Pig-palooza 2012 – Day 1

It’s taken a while to finally get around to posting about this years piggy adventure, but here goes.  We learned a lot last year, and benefitted from the experience this year.  We also did more research and read a book on home butchering, but all the demonstrations are done with 60 pound pigs.  Our pig was between 300-350 pounds…they don’t really look the same! We also decided to take a 4 day weekend, rather than trying to get everything done in 2 days.

Day 1 – Processing

We couldn’t have had a more perfect day to drive up to the farm.  After a warm week with lots of rain, it was sunny and in the 40′s.  Perfect pig day weather!

The best surprise of the day came from David, Weldon’s dad.  Weldon had sent him out to find something to scald the pigs in (we had tried using a 1/2 barrel last year, but it was way too small) and he came back with an Amish pig scalder.  It was completely awesome.  Last year it took us hours to dehair our pig, because it was not properly scalded.  This year it took about 30 minutes.  Sweet!  I’m especially proud of our Pig Day fashion this year – note my sweet new red rain boots and chic garbage bag apron!

Chris was on hand again to supervise, although we did everything ourselves this year.  I have to thank Ariana again for a marvelous lunch.  She made spagetti with marinara and Emerald Glen italian sausage. She also had salad with homemade dressing.  I contributed the desert this year, bringing Cranberry-Pecan Oatmeal Cookies and Apple Cheese Bars.  Nadine made Blueberry Chess bars that were divine.

After killing, scalding, and dehairing, we cut down the front to carefully remove the internal organs, removed the head, and then sawed down along the spine to halve the pig.  We then cut each side into primals (loin/belly, leg (or ham), and shoulder) and packed everything up into our coolers to take home.

We did 2 pigs this year, one for us and one for another couple and got done before the sun set.  A definite improvement from last year.  After the two hour drive home, we parked the coolers in the kitchen, took much needed showers, and promptly collapsed.  Another thing I learned last year was that we were going to be too tired to cook when we got home.  So I had the slow cooker going, and we came home to Beer Braised Pork and Black Bean Soup.  It was so good!

Coming tomorrow…Day 2 – Butchering

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