Life at the end of the road

May 15, 2008

Pig in a day

Filed under: daily doings, How I, listers — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 9:47 pm

After yesterdays slaughter and de bristling, Sally had been hung in the kitchen overnight. It wasn’t ideal but with the heat and flies everywhere else we had no choice. In preparation for this I’d turned the oil stove off the night before to try and cool the place down a bit. As this stove heats our water, today we had no hot water so the first job after feeding was to fire up ‘Twinny’ our 30 year old Lister ST2 back up generator to heat up some water for cleaning etc.

I run this up once a month anyway just to keep everything free, as I have known the valves to stick on these engines if left idle for long periods, usually several years right enough but time does have a habit of passing very quickly up here. So it’s best to keep on top of these things.

‘Pig in a day with Hugh and Ray’

With the kitchen table cleared and cleaned, the hacksaw sterilised ( well the old oil cleaned off at least! ) I fired up my laptop and put on ‘Pig in a day with Hugh and Ray’ Now I was given this pre production copy a few years ago not long after I started with pigs and I have to say I was not that impressed as I never thought I’d be butchering a pig at home and it was a bit light in the pig husbandry department. In fairness it wasn’t intended as a guide to pig keeping and my copy could well be different to the ones on sale. However if you want an easy to follow step by step guide on basic pig butchery then it is totally excellent. It’s in short chapters for each of the different cuts and you can just keep replaying them whilst doing the business.

http://www.rivercottage.net/Category12/DVDs.aspx

The first thing I did was cut off the tail then score down the spine with a sharp knife before cutting right down the middle with a hacksaw. I could see the Dude was dying to help by his enthusiasm at taking pictures and all the questions he kept firing at me ( as if I actually knew what I was doing! ) either that or he was stalling for time and hoping he could help dad instead of going to school ( fat chance )

This was really hard work as the wife and Dude had left and I was left on my own trying to steady the carcass with one hand and saw with the other. The fine tooth blade and spring balance didn’t help either but that proved to be the hardest part over with and most people would get that done at the abattoir anyway. Once I had a half on the table I just followed the instructions on the DVD. I had read and downloaded plenty of info from the internet and this

http://members.tripod.com/~BayGourmet/pig.html link that Stonehead gave proved invaluable yesterday when de bristling but a picture says a thousand words and a video even more and after a couple of hours I had this lot ready for the freezer.

After lunch and with mrs C enthusiastically helping we got the other half done.

This is her separating the loin from the belly and it is much easier than it looks with the help of the DVD. We only did basic cuts and I did nothing with the head (apart from bury it under a walnut tree) which was a crime but yesterday I just couldn’t face it but I think I’d be better prepared (or more hardened) next time and wouldn’t have a problem with it (says he!)

All in all I was quite pleased with myself ( and mrs C ) It did take me most of the day but we had a break for a couple of hours with ‘She over the way’ and spent a bit of time with the live pigs who were enjoying the afternoon sun after the cloudy morning.

And that was about it!

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