We butchered our two pigs on Monday. It was a great day, with multiple friends coming over to help.
One pig weighed in at 350lbs:
And the second one was 332lbs.
My friend Erick brought his tractor so we could raise the carcasses and move them.
Once hung, we skinned and gutted each pig, then cut the carcass in half and brought it into the dining room to be butchered.
Erick is using a sawzall with stainless steel blades. This makes short work of tough cuts through bone!
These pigs had lots of fat, including the beautiful fat used to make leaf lard:
We should be able to render about five gallons or so of lard total from the fat we saved.
The pigs were apparently a Red Wattle/Guinea Hog cross, and had lots and lots of good fat inside. We also got some good pork loin, roasts, Boston butt, pork belly for bacon, and some beautiful pork chops.
The big chest freezer is full now!
Last night I made about 10lbs of loose sausage, which we’re about to eat with breakfast.
We’ve got many pounds of bacon to smoke and cure, plus lots of lard to render. We ground the fat up to make lard, plus ground lots of scrap pieces into ground pork, using our Kitchenaid stand mixer with the meat grinder attachment.
We used freezer bags to package most everything:
As a side note, why are all the vacuum sealers we’ve ever used such temperamental and unreliable machines?
Overall, pigs may have been the easiest and most productive homestead animal we’ve ever raised. They were mostly fed on scraps and expired bread and needed little care to grow to an enormous size.
We raised them from about January 10th to December 11th of this year and they went from little piglets to big old beasts in that time period.
They were so cute, before they got huge.
In 2024 we’ll definitely do it again. I am sold on pigs. It was well-worth trying, and now I see why our ancestors raised them as a survival staple.
A big thanks to Erick, James, Holly, David, Helen, Eva, Collette, Colina and Stella for helping out, along with the help from our own kids who jumped in and got things done.
The butchering took from 8:30AM to about 9:30PM. What a day, and what a yield!
Our final total yield was 449 3/4lbs, from two pigs which weighed a combined weight of 682lbs at slaughter. Read more here.