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Author Topic: Hog advice  (Read 4419 times)

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Offline mike_belben

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Hog advice
« on: March 13, 2018, 11:22:40 AM »
Ive been offered quite a few free pigs by a guy i helped out, who is going under the knife and cant physically or financially keep them.   Ive helped halve a few hogs in my teens but never butchered.  We torched and scrubbed, but i have also seen the scalding drum method.  I do have a good ol boy backwoods old timer buddy who has raised hogs his whole life and says just skin em out like a deer.    For free i can afford to experiment right?  Any comments on this?  Is skinning gonna be some sort of crime?


As for butchering.. What are your thoughts?  Dice her up and into freezer, or season in fridge a few days?   With deer, the difference from season on the very same piece of backstrap is unbelievable in terms of softening as the muscle breaks down and gaminess fades away.  Is it the same with pigs?  These are mostly corn fed btw, not sure if it makes a difference.

I also have the option of curing in my homemade kiln, that is also a smokehouse of sorts.  I have debarked hickory, black cherry, white oak, red oak and maple on hand.  Comments?  I have never smoked or cured meat of any sort.  

City kid, first year of country livin.  All advice is welcome but i will preface that by saying its time sensitive, i have no money and cant pen or feed them.   Whatever comes home is getting shot in the trailer.  Junky old chest freezer going into the house today. 
Revelation 3:20

Offline Magicman

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Re: Hog advice
« Reply #1 on: March 13, 2018, 11:52:24 AM »
Personally I would handle it like a deer.  Smoking would be OK but without proper instructions I would be hesitant to actually cure.
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Offline newoodguy78

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Re: Hog advice
« Reply #2 on: March 13, 2018, 12:15:37 PM »
I've butchered quite a few pigs in the past. Skinning them will be fine and is usually what we did. Try to get the hide off as quick as possible, skinning a cold pig is absolutely terrible.
As far as aging we usually got them halved and hanging one day and cut them up and froze them the next. I'm a big fan of aging red meats but don't think it's as necessary with pork.
The exception is the sausage if you make any let that sit for a day or three the flavor always seemed to be more consistent that way. If you do let the sausage "age" just keep an eye on it because the blood will settle to the bottom and leads to off colored and poor smelling product that I never cared for.
The curing part of the smoking process is the tricky part. Morton makes some pretty good inexpensive cures that are readily available. The biggest problem I've had curing meats is having them come out insanely salty. It's definitely a learning curve. Your smoker setup should work fine. Best of luck and go for it.
Just wanted to add-we always did ours in the fall when the weather is cool. Not sure what your weather is but getting the carcasses cooled down could be an issue. Putting them on ice may want to be considered. I much prefer cutting the meat up after its chilled, just seems to be cleaner and easier.

Online starmac

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Re: Hog advice
« Reply #3 on: March 13, 2018, 12:24:56 PM »
We always scalded and scraped them, but there is nothing wrong with skinning them either. Pretty much everybody that hunts wild hogs skins them. Unless you have a slicer and saw bacon and pork chops are going to be tough to do, but we have been known to make whole hog sausage before too, especially if butchering more than one, we would save the hams and make sausage out of the rest on one of them. We liked our sausage though. We would usually mix our spices then fry a little to test it then add some more if needed and test again, until we got it to the point we wanted it.

You can also can it if you do not have enough freezer space.
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Offline elk42

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Re: Hog advice
« Reply #4 on: March 13, 2018, 12:40:52 PM »
Mike I age all my meat wild or domestic some a few days others longer because of rigor mortis, check this out

Ageing and the Impact on Meat Quality - The Pig Site
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Offline mike_belben

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Re: Hog advice
« Reply #5 on: March 13, 2018, 12:55:23 PM »
Thanks for all the quick responses.. Big help as i am trying to get ready now and make the call to go pick two out.  


Spice and seasoning recommendations would help.  Wife has a pretty good stock on hand.  

Buddy says i can use his grinder but i dont have sauage casing or whatever.  Would i be best off grinding into a bowl, a ziplock or a wire strainer to let drain?  

I dont have a slicer.. Heck i dont know a bacon cut from shinola at this moment.  I will cross that bridge at youtube university when i get there.  

I have sawzalled the backbone before but it was a chore.. Any reason not to just slice meat of the skeleton like a deer and leave spine/pelvis together?


I should clarify, i dont have a smoker and didnt mean "cure" by the definition, which i just looked up.  What i have is a plywood shed for a kiln where i can vent the smoke into the chamber.  So there would be meat sitting on a wire rack with a chimney pipe of hot hickory gas blowing past it.  I could also move the rack to the other side for a lower temp, im not sure whats best.  I guess id be smoke aging.. Not smoke curing.  Is there a point to this or a waste of time?  

Pig selection.. Theres male and female, young and old.  What am i looking for?


And finally my biggest worry.. Disease.  How do i know this thing aint sick?  What am i looking to avoid?
Revelation 3:20

Offline mike_belben

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Re: Hog advice
« Reply #6 on: March 13, 2018, 01:15:34 PM »
Mike I age all my meat wild or domestic some a few days others longer because of rigor mortis, check this out

Ageing and the Impact on Meat Quality - The Pig Site
That was a really good link, thank you.  How do you age yours?
I would like to hang these pigs for a few days but have no place to do that other than outside or in the smoke shed.  Temp wise its gonna be 35ish by dark down to 23 tonight. Hi 40 tomorrow 60 next day.  Im not sure if they can be left out in those temps. 
If i hang in the smoke shed obviously the temp will go up, drying out will occur and im concerned about mice/bacteria either way.  Drap in plastic wrap to retain moisture?  Or is that a terrible idea?  I do have a tall left/right refrigerator thats empty but i dont think theres any way i can hang it in there.  Maybe an eyebolt drilled thru the top and hope i dont hit wires?
Revelation 3:20

Offline WV Sawmiller

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Re: Hog advice
« Reply #7 on: March 13, 2018, 01:31:40 PM »
   Another topic I know nothing about. I do wonder why you would scald/scrape the hide if you were not going to use the skin. I know the skin makes good pork rinds but what other benefit is there to leaving the skin on pork?

   I bought some fresh killed/butchered pork in Cameroon in west Africa and they were just butchering with an ax and a machete. The chunk I got had the skin on it it so I gave it to a by-stander who I thought was going to remove the skin. He just threw it on top of a hot BBQ grill to remove the hair and after that all the meat smelled like burned chicken feathers. The next time I bought some I took it home and removed the skin myself.

   I know locals who ate them where I grew up in N. Fla used to also scald and scrape a possum as they wanted the hide left on them to cook. Never got desperate enough to eat one so I don't know what difference it made.
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Re: Hog advice
« Reply #8 on: March 13, 2018, 01:48:05 PM »
We are going back 40 years here, but the biggest reason we scalded and scraped them was because we would make cracklins with the skin and rendered the lard. iirc, we would leave the skin on the hams. I will say this, if you intend to scrape them, you need to have several knives and be good at touching up an edge on them.
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Offline newoodguy78

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Re: Hog advice
« Reply #9 on: March 13, 2018, 02:27:15 PM »
Depending on what you want for cuts would effect how you dismantle the carcass. Pork chops for example you split the back bone then cut perpendicular to the spine at your desired thickness. Below the chop towards the belly is your ribs. The other way to do it is just take out the "backstraps" that is now a boneless pork loin. All the rib meat can go into sausage. The bacon is on the outside of the ribs and runs from the front shoulder back to where the ribs end. That comes off in one slab. 
I'd be hesitant to hang the meat in your kiln to age the heat could present an issue I believe. With what you have for temps I'd be more inclined to hang them in the shade. If you don't split them the chest cavity can easily be filled with ice and it will drain as it melts.
Once I get home I'll try to dig up my sausage recipes.

Offline LeeB

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Re: Hog advice
« Reply #10 on: March 13, 2018, 02:42:27 PM »
I'm for skinning. I never could see all the work involved in scraping one being worth it. Skinning a hog ain't like skinning a deer though. They don't turn loose of their hide easy. As for cure, I would go to your local butcher and buy some cure instead of the Morton stuff. Works better and not near about as much salt. Stuffing sausage will be a huge chore without a stuffer. The grinder you borrow may have one as an attachment. hog casings are best bought from a butcher too. I wouldn't even consider making my own from the intestines. Way too much work. Soak the casings well for a couple hours in water with a little vinegar. rinse at least once. My attempts at smoking bacon have not worked out well, but then I never had a proper smoke house either. One of these days I'll get around to building one.
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Re: Hog advice
« Reply #11 on: March 13, 2018, 02:48:05 PM »
No need to buy casings unless you want to, we rarely used them, but we preferred pan sausage.
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Offline Mooseherder

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Re: Hog advice
« Reply #12 on: March 13, 2018, 02:49:41 PM »
You can buy a Hank of hog casings off the internet.
I don't use casings anymore myself.  I make patties and cook that way.  When I make a batch of sausage I'll roll some into logs for freezing.  You can slice after thawing some later on as you need it.

Our sponsor Kasco Sharptech also has butchering tools if you need.
A good hand saw and sharp boning knife make life easy.
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Offline WV Sawmiller

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Re: Hog advice
« Reply #13 on: March 13, 2018, 02:57:24 PM »
   We make bulk deer sausage and just grind it, season/mix it with the appropriate amount of ground pork, dip it out with an ice cream scoop to get consistent sized balls, put them in vacuum seal bags, flatten them out in the bag to make patties then seal. Do the same thing with burger only we just start with bigger meatballs to flatten into the finished size patty we want.

   Once frozen it is easy to break along the seams into the number of patties we want at the time we cook it.
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Dad always said "You can shear a sheep a bunch of times but you can only skin him once"

Offline mike_belben

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Re: Hog advice
« Reply #14 on: March 13, 2018, 04:10:05 PM »
Thanks for the comments guys.  Another buddy of mine who was interested took a ride over and looked at them, said it was all 400 lb boars with huge nuts and the meat will stink no matter what i do.  So i may just pass altogether, i dunno.  Im not wanting to put much effort into something ill toss for the coyotes after paying to freeze it all year. 
Revelation 3:20

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Re: Hog advice
« Reply #15 on: March 13, 2018, 04:57:59 PM »
Mountain oysters, choice cuts. hmm

Yea if they are old boars, I would pass, but they would be fine if you cut them and could keep them 30 days or so.
Even then if they are 400 pounds, they are well past their prime, there is a reason the buyers dock you for any that are over 210 pounds.
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Offline mike_belben

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Re: Hog advice
« Reply #16 on: March 13, 2018, 08:16:21 PM »
Yeah.  2 of my neighbors wanted in so i brought one over this afternoon, first time really having a look.  Theyre biiiiig mean old boars, swimmin in a knee deep pool of their own stew.  Nothing i want to eat. 
Revelation 3:20

Offline rjwoelk

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Re: Hog advice
« Reply #17 on: March 13, 2018, 08:48:11 PM »
If you like the smell of pig you would not mind the taste and smell of that old boar. It would be yuck. think_not
We butchered casterated males or young females that were bred. Dad always said they were the least likely to taste or smell like pig.
Now a old sow if fed up on oats for a month made really good sausage. digin1 digin1
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Offline coxy

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Re: Hog advice
« Reply #18 on: March 13, 2018, 09:33:17 PM »
mike if there boars just skin them and grind them into sausage anything other than that bear or coyote bait trust me 

Offline coxy

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Re: Hog advice
« Reply #19 on: March 13, 2018, 09:36:38 PM »
if you do do it DO NOT CUT THE pith BAG IF YOU DO CHUCK THE HOLE PIG 


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