Saturday, 8 February 2014

Porky-licious

Unloading the car
Last Monday our three (not so little any more pigs) made their final journey, we used a fantastic small abattoir who guided us novices through the whole process and treated our animals with respect in their final minutes. On Wednesday the carcasses were delivered to our local butcher, who guided and advised me through the cutting process. On Monday I collected the freezer ready meat all nicely packaged and labelled as well as 3 loins in cure which will become bacon and 3 boned legs of pork in a cure to become hams . the bacon will be ready tomorrow and the family are salivating in anticipation, the ham will be another week or so and will be cooked sliced and frozen (the hocks will be turned into soup). the butcher commented on the fact our meat wasn't as fatty as a lot of rare breed pork he sees, although he also said the eye of the loin was a little smaller than commercial pig meat....I guess you can't win them all.

Bacon in a smoke dry cure
Along withall the joints and chops etc came 120lbs of minced meat  ready for me to turn into sausages , we ended up with almost 150lbs after mixing with spice mix. rusk and water.  Some of this went into sausage skins others were pressed into burgers, and the Italian flavour ones were turned into meatballs and mince mix ready for an easy spag bol! I have made sausages before but never mastered the linking bit very well, but with the help of this video I think you will agree I finally cracked it 

The first run
The total amount of meat we have ended up with is around the 400lb mark we have not weighed the hams yet as they are bigger than my scales go up to (5kg) which we calculate as having cost us around £600 to produce including all feed, transport and butchery costs it also includes the cost of the tagging equipment which was £50 for 30 tags and the applicator gun so we have lots of tags  for future use.  So £1.50 lb for free range pork is a bargain, of course this doesn't account for labour and make up for all those wet early mornings but it tastes pretty good , we have sold around £250 worth already to friends and family so the stuff we eat is getting cheaper by the minute :) We also received 10lbs of back fat, some of which we rendered into lard for domestic use the rest has been mixed with bird seed and dried fruit to make homemade fat balls for the garden birds......nothing wasted here.





We really enjoyed pigkeeping but learned a few lessons along the way, like next time keep them over summer! We wont have any more this year as it will take us a while to work our way through the meat mountain, in fact we plan to keep a few lambs this year if we can get hold of a few orphans in the next few months. Overall we feel our first venture into large scale  meat production went well and are enjoying eating our home produced meat, i wonder how long it will be before someone asks what sort of pork is for tea tonight? 


13 comments:

  1. A brilliant post. Well done on stocking the freezer so well and having sold some already to recoup some of your outlay.

    Those sausages look really professional, it's something we never got round to doing when we had pigs last time, the butcher processed and packaged all our meat for us. This time however it will be all systems go to do everything ourselves and be even more cost effective.

    Nice to see that the wild birds are getting their share too :-)

    (And rather coincidentally my 'prove you're not a robot word' is 'produced' !!)

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  2. Thanks Sue, not sure I would want to deal with a whole carcass as dealing with the sausages took 2 days, we have friends who home kill for personal use and it takes them a week to butcher 2 pigs its a lot of work. my butcher charged £20 per pig and he was fantastic at helping me decide what cuts to choose. sure you will have piggies soon enough

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  3. I can just remember my Grandfather killing the family pig, there were 4 smallholdings and we each killed a pig at different times and shared out the meat, no freezers then. The local butcher took the rest as he had a slaughterhouse, I used to chop all the bits up for head cheese even though I did not like it, all that jelly YEUK.

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    1. We have an italian friend who tells us this is how it was in his village each family would slaughter an animal and share it every month so all the family had meat all year round. they did the same thing for cheesemaking, once/twice a week the whole village would give their milk to one of the other families so each family could have enough milk to make cheese.

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  4. I remember butchering two pigs - all on our own with no experience other than butchering lambs! It was a warm day and the meat was soft and moved when we cut it!.
    However, the taste was fantastic!
    Gill

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    1. Not sure I fancy getting that hands on, but pleased you got on ok

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  5. My goodness, you must be feeling very proud and satisfied! Well done on the sausages my sweet, they look great :)

    Fantastic that's you've been able to recuperate some money on the selling.

    Great job all round. :D

    Lovely blog post too.
    Take it easy x
    Rw

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    1. We are very pleased and sales have been brisk :) we must remember to keep some for us lol. Planning to do more posts here rather than on forums as seems best use of my time so keep popping back

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  6. Well done, i think its absolutely fantastic, you should be so proud of yourself.

    I remember coming home from school one day yo find my mum on the kitchen floor with half a pig on a plastic sheet being cut up into bits and on the stove the big pots full of.. Goodness knows what!.

    Love the rustic fat balls, the birds will love them too.

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    1. I had a similair moment with my kids coming home and finding me hacking away at a side of beef in my PJ's

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  7. Well done, we have just done our first sausages and have bacon curing, day four of six, we are hoping to be able to store it dry and not in the freezer, this is all in anticipation of getting half a Gloucester Old Spot from a friend in the next couple of weeks. If all this curing go well we will then be getting a couple of pigs in the summer. We will butcher ourselves as our local man charges 50 euros, he also charges that for slaughtering but we don't feel that we would take that on.

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  8. I think the biggest problem for us with the butchery was the lack of space and specialist tools , i look forward to seeing how you get on

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  9. Space is not a problem for us, the kitchen is large and the center island is 6' X 4'6'' with a marble top, we will follow John Seymour's instruction for cutting up the carcass,ideas for tools we are working on!
    By the way, have you heard of Bath Chaps? I grew up with these coming from the West of England, I am looking forward to having a go a making them, OH is not keen on brawn so it will be a good use for the head. faggots are another thing I hope to make.

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