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good old fashioned pig butcherin

post #1 of 29
Thread Starter 

So tomorrow evening i am leaving for the farm and we are butchering 6 pigs tomorrow. Most between 250 and 275lbs. This is the first year that i am buying a whole one for my family so it's exciting in a new way i suppose. Anyway what i'm wondering is what cuts should i keep and what should i not bother keeping whole and making my ground pork with.



I'm for sure keeping my bellies intact as i have to try and make bacon this year. And i am keeping the standard cuts ie ribs, tenderloins, chops, shanks, loin chops, perhaps a ham or two to try and smoke. what i don't know is some of the more obscure at least to me cuts. The picnic for example. I really want to make amazing pulled pork and from what ii understand thats the one to use but i'm not super confident in my abilities to properly cut them out. I've been watching some online tutorials on how to butcher a pig and i must say there is a really good one on "legourmettv" the butcher does a really good job of running through it step by step but it is a lot of info to take in all at once.


any way before i right a essay here just thought i would throw this out there and see what you guys have to say about it. I hope to have my proofer/soker operational very soon so that i can start smokin away asap.


one of the things i am most looking forward to is making the bacon, or at least eating it. However it is a little donting as i've never done it before. so some more advice on that would be nice. I've read a few recipes and q/views on here already but am not sure what to try first. How small of a batch is acceptable for trying?


And for curing i have 10 lbs of prague powder. i got it from a local commercial supply store but i didn't get the packaging. I spoke to one of the sales peaple there to find out if it was cure #1 and all he could tell me was that their prague powder does not contain nitrates. he even went to say nitrites all right nitrates not so great. So am i ok to treat this as cure niumber 1??? he also said it was 5 200. as in parts per million. I'm headed there in the morning to buy some lamb casings so i'm gonna ask to look at the bag and try and figure this out.


so there is the begining... i hope to have some good info and perhaps pics soon. can't wait. 

post #2 of 29

Neutral, morning... Take lots of pics please... interesting stuff going on there.... as far as the cuts, save the hocks and shanks to smoke for beans.... tongue, ears, heart, liver, tail all that good stuff.  Pickle the trotters.  I guess the only part not to save is the "SQUEAL"...  It is all good... Dave

post #3 of 29

Yea as Dave said, take a lot of pictures!

post #4 of 29

Here is a cutting chart i made from a pig laid out on the table to show where the cuts come from:




it's pretty much straight cutting except for cutting the hind leg (ham) off, and that you cut parallel to the hock end (you can't see it) but just like where the foreshank hock is cut off perpendicular to the leg at an angle, imagine cutting further up  the shoulder parallel to that line. On the ham, you just clip off the end of the spine (vertebrae) to the belly.




The bone structure of the hog.  From "Ask The Meatman ®" chart.

post #5 of 29
Thread Starter 

wow thanks guys, i printed off the pics and hopefully i can save the videos onto my hard drive and have them handy for the cutting. Maybe i'll practise on the other pigs before i get to mine. ;)        


i Have two deer to process in the fridge so i'll be plenty busy on top of my other engagements. cant wait. should be lots of fun.

post #6 of 29

thanks Pops .

copy to my " Evernote"

post #7 of 29
Thread Starter 

ok so all went basically well at the butchering. We ended up only doing 4 so it was a little easier than anticipated in that respect. I did however draw a little of a blank when i finally had the carcass in front of me. the people i was butchering with have no interest in cutting up the pig with any rhyme or reason mostly because thats the way they were brought up to doi it but they just wanted to make a huge amount of "farmer" sausage. other than the chops it all got deboned and put through the meat grinder, they did seperate the fat to make cracklings and lard.  So here i was wanting to remember the sequence and precision that the helpful butchering videos tought me and nothing....... so i simply started with the "simple stuff. I pulled out the tenderloins and i pulled out the top loin for boneless chops but then i couldn't really remember. the plan to have my lap top there to help me along didn't hapen. So i decided to cut off my bacon. I did it fairly well but i second guessed myself as to the amount of fat needing to stay on and cut some of the outside belly fat off later realising what i had done. oops. I'll try to remember to add a pic of that after. I think it will be ok though. perhaps a little lean but should taste fine. my ribs turned out pretty good i think. unfortunetly my hoks didn't make it ;( i had a little help as i was falling behind the others and it ended up in the grinder. oh well should make for tasty sausages. other than that i made some very nice looking roasts from my hams that i plan on curing and smoking with the bacon. I have a lot of ground pork so i'll be trying a lot of sausage recipes. i have 3 books so i hope i can choose. I know that first on my agenda will be my deer/pork sausage. I use a mixture called crispo and they are fan freakin tastic. everyone i know that tries them refuse to believe that i made them. tho being a little of an insult insinuating that i cant possibly make such a sausage but i'll take it. I am also going to be making marguez sausages. If you havent had them, TRY THEM.  its a french/morocan lamb/pork sausage, i love them.  Of course some cured salami, peproni, garlic etc.



anyway i'll try and have some pics up later. the pics arent great cuz i had a little helper take the photos and she didn't get what i meant by take a lot of pictures. My fault i guess

post #8 of 29
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here i'm pulling off the inside discarded lair of fat from the bacon and ribs. yummy

post #13 of 29
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this monster must have gone through 4 to 500 lbs in no time at all. it works pretty darn good. i have a waring pro at home. it makes me a little funny looking at mine now. so little. ;) like i said they made a lot of ground pork.

post #14 of 29
Thread Starter 





its really nice to be part of their multi generation family tradition. I wish my family could experience this as it gives you a new understanding to where food really comes from.

post #15 of 29

Great post and Pics...Dad put a Knife in my hand when I was 8 and I did the same with my 3 Girls...Now in their late teens and twenties they are faster than Me!...JJ

post #16 of 29
Thread Starter 

yeah its pretty awesome, I got my first pocket knife when i was 6 or 7 and consequenlty i also got my first scar ;) i've had a thing for knives ever since. i love a good blade. I wish i would have taken the time to take pictures myself rather than depend on an 11 year old but whateve its better than nothing.

post #17 of 29

Looks like some good family times!  

My apologies, I didn't address your question on Prague Powder.  It is the same as cure #1 and should be used the same way in the same quantities in any recipes for sausages or brines.

One thing you may want to consider, and might be a difficult thing to get everyone else to agree on, but you should be wearing plastic gloves handling the meat to reduce contaminations from your hands, especially grinding the pork for sausages, etc., and using wrapping paper on all table surfaces for sanitation and easier cleanup, plus sanitizer for all surfaces - http://www.clorox.com/clorox-cleaning-and-laundry-advisor/cleaning-advisor/advice/cutting-boards/ just to be safe.  Looks like you all did a great job and got some great cuts of meat processed!


post #18 of 29

Missed this post.Looks-Great.gif

post #19 of 29
Thread Starter 

So a little update





I got all my meat bagged and tagged in the freezer and was going to start my brine for my bacon and shinkenspec but i haven't been able to get my smoker going yet. i was ready to go and all i needed to do was drill a hole in my oven to put in my chimney and i cooked my hole saw. Then a whole bunch of higher priority things came up and the wife said no smoker work till its all done. :(


oh well such is life. I got a new hole saw and hope to get that done tomorrow assuming all goes well. Christmas season is very busy around here but i will post and update as soon as i get anything worth posting.

post #20 of 29

Thanks for the post neutral, that brought back a lot of memory's for me.

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