What to make with a whole pig

Planning recipes

Richard was an approximately 140kg boar. We were unable to find out before-hand how much some of the offal organs and joints might typically weigh, so were unable to precisely prepare recipes until we’d got the bits assembled. This made it a bit tricky deciding what we would be able to make. For future reference, here are the weights we recorded;

  • Liver 3.8kg
  • Spleen 0.5kg
  • Kidneys 0.75kg
  • Heart 0.5kg
  • Lungs 0.5kg
  • Blood 4 or 5 litres, but a lot coagulated before we got to use it. Top tip! Add a little vinegar (about a tablespoonful) as soon as possible to prevent coagulation!
  • Testicles unweighed, but they were huge!
  • Intestines – we’d decided not to deal with these on our first go, so we bought casings for our sausages and gave the intestines to Stefan for his dogs. Next time, we’ll maybe give them a go.

Day 1 – Preparation

For the brine solution for a whole boiled ham we made a strong brine solution;

  • 12lt water
  • 2lt apple juice
  • 4kg salt
  • 1.5kg brown sugar (we’d have used more, but it’s really expensive here!)
  • handful each of bay leaves, black peppercorns, juniper berries and cloves

Boiled everything together and left to cool, ready for the next day. Actually we didn’t need to have boiled the whole lot; the salt would have dissolved anyway overnight, we only needed to dissolve the sugar and infuse the spices, and we could have done this in a lot less than the 12lt of water.

For the bacon cure we mixed up;

  • 1kg salt
  • 0.5kg brown sugar
  • small handfuls each of peppercorns, juniper berries and chopped bay leaves.

Popped this in a tub ready for the next day

For the large ham we just had a shed-load of salt ready. We’d measured Richard’s back legs, and thought we had a container large enough to do the salting in. We were wrong 🙂

We spent the rest of the day clearing down the kitchen, emptying both fridges and switched on the spare freezer. In hindsight, we didn’t do this enough; we should have cleared every single surface and basically emptied the kitchen; it would have made cleaning up a lot easier.


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  7 comments for “What to make with a whole pig

  1. November 22, 2015 at 7:47 am

    Thanks Julie and Joe! That was an interesting read. You’re right about the villagers, but we’re all learning! It will be great to see you both at Christmas.

  2. November 22, 2015 at 8:39 am

    Hi Julie, great post. Did you scrape off the bristles and if so, how did you do it?

    • Joe
      November 22, 2015 at 9:43 am

      Hi! Stefan skinned the pig while it was hanging. He says removing the bristles is a lengthy task, so we didn’t do it this time round. Next time I’ll ask him to remove the bristles. I think he uses a blow-torch, from what I could understand, but I’m not sure how he does that! For the feet and ears I blackened the skin and bristles with the blowtorch then scrubbed them off with a pan scourer.

  3. Alan & mum
    November 22, 2015 at 1:59 pm

    This was very interesting reading, & we are full of admiration for what you have achieved. It will be interesting to learn how long this bounty will last. Did you freeze the things you made in to portion sizes or will you be sawing off the amounts of mince, for example, that you require?

    • Joe
      November 22, 2015 at 2:11 pm

      We’ve got a mixture: mince is frozen into portion sizes, about 1lb bags. Some large joints are left to see what we need them for, hams, bacon, mince or diced meat. Julie and I both agreed that we see meat in a different way now. Because of the effort that has gone into producing what we’ve got, raising the pig, slaughtering and butchering, we feel much more frugal with it. This meat will have to last us a year, so if we run out we’re not buying any more. Suddenly we see the sense of many peasant recipes, which are basically trying to stretch the meat as far as it will go!

  4. November 23, 2015 at 1:43 pm

    Well done Joe and Julie.

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