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Celebrating Our Pigs

April 21st, 2014

Yesterday we celebrated Easter with our neighbors and their family.  Both of our families are a long ways away in Ohio, so we are thankful to be included in their celebration.  This year, we provided the ham, which came from one of our pigs.
pigs
Since we slaughtered them ourselves here on the farm, I was in charge of curing the hams myself, which was a little scary to say the last. I used the Cider Cured Ham recipe from the The River Cottage Meat Book. Our hams all weighed in at 25lbs or higher (our scale only went to 25 lbs and some topped it off).
pig butchery 5
It’s been hanging on our back porch since I took it out of the brine back in January (one went into the freezer for later). We took it out and boiled it on Saturday night for a few hours to reduce the saltiness, then we coated it with brown sugar and cider reduction and hot smoked it for 4 hours with apple and cherry wood. Needless to say, it was AMAZING. If you’re lucky enough to raise and slaughter your own pigs, I highly recommend this recipe, it’s not cheap, but it’s FANTASTIC and so easy.
easter ham (1)
We were super nervous as we took the ham to it’s final destination. I had never cured a ham before, we had never smoked a ham before, we had no idea what it would taste like. The yearly Easter meal isn’t really one you want to mess up with a bad ham. We had faith in the recipe, but were still nervous. That was until Mr Chiots tried the first bite when they were carving it.  Needless to say, it was a hit and I’ll definitely be using this recipe for future hams.  We’re scheduled to pick up piglets in about a month.

Do you celebrate Easter? What foods do you use to celebrate?

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This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.

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