Monday, April 18, 2011

Slaughter time

Donald, the farm kill guy for sylvana meats came by on Saturday and took four pigs to market.  Previously I'd dealt with Al Stevens when I sent pigs through Sylvana, but he retired at the first of the year.  Donald came this morning with two helpers, an experienced guy and a new hire, and the three of them put the pigs on the truck. 

 Since we do the farm kill it gives me an opportunity to inspect the carcasses for my husbandry.  I'm looking for any signs of parasites or disease, and for the overall condition of the animal.  How much back fat, size of loin, that sort of thing.  These halves all looked great.  Click on the picture for a bigger version.  Average was 3/4" of back fat; nice lean hogs.   Young and tasty!
 After we'd gotten three animals on the truck, I took one of halves home.  I do this for two reasons; first, I eat off my farm.  What I produce is what I feed my family, and what I sell.  I think that's a fair deal, and it ensures that I'm not going to do something that will hurt either the quality of the animal or the health of the people who eat it, because I'm one of them.   Second, I want to be able to taste the animals I sell, and I enjoy the process.  I cut the half I took home into 4 pieces.  The part that I processed tonight was the ribcage, right behind the front leg, to the mid-back. 
 Here's the primal.  It's about 35lbs.  At the bottom you can see the spine, at the top is the belly. 
 To break this up, these are my preferred tools.  The knife on the left is a skinning knife.  I'll use that to skin the belly off of the ribcage.  The larger knife on the left is for cutting the roasts.  In the center is a steel, that I'll use to keep the other two razor sharp.  Sharp knives mean less work. 
 Here's that primal broken into cuts.  clockwise, from the top left is the boston butt.  That's the large muscle that is just behind the pigs head.  To the right is the loin, which I've removed whole.  I'll cut that into two pieces and roast it tonight for dinner.  On the right is the belly meat, which I'll cure as bacon, and finally on the bottom left is the ribs, with the spine on top. 
 One tool that I didn't show you is my meat saw, but I used that saw to cut the ribs in half.  On the right is your standard spare ribs, on the left is the baby back ribs.  Yummy!  I'll eat these for dinner tomorrow, but I'm going to do the prep tonight. 
On a sheet of aluminum foil I've coated the ribs in a dry rub, consisting of 8 parts brown sugar, 1.5 parts salt, and 1 part spices.  The spices are 5 cloves of coarse chopped garlic, and a good portion of crushed red pepper.  Finally a dusting of onion powder and then liberally coated, wrapped in foil, and put in the refrigerator overnight. 

To cook it I'll add 1/2 cup white wine and bake in a 350 degree oven for 2 hours, until the meat is tender.  I'll then pour the liquid out of the foil packets into a small sauce pan and reduce it to make a BBQ sauce.  I'll brush some of that on the ribs and broil them until they're a little charred and delicious. 

Tomorrow:  Sausage and Bacon


Leontien said...

Looks like a nice piece of meat to me!

Thanks for the info and pics!

Portland Charcuterie Project said...

Well done.. I could make some serious charcuterie with those babies!!

mySavioReigns said...

Thanks for posting this. I usually butcher a wild hog or two per year, and I basically learned from my grandpa and by teaching myself. Nice to see some pics on what the proper cuts are :)

Jen said...

What kind of pigs do you raise?

Bruce King said...

Most of my herd is either purebred berkshire or berkshire/hampshire cross pigs. I have a few pure hampshire sows. At this point I'm on my fourth generation of pigs. As I work with the animals I can choose the animals that I like, and over time get closer to my breeding goals.

I'm pretty happy with my herd right now.