What to make with a whole pig

Day 3 – Hams, faggots and a blowtorch

The main thrust of today was to get the legs dealt with, the faggots made and frozen, and the brawn mix cooking. The main meat for the brawn had been in a weak brine mix overnight, with freezer blocks to cool it down, but I still had to de-hair the trotters, ears and tail. These are needed to add gelatine to the brawn for setting.

Firstly, we dealt with the four huge legs. These were much larger than we’d accounted for. Each back leg alone weighed in at 16kg. Just to save time, we got a whole back leg into the brine mix in our biggest barrel, but it was so big that Julie had to make up an additional 40l of brine to get it covered! Next time, we’ll split this down into smaller joints and brine separately. I managed to get the other back leg cut into two, so we froze one and planned to salt the other. Unfortunately, even split in two it was bigger than we’d thought and we didn’t have anything big enough to salt it in. So, we froze it for a later day, when I would have time to build a purpose-made box for salting.

The two front legs we got split down into two shoulders, two picnic hams and two hocks. These all went into the freezer; they will make good sausage meat at a later date, or can be used for slow roasting or boiling.

Julie got her faggots made up and frozen, and decided to get the loins cut up to make room in the fridge, which was bulging. While she did this she removed the back fat for rendering later in the week.

After the legs, I got on with shaving the trotters, ears and tail (yes, I’ve now shaved a pig), and we got the outside cooking pechka lit to get this on a long boil, about four hours. Using a blowtorch to remove the hair took ages. There has to be an easier way, and Stefan has agreed to show me how to do it when he does his own pig in a couple of months.

We finally got the brawn off the cooker to cool at 6:30pm, and tucked into some fresh pork chops for tea.


Article navigation:

  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.

Comments on what we write are always welcome, we love to know what people think, but we'd love to know who you are as well! It makes replying easier!