Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Got Pork?

I don’t know how to alter the template to make a cut and this post may bother some of the more tender hearted animal lovers, so I’m going to warn you now. You may prefer to skip my post today and go here instead. Don’t say I didn’t warn you and don’t complain if you didn’t listen. Thanks.

40 pounds of free pork?

Yes, Please!
Okay, it’s a young wild hog, but still, free! And mighty tasty, the bitty ones usually are.
I have divested him of his unnecessary inner bits and am taking a break while my teenager gives him a rinse. For some reason my dealer hunter friend always manages to catch them right across the diaphragm. *shrug* What we can’t eat the dogs will so none of the meat will go to waste, although this guy is small enough I’m thinking about splitting him and putting him on the grill.
Some tips if you get a wild hare (or hog, whichever) and decide to butcher it at home. I’m by no means an expert, but these are things that helped me, or stuff I wish I’d known from the start.
Boar hogs much over 100 pounds just aren’t worth it in my opinion. They’re not too tough but they stink to high heaven and it permeates everything. Sows don’t stink and I’ve butchered them up to 220 pounds with good results, but if the sow was in heat when she was shot she’ll likely reek like boar. Still very usable, just scrub her down well before you handle her.
Sharpen your knives. Keep sharpening your knives. No, really, sharpen them some more.
Keep paper towel at hand even if you’re working outside. Gloves are a good thing, and if you have an apron that’s a good thing too. I don’t, I have crappy clothes that I save for messy stuff.
The innards are good for your dogs. We have parasites where I live, tape worm is one that springs to mind, so I don’t feed them to my dogs. I suppose if you washed them out or cooked them they’d be fine but I’m not interested in doing that. Other bits are fine though, the liver and heart are already digesting, and my pups think esophagus is a crunchy treat. Also, make sure the pets have anti-tick medication on them.
Unless you are a) familiar with scalding and scraping and b) have a proper set up to do so, skin the hog. It’s much easier. Remember, after the initial nicks to get started, stick the knife in under the skin and cut the skin from the hog side out or your meat will be covered with prickly little cut hairs. They’re almost impossible to completely wash off, and cutting the hair will dull your knives faster. You really want sharp knives. *edited to add* don't pull the skin off the hog. They don't let loose like deer and rabbits do, and their hair goes through most of their skin so it's possible that you'll pull the skin off and leave the hair attached to the tissue. My husband found this out the hard way, and then had fun using pliers to pull the hairs off. Also, cut closer to the meat than to the skin, those same pesky hairs that will pull through can also be cut though, then you'll have prickles all over and pretty much nothing to grab on to to get rid of them.
While tanning the skin sounds like a really cool and fun project, it’s not. Hog skin is loaded with fat so it’s difficult to flesh properly and it’s super thick and becomes difficult to handle as it attains room temperature. You can try it, and you may be able to do it, but I haven’t managed it and I’m no longer interested in trying. Save your fun for deer, rabbit, and other furry critters.
Don’t squeeze the urethra on a boar while you’re cutting around it. Just trust me on this one.
If you have a boar, soak the meat in milk for 24 hours, and then marinate for another 24. I tend to do the milk bath and marinating before I freeze the hog. I have frozen some that I soaked and will have to marinate when it’s thawed, but I haven’t gotten into that batch yet. I just marinate sows.
Hog skulls are interesting, so I do suggest that you bury one in the yard for a few months to let the bugs clean it for you. I prefer to let it go for almost a full year because I’m really not interested in the process, just the clean skull. I also suggest laying a stretch of fencing or something dog proof over top of it, even if you don’t have dogs.
Butchering game is, in a nut shell, gross. The animals aren’t clean like pets are, they’re not even clean like farm animals. They’re covered in ticks, lice, eggs, poo, blood, and yuck. But, you can do this. I dislike the squishy part, but once the insides are out and the outsides are off it’s not much different than dealing with meat from the grocery store.
Back to the grind stone. Seriously, sharpen your knives.


  1. While I do enjoy visiting, I also really enjoyed your hog butchering post.

    You rock!

  2. Nice oinklet. As much as I'd like to try hunting those, I'm glad they haven't really taken hold here in kentucky.

  3. Obviously I need to learn formatting too, because it didn't look like this when I wrote it, it had spaces, and indentations. Sigh.
    We both rock!

    It's been very nice to supplement our diet with wild pork, and it offsets the grocery bill considerably, but you're right to appreciate that they haven't made it to Kentucky yet. They've recently estimated that the hog population in our state has more than doubled in the past 8 years, and the damage they cause is about 45 million per year. Yeah, you don't want those.