Monday, August 13, 2012

Scalding pigs

Tried a new technique for scalding pigs that I'd seen in pictures from the 20s and 30s. 
 One of the biggest selling points for bathtubs in the late 1800s and early 1900s was the bathtubs ability to make scalding hogs easier.  The old cast-iron bathtubs were often purchased for the primary use in scalding hogs and the secondary use for washing. 

This particular tub is an iron tub, but it's not very heavy duty.  It'll do for the experiment. 
 The two chains are for use in scraping the pig, or that's what I figured.  They're smooth, welded chains.  The pig is a black pig, about 250lbs.  We bring the pig over with the tractor, and then slide her into the tub. 
 just about a perfect fit. 
The goal temperature is 140, but we start a little warmer because the pig will lower the temperature a little.   I also put a propane torch on the outside of the tub to keep the water warm while we work. 

The first attempt is to grab the ends of the chain and "saw" back and forth -- the goal being to remove the hair and skin.  It really isn't that effective.  it does take the outer layer of skin off, but the hair isn't coming off at all.  We finally have to pick it off by hand and shave it off. 

I'd been wanting to try this technique for a while, and after doing so, I think that the chains were there just to make getting the pig out of the tub easier.  they do work for that. 

the old-time pictures show them building a wood fire underneath the tub to heat the water. 

2 comments:

Bruce King said...

Brett reports that this is the way that they scald pigs in France -- and they use the chains to rotate the pigs, using scrapers and resin to remove the hair.

Jennifer Holdcroft said...

Hi! how did you plug the tub? Going to have a fire underneath it. So I was thinking it has to be heatproof. Any ideals?