Saturday, March 17, 2012

Gearing up for the slaughter . . .

I'm really busy today, trying to get everything ready for the butchering tomorrow. I'm glad we decided to butcher the hog while it's still on the small side, because Allen and Russell figure I'll be dealing with about 70 pounds of meat - that sounds like a LOT of meat to enter the kitchen all at once!

I'm figuring on freezing some of the meat (note to self: go clean and organize in the freezer, to make more space), and sticking some into the fridge to deal with a bit later (note to self: clean out the fridge, too). I'm hoping to can much of this meat, but I don't think I should try to take on canning the same day as butchering. The meat in the fridge will be canned in the next couple of days, and the meat in the freezer can be successfully thawed and canned after that.

In other climates, people butcher when the weather is cold, so that the meat can sit out (in a safe but cool place, like in a shed). This gives the workers time to process each piece of meat, and is also said to improve the flavor of the meat. Of course, we don't have that option. We'll be cutting up this hog and preserving the meat as quickly as possible, before the meat starts to spoil - and I'll be doing this while Rachel is out of town, which isn't the very best plan, but we'll make do.

Anyway, today is a preparation and research day. If possible, I'd like to try curing ham and bacon, but that might be too much to take on along with our first butchering.

Now I'm off to go watch more videos and read more step-by-step instruction guides (oh yeah, and clean out the fridge and freezer). Wish me luck!

2:30pm Update: The chest freezer is cleaned out! Ben and I did a thorough job organizing and cleaning out the frost build-up. There should be plenty of room for as much of the meat as we wish to put in there!

Now I'm back to the more restful work of researching on the internet, while my hands thaw out. Then I'll tackle the fridge!


Brenda said...

I grew up on a farm and butchering was one of the normal things done if we wanted to eat meat.
We never hung pork to age, only beef; but perhaps that was just in my area I don't know.

You can also grind some of the meat and season it for pork sausage, using the casings that you save from the animal. I won't get into that here lol, or you can just season the ground pork and make sausage patties and freeze them.

I am thinking that you want to can most of it as you don't want to use the power for the freezer???

Smoking meat is also an option; but I don't imagine you are set up this time to do that; but it might be something you want to look into for the future.

My mom used to cure her own hams and bacon but she used a curing salt product that was bought from the store. Mortons brand I think lol. Other than salt I am not sure what was in that mix she used. I do remember that for the cure to get all the way through a ham it had to be in the brine for around a couple of weeks in the frig. so it took up a lot of frig. room. She did freeze some first and then brine it later when she thawed it out.

Are you going to render the fat for lard?? Kind of a yucky process; but that lard makes the best pie crust ever and the most flavourful french fries you can imagine. Not the greatest for your heart; but once in awhile is OK for everything I think.

Good luck.

Missus Wookie said...

Grinding meat does make it smaller and easier to pack into freezers more efficiently. Good luck - hope it went well.