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Any way to tag bellies?

alblancher

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I tried that with a soldering iron but I was able to wet it and rub the burn mark of with my thumb.  Unless you burn down deep enough to make a divit in the skin I would be afraid that the curing process and smoke will make a brand hard to find.   If you burn the skin out you may as well use a knife and cut marks into the skin as Bill in MN mentioned

Al
 

Dutch

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Al- glad you got the tagging issue figured out.

Back when we used to do custom smoking of hams and bacon, we used metal tags that were stamped with a number. The customer's name was put in the cure book along with the tag number and the green weight of the ham or bacon. The tag was afixed to the meat with a tag hook and sent back to the smoke room. The meat would then be pump injected with the pickling cure and then placed into barrels containing more pickle solution. Our 2 smokehouses were each able to handle 150 lb of bellies and about 250-300 lbs of ham.
 

pops6927

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What kind of smokehouses did you use?  Dad's were gas-fired Koch, about 8' tall, 6' x 6' square.
 

pops6927

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We used to brand all our pork with an electric branding iron with interchangeable letters and numbers.  We kept a chart, similar to your curing book, listing each customer's products brought in, assigning code numbers, then branding each piece into the skin.  In the 70's however, skinning hogs vs. scalding them became much more fashionable and we had to resort to skewering each piece with butcher twine (30 ply) and attaching metal-rimmed cardboard tags that would not disintegrate in the brine, then used indelible ink to write the code on each.  When magic marker Sharpies came into being, we just knew someone invented them just for us, lol!  
 

alblancher

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Did you write directly on the pork skin?  I would imagine not  because of the dampness.

If you use 5 different colored tie wraps (neutral, red, blue, green, yellow) and use up to two tie wraps per belly you have 31 possible combinations.   Way more than I need.  The colored tie wraps where pretty cheap at Home Depot.

Al
 

pops6927

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.... we had to resort to skewering each piece with butcher twine (30 ply) and attaching metal-rimmed cardboard tags that would not disintegrate in the brine, then used indelible ink to write the code on each.  When magic marker Sharpies came into being, we just knew someone invented them just for us, lol!  
No, we wrote the tag codes on the metal-rimmed cardboard squares with Sharpies and used a meat needle to skewer the tag into the pork w/30 ply butcher twine.  A meat needle is:



As you can see, you poke it through the ham or belly or hock or shank, thread butcher string or twine though the eye of the needle and pull it through, then tie a knot in the string after attaching the tag.
 

Bearcarver

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And nobody in the shop stood around doing nothing, as long as Pops had that thing in his hand !  
 

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