Pig Butchering

Well life isn’t always glorious on the farm, and animals sometimes get sick.  We sadly had a pig develop seizures due to infection in the brain.  It is not clear why this would happen, but the vet assured us the pig would be perfectly edible.  So we decided to butcher it ourselves and make bacon, sausage, prosciutto, pork chops, and other delicious treats to eat ourselves.

When it became clear we would need to butcher this pig I felt heavy.  We have plenty of other work to do these days, and butchering takes a full day plus.  But we prepared the necessary equipment and 3 of us finished the killing, gutting, skinning, and quartering in reasonable time.

I (Tom) have butchered 5 or 6 hogs now, and this one went by far the smoothest of any.  I suppose experience pays off.  I actually thoroughly enjoy the process, minus the killing part.  My experiences butchering have given me greater understanding as to why certain muscles and cuts of meat work better for roasts, or sausage, or bacon in the case of the pig’s belly.

My butchering experiences have also taught me the joy and value of community work.  We have often turned various days that would otherwise simply be heavy with the work of slaughter into days of celebrating life and work together with friends and family.  Many tasks must be accomplished and people with different levels of comfort with the process can participate, from packaging cuts of meat, to making music, to providing delicious meals.  So thank you to everyone who has helped me butcher in the past, and who might in the future.



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