It was a mighty pig.
We decided finally to not actually raise one because we didn’t want to anger our neighbors. They already put up with enough from us. I don’t think there are enough eggs in the world to make them OK with us raising hogs here.
So instead we took a trip out to an organic dairy farm out in Petaluma. You’re probably wondering what an organic dairy has to do with hogs. Well, it turns out a farmer that raises dairy cows for Clover Stornetta has some side projects including a raw goat cheese making operation and raising hogs. Raising hogs on organic grain and milk.
I would have preferred pastured hogs, but beggars can’t be choosers and these hogs were a fantastic price. Let me just say, for the record, that we can’t estimate a hog’s weight to save our lives. I’ll blame not spending enough time around them to actually know. The last hog we bought live we thought was around 100lbs live weight. Turns out we were about 50lbs off. The hog we chose at the organic dairy we though was probably around 250lbs live weight. We totally missed the mark. The hang weight ended up being 287lbs. The ham we are looking to cure and hot smoke for April’s Charcutepalooza challenge weighs 27lbs!
I was kind of bummed that we didn’t get a lot of what we wanted from the hog. The butcher didn’t give us the fatback, leaf lard, feet or jowls. Next time we’ll know to specify exactly what we want prior to the slaughter rather than after, when many of the things we wanted were discarded before we could request them.
Next time I want to be more involved in the butchering so I can make sure we get all the parts we want.
6 thoughts on “We Got Our Pig”
We went through the same thing you guys did. We wanted to raise our own hog, but truthfully our "plates" were already full. We are able to get a hog just about any time we want from a small, local farmer who my DH works with and figure that it's money well spent. We know where our pork comes from, know it wasn't fed junk & paid a really good price for it.
As for the butcher, we also had the same problem the first time around….we didn't get any of the "weird" parts. I suppose many people just don't ask for those pieces. Now we make sure to ask every time. Wonder if the butcher actually just tosses the stuff or if it's sold to someone else? I know I would buy some lard at a discount if it were otherwise going to be thrown out.
@Carolyn Renee, I'd actually be pretty mad if they sold the parts we asked for to someone else. I know there is probably some unscrupulous butchers out there but I'd like to have faith in the one we used since I've heard so many good things. I think next time we're just going to ask for the primal cuts as well. I'd like to be able to break it down into pork chops if we want, but generally we don't eat those and this go-round we got a TON of them.
I am going to remember your tip about asking for the leaf fat. That's something I would forget, and kick myself later!
I go to a friend who has a organic farm and he give me always, that I ask for.
mmmm, pork. Too bad you didn't get fatback but it still is awesome that you are going organic, and local.
You could probably save a few bucks by just having your hog "dressed" or dressed and skinned- and then you would get everything everything: ears, tail, snout, trotters (dogs love these and yes, your butcher probably sent them off somwhere to be smoked for dog treats). Sure, you would have to do a lot more work yorself, but as a person who hates waste, I prefer the do-it-yourself method.
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