Butcher Time - Hogs

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by bigredfeather, Jan 14, 2011.

  1. bigredfeather

    bigredfeather Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 1, 2008
    Yorkshire, Ohio
    I have 2 hogs that I am going to butcher this weekend. I am planning on killing them tonight and processing Sat/Sun. I have helped other butcher several times, but have never done a solo mission. I will have no problems with the actual cutting up, but a little unsure about the killing/skinning. If anybody has any tips or good advise on killing/skinning/gutting, it would be greatly appreciated.
  2. Brunty_Farms

    Brunty_Farms Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 29, 2007
    Oh man...

    This is the only animal that I have yet to kill / process. So I can't help you... I'm extremely curious to it so please if you can take pics.

    I know it's easier to stun the animal first before cutting the throat.... a .22 to the head maybe? I know the cut is different from poultry too. It's more of an up and down cut than a sideways cut.

    This is awesome... can't wait to hear about it. I almost had to do my first one the other day because it got salt poisoning..... odd but it did make it. I was force feeding it water for a day and a half. Seems the water was running out too fast and just the one got it. Long story short, I took it out back and had my knife, gun loaded, and put the pig on the ground to shoot it first. Well the thing started walking around, still falling down but it was walking. Let it go for another day and it was fine. Lucky pig.

    However I do want to process one for myself to see how it is.

    Good luck.
  3. TimG

    TimG Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 23, 2008
    Quote:You're not really going to skin it, are you? The skin and connected fat are amongst the best parts.
  4. bakerjw

    bakerjw Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 14, 2010
    Johnson City, Tn
    FWIW. A lot of hams that I see still have the skin attached.
  5. ourflockof4

    ourflockof4 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 9, 2010
    Northern Ohio
    First off I have not it myself, so take it for what its worth.

    If you don't skin them you need to scald them to loosen the hairs so you can rub them off, kinda like plucking a chicken just a little different time & temps's. People do it both ways, it's just all personal preference. It does take a LARGE pot (like a 55 gal drum) to scald them though.

    I believe Jeff is right about the stun/cut part.

    Also I don't know what you have for a bone/meat saw, but I would recomend a cheap reciperacting saw (a sawzall) They really come in handy for that type of stuff. Buy a cheap one and put a long metal blade in it and use it just to butcher with.
  6. sjh

    sjh Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 23, 2009
    You use electric to stun them then slit throte. Using a gun is to kill the animal. If you use a gun to try and stun it you will be chasing a wounded animal around screaming it head off and it is very hard to catch to put it down. I know that from experiance. Shoot it in the brain. The last one I shot I missed the perfect spot and had to chase it to reshot it. THe only way I can see shooting for a stun is if the animal is in a head lock gate and it will still thrash around. You will still have trouble slitting the throte.
  7. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    It has been a lot of years since I saw Dad kill one. He almost always sent them off to be butchered after killing them after I got older so I can't help with that a lot. He did a few himself when I was real small but I can't remember the details. He would hang them up by the heels to bleed them, gut them, and do the major cuts. I don't remember a scald, but that is possible. They were certainly cleaned and most of the hair removed someway but I don't remember that part. Butchering takes time. The reason he started sending them off for butchering was that he had a regular job after I got into school. He did not have time to do the whole butchering himself, even over a weekend.

    Dad would take a .22 rifle and shoot the hog between the eyes. He never stunned them. He'd get real close so he could not miss, the barrel almost touching the animal. The hog would go down immediately and he would then cut the throat to bleed it out. The guy that did the butchering would be there with his truck and a helper and they would drag the hog onto the truck, haul it away after it had bled out, and a few days later we would go pick up the meat cut up into big pieces and sausage. We would then finish cutting up the meat to wrap it and use the fat to make lard.

    My uncle did tell a story of a neighbor that had a few hogs. The neighbor went out to butcher a hog and shot one. He did not kill it. The hogs ran to the other side of the pen so he went over, shot again and was successful. He butchered that hog but a couple of days later another one of his hogs died of a gunshot to the head. If you have more than one, be sure you can tell which one you are shooting. Dad would hunt squirrel and rabbit with a .22. Knowing what you are doing with a gun is essential.

    I'll not go into preparing the meat for the freezer or the hams for curing. But to prepare some cuts for freezing, we would cut the outside layer of fat off, along with the skin. You obviously can skin it since footballs are called pigskins, but you cannot pull the skin off. The fat is attached too tightly. You have to carefully cut the skin off if you want the skin. We just cut the skin and fat into chunks maybe an inch or an inch and a half on a side and rendered that into lard.

    Rendering into lard is the part I remember best. We had a huge cast iron kettle. We’d have a lot of wood cut and build a fire under that kettle. A few pieces of the fat would go in to start it. We would stir that and as some grease came out, add more of the fat chunks (with skin attached) always keeping it so we could stir it. I don't know how he determined that it was about cooked, but shortly before we took the fire away, he would put in some baking powder and some potatoes. I think both were intended to purify or whiten it somehow, not sure exactly how, but those potatoes were delicious. After it was cooked, we' d put the cracklings in a cloth bag, probably linen but not sure, and had two pieces of wood attached at the end with a hinge, a piece of inner tube I believe, and squeeze the lard out of those cracklings.

    I never liked the cracklings, too greasy for me, but some of my siblings did. I also remember Mom always made liver pudding as her first dish with a butchered hog. I like liver but I hated that liver pudding.

    Thanks for bringing back memories of long ago. Hope you get something out of this that helps.
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2011
    1 person likes this.
  8. Mervin

    Mervin Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 25, 2010
    Central Pennsyltucky
    It's been a few years, I was just a kid then, but my grandfather always shot them b/t the eyes (sort of above). The hog was in a cage/crate at the time. Once it stopped thrashing wildly, he'd cut the throat and let it finish bleeding out. Many times the hog got up and charged around at that point (pretty exciting for a ten-year-old). Once the hog was down (for good), it was hung for a little final bleeding and removal of the entrails. Before this all got started, the kettles (think witch's cauldron) were put on boil. If it were for a hog roast and the skin was to be intact, the boiling water was poured down over while sharp knives were used to "shave" hair off the hide. I know know people that skin them first and others the quarter first, it sort of depends on what cuts of meat you want or what the end product is going to be. If you're making whole-hog sausage, it's probably easier to skin the whole thing. If you're making hams, you may want to leave the skin on the hind quarters at least. Take it for what it is worth, but I'd quarter out the legs and then peel the rest if I weren't roasting or making sausage.

    The key to the procedure, at least for my ten-year-old brain, was the cage/crate. It kept the hog immobilized while the deed was done. You could lean the barrel in and get real close so as not to miss. As I recall, there is something about where in the head you have to shoot it too. I vaguely remember somebody misplacing the shot and it did not penetrate the skull. The hog, as I recall, went bezerk and got out of the crate. Things got real ugly after that. Also, the crate was useful in that it allowed for a good pre-butcher washing. Twenty-five years ago we drove the pig through the car wash (also very exciting for a ten-year-old). I suppose we did do it with a hose and a brush a couple of time too.

    Just my $0.02. Here's a link I found with a somewhat useful description of the process.
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2011
    1 person likes this.
  9. Royd

    Royd Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 31, 2009
    Middleburg, Fl.
    I recently got 3/4 of a wild hog, skinned and on ice...The butchering was up to me....Unless you have a band saw, most of the fancy cuts, which you find, in in the grocery store, aren't possible....For instance, pork chops are made by cutting through the back bone and the back strap, which forms the big piece of meat, on the chop.
    I had to cut the backstrap free of the backbone and ribs and make roasts out of it...Also, you will not be able to end up with those huge slabs of ribs, because they also take a saw to create... I had to split each rib, with a knife and cut it away from the backbone.
  10. bigredfeather

    bigredfeather Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 1, 2008
    Yorkshire, Ohio
    Quote:Yeah, I know they are. However, the goal in raising these hogs was to put as little $ in them as possible. I checked at our local slaughter house, and they charge $40 each to kill and scald. Since that would add considerably to the cost, we decided to go the skin-it-yourself route. I thought about trying to whip up a scalder, but just don't have time to do it. I have rendered lard/cracklings before, and that process is quite time consuming and requires a kettle that I would have to borrow. Next time we do this, I may do the extra work.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by