Monday, August 9, 2010

Question from email: How to scald and scrape a pig

I've got black pigs; does the color come off easily?    How do you scrape a pig and get a good result?
This is a black pig that is in the process of being scraped.  As you can see the black pigment is literally skin deep, and scrapes right off when the pig is scalded. 
The white areas are where Luke and his friend Scott have completed the scrape.  To get a good scrape, bring 20-30 gallons of water to a full boil, and use a ladle or small bucket (as show in this picture) to pour the boiling water on the pig.  Use your fingers to test to see that the skin comes off easily, and use a dull instrument to do the actual scraping.  Here Luke and Scott use cake spatulas, which I've found to work pretty well.  You can see one in Scotts' left hand in the photo above.  I buy them at kitchen supply houses for $5. 

You can see the metal garbage can and propane torch setup that I use to heat the water in the left of the picture above.  it takes about an hour to bring 30 gallons to a boil. 

Scraping a pig: 
 The platform that holds the pig should be right about waist high.  you don't want to have to stoop down to scrape the pig.  Freight pallets make a GREAT scraping platform on top of a couple of cheap sawhorses. 
 Don't use water that is less than boiling, and start the scraping process very soon after the pig is killed. 
 Pour water on a small area, get that area completely done before you move on to the next area. 
Don't dunk the pig -- areas that have heated and cooled will "set" the hair, and it'll be much more difficult to remove.   You will also partially cook the skin, which makes it much softer and you'll end up splitting the skin if you do this.
  Finish the scrape by either shaving or singeing the few hairs that remain. 
  This pig was scraped in about 45 minutes by these two fellows, and this was the first pig that they've ever scraped. 
   ...try to convince as many people as you can to help you scrape.  It's a group activity.


Anonymous said...

Poor pigs. I like to eat pigs but I dont like to kill animals for food. I buy animal meats in the store because killing animal hurt my heart and I cried alot. I love animals and I feel bad for them. That's why I never killed animals. Where I came from, my family killed pigs to eat. I never follow my family's culture. I refused so I rather to buy meats in the stores without scarred in my mind for witness the killing, you know.

Mitch said...

Just came across this post as I'm going to process my first pig tomorrow. Poor bearmon2010. I a more sad eating meat purchased in the stores because of how inconsiderately the animals are raised compared to at my home where they are given a variety of foods to eat and space to roam around. Yes taking an animal's life should be a somber thing, but there is no love, or beauty in the life of a factory raised animal.

Unknown said...

Hey bearmon2010 by your writing I'm beginning to believe that you are 5 years old or maybe 10

Unknown said...

Great Post and Info...helps a lot. I plan to process 2 American Guinea hogs next weekend and this answered the questions I had as to how to process without skinning.