What to make with a whole pig

Day 2 – Killing and initial butchery

We’d wanted an early start as we had a lot to do that day. Unfortunately we didn’t get going until 11am, which was really late in the day. An earlier start would have been much better all round.

It took much longer than we’d anticipated or remembered for Stefan to start removing parts for us to deal with; by the time he’d removed the testicles and associated glands (vital if you’re slaughtering an uncastrated male, to avoid boar taint), drained the blood for us and skinned him, it was well into the afternoon.

Apart from the offal, the major parts came as

  • Four legs
  • Head
  • Two racks of ribs
  • Two bellies
  • Two loins
  • Two tenderloins
  • Neck
  • Spine, trotters and tail

We got these into the fridge for chilling as soon as each came off. We figured it would be much easier to deal with these when they were cold, and we’d wanted to get the blood pudding made, as this was the only ingredient that we were uncertain about chilling. The recipe called for various offal parts, so we couldn’t start making this until we’d got these and prepared them. The offal was the first bits out, but Stefan wanted some help handling the larger cuts of meat so we didn’t get round to preparing the offal until much later, although Julie did manage to get them washed and refrigerated in good time.

We didn’t get time to make the brawn as planned, as firstly we just ran out of time, and secondly I had forgotten that I’d need to remove the hair from the trotters, tail and ears so we could put them in the pot. I borrowed Stefan’s blowtorch and did this the next day, but it did set us back.

We did get the blood pudding made, which was a messy job but the results were delicious, and made far more sausages than I’d originally thought. Julie got her faggot mix made (not planned until day 3, but it made sense to do them now while we had liver out of the freezer), but ran out of time to make them. She caught up on this the next day.

We got the belly bacon into it’s cure, but messed up on the legs. We hadn’t appreciated how huge these would be, so had to put them into the freezer overnight; they hadn’t frozen by morning, so we managed to get on with them the next day.

We finally got the blood sausages boiled and hung up to dry by 7pm, before collapsing onto the sofa with a glass of cider.

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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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