Saturday, May 4, 2013

Wannabe Butchers - First Time Butchering a Pig

Well if the neighbors didn't think we were crazy before, I KNOW they do now. We bought a whole pig from a local farmer and decided to do the butchering ourselves to save money. After reading Little House in the Big Woods, my children wanted to try some of the things considered "treats" by Laura and Mary. So we saved weird things like the whole head, tongue, bladder, heart, fat and even the tail. We wanted to waste as little as possible. We even took the carcass back to the farmer for their chickens to peck on.
 Josiah wanted to save the head to make head cheese. He didn't understand that isn't like the cheese you make out of milk. When I looked up the instructions on-line, he changed his mind and instead decided to just eat the jowls and tongue. I made him wash it really good. There was an amazing biology lesson in just the head, let alone the rest of the pig. He located where the spinal cord goes into the brain, and all kinds of other things.
I gave him an old hair brush to scrub the pig's head clean, and after he scrubbed it, he did the pig's hair. Not sure that the pig cared about it's hair-do at this point! We brined the pig's head overnight in a bucket just to be sure we got all the germs killed.

Josiah and Hailey dissected the heart, then fried it up into chunks and ate it. They made samples for everyone, complete with toothpicks. We were just learning about the heart in Farmer Boy so this was another wonderful biology lesson.

In Little House in the Big Woods, one of the special treats Laura remembered was roasting the pig's tail. Michael skinned it and then we bbq'ed it. Josiah proclaimed it delicious!

I know it looks like Josiah is licking the tongue, but he was actually holding his tongue up next to the pig's to compare how big the pig's tongue was to his. Josiah and Michael really liked it bbq'ed, too. They both said it was very tender. 

This was such a great father/son project. They both worked at getting the fat off of everything so we could cook it down in the crockpot and have lard to make our favorite milk soap recipe

Michael is figuring out all the cuts. We didn't have the right equipment, so some of it was hacked up pretty good, but we learned a lot and did much better with the next half of the pig that we cut up for my sis. Michael is cutting the pork belly to make bacon out of. That is my project for next week.

Cutting pork chops. All he had was a skinning knife and a dull saw he's meant for cutting up an elk in the field. We will be on the lookout for some better tools next time. Still, I was impressed at how well Michael did with what he had.

This is Josiah's plate of bbq-ed meat that night. he had tongue, tail and cheek meat. I had some cheek meat, and it was very good, but after cutting up the pig all day, it was just a little too much for my squeamish self. I learned that I need to wait a day or two after butchering to enjoy the meat. It was just a "fresher" than I was prepared for. 

It is nice to have some meat in the freezer and we saved over a $100 by doing it ourselves. We aren't done yet. We have all the smoking to do next and sausage to make. I got about 15 lbs of lard off this pig, which will make our soap for the year. 

I hope I haven't grossed you at too much. I made sure there weren't any bloody pictures, so hopefully it wasn't too much if you are squeamish like me. 

Have a great weekend, everyone!

God Bless,


Lizzy said...

That's awesome! Bobby and I want to start doing things like this ourselves. Except I am definitely squeamish about that kind of stuff! Lol I don't think your crazy for doing it :)

Kim @ Homesteader's Heart said...

It went perfect with my morning coffee. LOL!
I'm with you though. I would have had to wait a day or two in order to eat it and enjoy it more.
Great job though to your family.

Rachel and Family said...

That is disgusting! lol! BUT so fascinating :) I bet it tasted really fresh. Afterwards, did you read them the 3 Little Pigs? ha!ha!ha!

RaD said...

Well, let me just start by saying I'm glad to hear you were a bit squeamish cuz' then I can say ewwww... without you thinkin' I've become to citified. :)

Really though, I remember all that when my dad would bring home a deer or an elk or when he butchered one of our steers. However, we did not get into all the head and tail stuff. Not sure what he did with all that because that was not part of my job, but I'm sure the chickens got some of it.

Grandma Becky said...

What an interesting project. Of course Josiah is a boy and into all the blood and guts stuff. Justin was like that as well. We read Little House on the Prairie as well years ago in our homeschool. We went to PA to visit Phil's family. We'd gone to deli to get some lunch meat (more than once.) There was some head cheese there. The lady asked if we wanted to try some. No, we'd read Little House on the Prairie and knew what was in it, so we didn't want to try it. She laughed.
I ate tail of an iguana in Nicaragua this last week. It was good, tasted a bit like roasted chicken. Yum.
Thanks for sharing and have a great week in the Lord.

Stacie, A Firefighter's Wife said...

You are amazing! I can't believe how much you guys are learning and doing. You are the perfect homeschool mom! I would have never done something like that.

Thanks again for cutting up the pig and saving us lots of money!


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