My friend Ryan Called me last week and told me he caught a hog and wanted to know if I’d be interested in helping him butcher it. I was so excited! I spent the whole morning of watching videos on how to do this. These videos are amazing and offers great tips. The hog was on ice and already skinned and quartered when he came over so a lot of the hard stuff was already done. But, I still learned a lot and made an enormous mess in the process. These are some pictures of our afternoon of grinding, cutting, and trimming.
Pulling a full rack of ribs from the chest. The dark part is near where the hog was shot which resulted in some bruising.
These are the ribs after trimming and cutting smaller so they’ll fit into vacuum seal bags.
A femur bone that I roasted for stock later.
This is a shoulder roast that we trimmed and cut up into small pieces for sausage. We made a ton of sausage.
Soon to be sausage.
The endless run of sausage. This was before we attached it to the counter with clamps. It is a hand cranking one that really needs to be bolted down. In the end I got out my Kitchenaide grinder too. We had so much meat that it was easier this way.
The hand grinder with the aforementioned clamps.
The I kept the windows open to help keep the kitchen extra cold and we tried to do one-quarter at a time keeping the rest on ice and freezing it when complete to make sure everything stayed at a good temperature. I have to say when we were done it was so nice to just sit by a heater and warm up.
We trimmed up some ribs, hams, loins, and a few chunks of meat for stew or whatever. The rest was ground into sausage.
We ground a lot of meat this day. When you grind meat it is best to freeze it first. The fat and connective tissues will gunk up the grinding plates and it will be terribly difficult to do otherwise. It is also important to save as much fat as you can when trimming to add into the sausage. If your hog is very lean you will want to add in some commercial pork fat. Sausage will taste dry and chalky if you don’t have enough fat in it. We seasoned four different kinds, a maple kind, a spicy kind, a herb garlic, and an Italian.
Our method for stuffing the sausage was not ideal so we stopped after one batch and saved the rest for the next day when Ryan had a better stuffer. It took us forever to load this sausage but this next picture is from his house and took maybe a minute. Much more efficient.
The kitchen had blood, ice, and small pieces of meat all over the counters and floor when we were done. I felt bad because T had just cleaned the whole house the day before. But When we were done I went through with the bleach and cleaned everything. (Not to mention the cleaning stops I made in the middle to sanitize things.)
Overall it was a great experience that has inspired me to want to learn how to butcher from beginning to end. If you ever get the chance I recommend you say yes.
This is the before shot. Did you know wild pigs were so hairy?