How to Butcher a Pig

Detailed directions for butchering pork and handling the meat.

| September/October 1972

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    Figure 3: A short incision is made in the throat.
    MOTHER EARTH NEWS STAFF
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    Figure 1: The weight of different cuts of pork from a 225 pound and 250 pound pig.
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    Figure 1: The weight of different cuts of pork from a 225 pound and 250 pound pig.
    PHOTOS: MOTHER EARTH NEWS STAFF
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    Figure 4: Do not stick the heart.
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    Figure 6: The head should be scalded first.
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    Figure 8: Start with a cut just above the ear.
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    Figure 7: Place the hook in the lower jaw, then scald the hind quarters.
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    Figure 5: A scalding tank makes it easy to prepare the carcass for scraping.
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    Figure 11: Splitting the breast bone.
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    Figure 10: Scoring the belly.
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    Figure 12: Ripping the Belly.
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    Figure 9: Wash and trim head as soon as possible.
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    Figure 14: Use the knife to split the aitch bone.
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    Figure 13: Make a cut between the two hams.
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    Figure 16: Loosening the bung gut.
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    Figure 15: Removing the entrails.
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    Figure 18: Using a saw to split the backbone.
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    Figure 19: Split the carcass while it is still warm.
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    Figure 20: Center splitting gives more useful cuts.
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    Figure 17: Cut through diaphragm to remove heart and lungs.
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    Figure 23: If cutting the carcass for brining, follow the above guidelines.
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    Figure 22: The open carcass is now ready for chilling.
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    Figure 24: Iced brine will cur e the pork.
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    Figure 21: Loosen the leaf fat by pulling upwards.
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Click on the Image Gallery for step-by-step photographs. 

Planning for Butchering

Beginning with the warm carcass of a freshly butchered hog or other meat animal, up to the time you are ready to cook the meat weeks or months later, you are dealing with a valuable and perishable food product.

Strict attention to correct methods, cleanliness in handling the meat, the proper tools and equipment are all very important. Indifferent methods, or lack of proper attention to important details never helps you to turn out high quality, cured meats that keep well.

A shed or building properly equipped for the job, a small pen along side for penning up hogs before they are butchered, a handy water heating arrangement with scalding vat, a heavy table, a convenient means of swinging the carcass with a block and tackle, heavy single trees and gambrel sticks, and a good set of butchering tools make up the initial equipment that will help you do the job easily, quickly, and efficiently.



A good set of butchering tools should consist of a sticking knife, skinning knife, boning knife, butcher knife, steel, cleaver, bell scrapers, meat saw, and meat hooks. Additional instruments that are very useful are a meat pump, thermometer and meat needle, for sewing rolled cuts.

Butchering

Pork is our most nutritious meat and produces a higher percent of edible meat products than any other meat animal.  

WILLIE_5
1/16/2008 1:20:02 PM

CAN YOU GET A BOOK ABOUT THIS OPRERATION


Tim_37
11/29/2007 2:28:01 PM

we're all tims.. guys, if you go to the top of the page you'll see a section to the right headed "Related" with "Image Gallery" as the first link. these are the relative pictures. good luck, tim


ntc4ucom
10/25/2007 1:22:49 PM

I don't know why i can't find the image's of this article. Please let me know what i need to do. sincerely Tim







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