A practical method to provide wholesome food for the family while making a significant step toward self-sufficiency and away from artificially inflated supermarket costs and hormone-laden meat is to raise and harvest your KuneKune. Additionally, slaughtering your own pigs isn't that difficult. In fact, with a little planning and common sense, you can ensure that the animal doesn't suffer, that the killing process goes without a hitch, and that the entire process—excluding chilling and sectioning—takes no longer than two or three hours.
It should be quite evident that raising and butchering your own pigs can ensure that the pork on your plate is of the highest caliber. Additionally, a lot of do-it-yourself meat processors believe that the act of slaughtering and processing an animal might help to remind a consumer that some of the food they are eating was once a living, breathing animal and wasn't created as a neat, prepackaged cut. Regardless of your opinion on the matter, learning how to butcher a hog that was produced on your homestead is unquestionably a good method to reduce costs and improve your self-reliance.
Assuming you've reared a pig, the porker should be around the correct age (12 to 14 months) and size (175 to 250 pounds) for butchering. (Swine that are overly obese or aged are often not excellent to consume.) The finest candidates for table fare are typically a barrow (a male hog that has been castrated before reaching sexual maturity) or a gilt (a young female)., However uncastrated KuneKune males do not carrie the same tante like most other breeds of pigs.
Before you start the task, it's crucial to put your equipment together. Few situations are more likely to ruin your initial attempts at butchering than scrambling to find a crucial tool in the middle of the task. You will absolutely need a good knife that can be used for sticking and gutting. a polishing stone The removal of hair and scurf with bell scrapers (these specialist, reasonably priced tools are well worth a visit to your agricultural supply store)... a thermometer for hot water a large vessel to scald the pig in... a hacksaw or butcher's saw.
You'll also need a pistol or rifle with a.22 caliber or larger (or, at the absolute least, a strong hammer) to paralyze the animal before sticking it. Additionally, you'll need a sturdy table or platform to support the carcass while being scraped, as well as a tub to gather the animal's viscera after it has been gutted.
At every stage, a sharp knife will be practically indispensable. It should have a blade that is at least six inches long and has a razor-sharp edge. Keep a sharpening stone close by and run the steel occasionally while working to ensure that everything goes as smoothly as possible. This will make the job easier and reduce the risk of cutting yourself.
Having one or two helpers on hand is a good idea, especially if you can convince a skilled slaughterer to lend a hand. But even when assistance is available, a come-along jack or pulley system works best for lifting the large porker around. (Farmers who possess tractors with hydraulic lifts can easily complete this task with that machine.) I believe you'll understand the sense of employing both human and mechanical aid once you learn that you'll be dipping the corpse into a caldron of hot water at least once and hanging it from a high-hanging horizontal brace for washing and freezing.
The majority of farmers choose to kill swine during the frigid days of late October or even early winter. You see, before the meat can be divided into sections and cured or frozen, the finished carcass must hang and chill for at least 24 hours. If the temperature is low enough, you can simply hang the pork until the flesh reaches the ideal internal temperature of 33 to 35 degrees Fahrenheit from the rafters of an unheated barn or shed, or on an open-air frame.
The home processor must turn to the shaved-ice or iced-brine technique of cooling if the day is too warm to enable the hog's natural body heat to dissipate fast
In general, it's better to kill hogs outside, close to both the pig's pen and the area where you intend to scald and gut the animal. The quality of the meat will be significantly lowered if you excite or stress a beast that is ready to be butchered because pigs aren't the simplest animals to handle in any situation. The location you choose should have an ample amount of water on hand and be away from any active agriculture operations.
The pig must be killed and bled, and the setup must include a mechanism to scald the carcass. so that the skin and fat underneath can be scraped off without losing a lot of the hair and scurf (a thin layer of membrane on top of the hide). The water in the kettle normally gets a cup or two of lime added to it. However, you may also use lye or a few handfuls of wood ashes.
(Slaughtering during the colder months has the disadvantage that the tusker's bristle development will be heavier and more challenging to remove.) The scalding tub should be set up so that a fire or other heat source may be made underneath it and placed next to your table or platform. I use dry, seasoned wood, although some people (particularly those who often kill) set up a gas stove or some other similar apparatus underneath the caldron.
Fill your tub about two-thirds full of water, add the lime or whatever, and start heating the mixture about an hour before you intend to stick your pig. Before using the liquid, it must reach a temperature of roughly 145 degrees Fahrenheit. Leaning the container at a 45-degree angle against the scraping table can make lifting the container much easier if you don't have a hoist to move the carcass into and out of the pot.
Additionally, you'll need to set up a structure from which to suspend the pig while it's being butchered. If a handy and reliable tree limb is available, that's fine. If not, create a frame of some kind. Any mechanism that is sturdy enough to lift the hog safely off the ground (the hanging point should be about seven feet high) and close enough to the scraping table to make it easier to transfer the carcass will do.
Pigs that will be killed shouldn't be fed for 24 hours prior to the event, but make sure they have plenty of water available for them.
The animal's digestive tract will be flushed out by the absence of solid food and the abundance of liquid, which will facilitate butchering. Prior to sticking, it's a good idea to keep your chosen pig in a pen by itself for a few days. Such seclusion will soothe the animal and shield it from the natural pig jostling that takes place in pens with multiple pig residents.
Just like a person, a tense, eager hog will "flush". A thorough draining will be challenging if the animal is killed while the tissue next to the skin is still swollen with blood. ... the meat that has been killed is much more likely to be bloody and to deteriorate later. Similar to how injured tissue on a bruised hog would need to be taken out and thrown away.
I prefer to shoot a hog in the head to stun it before sticking (killing) it. Nevertheless, some butchers disagree, asserting that the carcass won't completely bleed. But treating a creature that has been humanely rendered comatose is undoubtedly simpler than dealing with a terrified pig!
I aim for a point approximately an inch above the intersection of the imaginary "X" I've drawn between the pig's eyes and ears using this technique. Always approach the animal quietly and carefully in an effort to avoid frightening it, with the pistol ready for immediate use. Place a pan of food on the ground and wait for the animal to start eating if the hog appears nervous and won't stay still.
The animal will fall to its knees or onto its side after being stunned. The hog should be quickly turned over on its back and held there by firmly gripping the forelegs. Locate the swine's breastbone tip at the throat, and then make a 2- to 4-inch incision starting at that location at the exact middle of the neck.
The knife is then driven down and back to a position roughly 6 inches below the front of the sternum, inserted deeply into this cut at a 45 degree angle (pointing toward the tail), and slightly twisted before being removed (see Figure 3). The blade could pierce the chest cavity and induce internal bleeding and blood clots, thus the thrust shouldn't be made too far back into the body.
Before pulling out the knife, it is twisted to ensure that the major branching vein and artery that are located beneath the tip of the breastbone are severed, ensuring a proper bleed. (Some butchers advise against doing this, claiming it mutilates some of the shoulder meat.)
If you want to prevent the potential of "sour" meat, which is pork that becomes contaminated because the tissues retain too much blood, "bleeding out" the carcass is crucial. Even though an animal will typically drain sufficiently while resting on its side, hanging the carcass upside down is a more reliable technique. In either case, your pig will be prepared for the next phase once the blood flow has decreased to an infrequent drip.
Remove the carcass to the scalding vat and lower it into the hot water head first once the animal has been sufficiently bled. To avoid overscalding, which can cause the bristles to set, gently move the pig's body back and forth while soaking it for 3 to 6 minutes. At intervals, examine the hair's level of looseness by twisting it and attempting to pull out a few small tufts with your fingers. It's preferable to err on the side of caution because to the issues posed by leaving the swine in the pot for an extended period of time (the meat may even start to cook). If required, you can always re-immerse the corpse afterwards.
Then, lift the scorched hog onto the table and start removing the hair and scurf from the body with a bell scraper (simple skinning with a knife would result in a tremendous waste of lard). The best method to do this is to angle the instrument so that it sits on the far edge and then move it toward you along the carcass. Apply enough pressure to pull out the hair, but not too much that you injure the underlying skin or do any harm. Since the head and feet tend to cool the fastest, you should scrape those areas first. You should also make sure that your strokes follow the animal's hair's natural pattern.
Put some hot water on the body once all the bristles have been removed, then place the bell scraper flat against the porker's skin while spinning the instrument. This will remove any leftover scurf and dirt from the hide. (Even a once black hog will be white after all the hair and scurf have been removed.) The dewclaws and toes should then be removed using a strong hook (a bale shifter from the haymow works perfectly). The carcass should next be cleaned with a hard bristle brush and any loose hair should be cut off with a sharp knife.
Simply soak and scrape the front end first, then work on the hindquarters if your scalding tub is too small to fit the entire hog. (This isn't intended to be taken as a hard and fast rule, but I prefer to get the head out of the way early, when the water is most closely matched to the ideal temperature.) If you come across particularly obstinate hair patches but don't want to risk overscaling the carcass, you can cover the problematic areas with a burlap sack and then soak the fabric in hot water before working on the skin once again. (If necessary, really challenging bristle tufts can be singed off using a blowtorch.)
The hog is prepared to be hung and gutted after it has been scalded and scraped. The so-called gambrel tendons on the pig's hind legs should be used to hang it up once it has been killed. To remove the fibrous connective tissue from the surrounding flesh, carefully sever the tendons by cutting through the skin on the backs of the rear limbs between the foot and the hock.
Put a strong wooden dowel, an axe handle, a metal pipe, or the hooks of a short singletree under the gambrel tendons to hang the corpse Then, using your pole (also known as a gambrel), raise the corpus and suspend it from your butchering apparatus using a line attached to the pole. The swine's forelegs and head should not touch the ground, and its back legs should be at least 14 inches apart. After hoisting, a thorough cleaning of the body will guarantee that you have a clean hide to deal with. and the innards will fall into a tub that has been placed beneath the body to catch them.
The goal of gutting a hog is to remove all of the internal organs, the head, and the leaf fat, which is the adipose tissue that has formed up around the pig's kidneys and is used to make lard. The carcass is now only made up of the meat sections. Working gently is advised while eviscerating an animal because mistakes can be expensive (especially if you're a novice). For example, if you burst the viscera, a lot of meat can get contaminated. (If, despite your best attempts, you do pierce the intestines or organs, immediately wash the meat well with cool, clean water.)
Starting by chopping off the head will allow any remaining blood that isn't already trapped in the body cavity to be drained, therefore doing so is a smart option. To do this, first cut across the back of the neck, right above the ears, and at the first joint of the backbone. Then cut around the ears, to the eyes, and on to the point of the jawbone after cutting the gullet and windpipe so that the head can drop forward (this pattern allows the head to come free, while leaving the jowls on the body). The head should be washed, cut, and cooled as soon as you can if you plan to use it.
Then, being careful not to cut through the stomach wall, slice the belly downward along its midline from a place between the hams to the incision made when the pig was stuck. After that, insert your knife deeply into the neck wound, pointing it toward the backbone, and make an upward cut, splitting the breastbone and dividing the first set of ribs.
(You might need a saw or cleaver to split the sternum if you're butchering an animal that is older or heavier than typical for a table-bound hog.) You'll be able to tell whether you successfully stuck the pig at this stage. because a significant flow of blood from the thoracic cavity indicates that you cut the swine too deeply.
Continue by removing the "pizzle" (male animals' penis), if your animal is a male. Cut beneath the member after first slicing through the skin and fatty layers on either side of the organ. Pull the penis back towards where it connects between the hams as you continue chopping, and then cut it off.
Make a little incision in the abdominal wall now, high between the rear legs. With the knife's tip pointing outward, insert the hand holding it inside the animal. and cut downward, applying pressure on the cutting edge's heel. The intestines will be shoved aside by your fist, reducing the chance that the viscera may be punctured. The internal organs will fall forward when the belly wall is sliced through, but they will still be connected to the body through muscle fiber and the digestive system.
The lean meat between the two hams should now be cut through until you reach the "aitch," or pelvic, bone. Put the tip of the knife on the bone's midline, then strike the haft of the blade with the palm of your hand. Although the pelvic girdle should easily split, older hogs may require the use of a saw to separate the halves during butchering.
Once you've done so, grab the bung (anal) gut just below the aitchbone split and pull it upward and toward the tail to loosen it. With your knife, cut all the way around the bung starting at the front, taking cautious not to pierce it. When the end is free, secure it with a piece of cord to stop spills and draw the gut out and downward while carefully trimming where necessary.
After working the bung gut down into the guts, carefully pull the entire mass of the insides out and downward, leaving as much fat along the backbone as you can. Roll the mass forward while maintaining a tight grip on the viscera (leaving the kidneys and leaf fat alone). This will reveal the diaphragm, which separates the chest from the abdominal cavity.
In order to allow the organs and guts to freely fall into the catch tub, the gullet (which runs through the middle of the muscular partition) should be broken. If the tiny intestines are to be used as chitterlings or sausage casings, they should be turned inside out, washed, and scraped with a blunt stick before being soaked for about 12 hours in a mild solution of lime water. (It is best to clean the insides while they are still warm.)
If you decide to keep the pig's liver, just remove it and clip out the gallbladder before cleaning and chilling the organ. (Some people prefer to divide the liver's thin end and hang the thick end up to drain the organ.)
Cut through the diaphragm where the red muscular section joins the white connective tissue to free the hog's heart and lungs from the chest cavity. The critical organs can then be dragged down and cut from the backbone after this incision has exposed them. Split open the heart, remove the main veins and arteries, cleanse it like you would the liver, and instantly refrigerate it.
At this point, the majority of skilled butchers prefer to fracture the backbone. To do this, clean out the interior of the carcass before sawing the spine as nearly in the middle as you can. Cut from the belly side using long, even strokes; only switch to the back side if the cut starts to drift off-center. At the shoulders, it is recommended to leave roughly 15 inches of skin uncut. If the sides happen to be of different weights, doing this will keep the body together, making it simpler to handle, and stop it from falling off the gambrel.
Now take out the kidneys and "punch out" the fat from the blades. To do this, push the end of the adipose tissue mass upward between the leaf lard and the cavity wall while holding it in one hand and fisting the other to separate the fatty mass from the membrane holding it in place.
Finally, using your knife, scrape the fat and skin off the hams' interior, exposing only the thin fibrous membrane that lies beneath. This step, known as "facing," should be carried out at this time rather than when the carcass is being sliced and trimmed after being hung to cool because the material is simpler to remove at this temperature and doing so will hasten the chilling process.
Wash the carcass well one last time after the evisceration is finished. Additionally, make sure to properly dispose of the hog's viscera. It is not a good idea to simply put the insides on a compost pile because they will draw dogs and other predators in addition to insects. Instead, bury the waste deeply enough to prevent animals from digging it up and to contain the stink of decay.
Before cutting it into sections and freezing or curing it, the hog should be refrigerated for at least 24 hours at a temperature of between 33 and 40 degrees Fahrenheit. This is crucial because preserving meat that hasn't had time to gradually achieve the right internal temperature can cause it to soure. Make sure you rig the carcass high enough to be well out of reach of dogs, cats, and other potential scavengers if you're hanging it outside, in a barn, or in a shed rather than a meat locker or cold-storage warehouse.
If insects are still an issue when it comes time to butcher, construct a cage or tent out of some form of screening material around the hanging meat. However, avoid wrapping the pork with gauze or sacking because doing so would significantly impede the loss of body heat.
Place a meat thermometer in the center of one ham to verify whether the carcass has been adequately cooled (the thickest, slowest-to-cool portion of the body). Your hog is ready to be sectioned when the thermometer reads between 33 and 35 degrees Fahrenheit. Never attempt to cure or freeze meat that hasn't cooled to a temperature of at least 40 °F inside.
You can use frozen brine to lower the temperature of the carcass if the weather is too warm for appropriate chilling and transporting the pig to a meat locker or similar facility is not practical. First, cut the swine in half. Then, add around three pounds of table salt and several sizable chunks of ice to a sizable, clean barrel that is roughly one-third full of water. The pork cuts should then be placed in the tub. The pork will be fully chilled by the ice brine, which will be colder than conventional ice water (again, use the thermometer to check).
Instead, you may spread the split carcass over a layer of chipped or shaved ice on a table, cover it with more ice, and serve. Although less effective than using iced brine, this technique will work.
The pig is prepared for sectioning, freezing, or curing once it has been thoroughly chilled. In addition to preparing the obvious pieces, such as chops, hams, roasts, ribs, and bacon, you may use almost every part of the pig if you have the desire. (The adage that "everything but the oink" should be used is only slightly exaggerated.) For example, souse meat, headcheese, and other hearty dishes can be prepared using the head. The vast amounts of fat that your porker has given you can be processed for lard or used to make soap, and jowls can be cured or smoked.
Trimmings are ideal for making your own sausage, either in quantity or links, and many people think pickled pig's feet are a culinary joy. Even the unusual components, such as the ears, tail, and extra skin, can be ground up and added to scrapple.