hence the reason he did not mention it 2 weeks ago. lol Ah my aging mind, geez it was only 25 years ago that I was watching this done as a kid, I should remember every detail right, lol) Thanks again for all the help and I will be around. Rick
     
  16. Ed Norman

    Ed Norman Well-Known Member

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    For the past several years I've been skinning lots of critters with a Stanley knife with replaceable blades. I get the hooked blade that is made for cutting carpet to make the opening cuts on furbearers and also to slit the skin on hogs we don't want to scrape. It is also great for cutting the gut wall, it only goes in about a quarter inch and doesn't hit guts. They make two sizes, one is a smaller hook for soft tile or something. It clogs with fat and gristle. The other is a bigger hook for carpet. It works better than any custom made gut hook blade on a knife, because I can flip it over and have a new, sharp guthook in seconds. I cut my strips about 2-3" wide and yank them right off. I don't hang the hog too high, and as soon as I can get my size 13 up to the loop of skin, I step on it and listen to it whistle right off. When done, the hog is kinda patchy looking from the shallow cuts and missing fat, so I run the flat of a knife over it and spackle everything back into place. I still prefer scald and scrape, though.
     
  17. Snuffy Smith

    Snuffy Smith Well-Known Member

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    I have found that an electric knife works wonders during the butchering process. But then I'm kinda getting lazy too. :haha:
     
  18. UpstateNY

    UpstateNY Active Member

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    Ok, I did pig #2 this morning. It went ok. It was warmer and I was not in a good mood. (no reason for it, just a bit off lately). I used the strip method and it worked ok. It went quicker and left more fat on the carcass. I think I did a better job around the bacon also. The carcass hung at 214lbs. So a good pig. I am still a bit off my feed so this is just a short post to update. Thanks again. Rick
     
  19. bare

    bare Head Muderator

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    You must have missed my first post in this thread when I suggested stripping.