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Checking One Off the List

November 20th, 2013

*Warning* real butchering shots in this post, if you don’t like the sight of meat, read something from the archives.
pig butchery 1
In one of our podcasts, Mr Chiots and I each talked about the five things we have on our “want to do” lists.  His included things like: welding, riding a horse, sailing, etc.  Mine included learning seam butchery, which is one of the reasons we decided to slaughter the pigs ourselves.  Luckily I found someone locally that is skilled in this art and he agreed to come over and mentor us.
pig butchery 2
Neal came Sunday to help us with the slaughter and again yesterday to show us how to butcher the pigs. When he left the pigs were all portioned up. We continued working getting all the roasts, tenderloins and choice cuts into the freezer for safe keeping. The sausage meat and fat were all cut up and set to chilling in big bowls for grinding today. The bacon and hams were hung on the back porch to dry and ready for the salting, brining and smoking.
pig butchery 5
It was a great day, much less difficult than the actual slaughter day, which was emotionally draining. Yesterday was spent getting up close and personal with our food. We also enjoyed building friendships in the process and love that we are building our community all the while.
pig butchery 3
Overall it was a success. I started out the morning with much anxiety but that slowly melted away as we worked. I’ve got my work cut out for me for the next couple days, calculating brine amounts, salting, turning and hopefully producing a delicious variety of bacons, hams, and hocks. We’ll be eating our first pork roast tonight for dinner, we’re really looking forward to it. I am in particular because I don’t really like pork when it’s not cured or heavily seasoned in sausage.
pig butchery
Next year we’re hoping to plan a weekend long pig butchering event. We have a few other friends who are interested in learning these skills and we’d love to make it more of a community event like it was long ago. A time to gather with friends to celebrate good food and relearn heritage skills.

If you aren’t vegetarian, which is your favorite cut of pork?

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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.