|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?