In our quick service culture, it seems that harvesting our own meat is becoming a lost art. My great Uncle Lewis describes how when he was a boy growing up over 70 years ago his family slaughtered their own hog every year. There was no grocery store to buy a pack of pork chops. There was no drive through selling sausage biscuits. If you wanted pork, you raised a pig, killed a pig, and figured out a way to store that meat. My great grandparents killed a pig every fall once the temps dropped. Then they hung it in a back room that was not heated. Every day, they cut off a fresh piece of meat and salted the rest to help preserve it. The neighbors across the road hung their hog in a tree in the front yard and every day there was a little less hog hanging in that tree. While these stories were a way of life 70+ years ago, these days it is rare to know someone that harvests their own meat.
We started raising our own hogs about two years ago. When they are ready we drive them over to a butcher who kindly dispatches the hogs, hangs them for 10 days, cures our bacon and hams, and packages the meat. They do a great job. However, we wanted to process a pig on our own. I figured my birthday weekend was the perfect opportunity to process and roast a pig. Hubby agreed. The best way to learn a skill like hog processing is to be shown in person by an expert. So we called in Kim, a co-worker who made the mistake of telling me he has processed many a hog over the years. He was willing to come out and school us on hog roasting.
Dispatching and dressing the hog took a couple of hours one evening a few days before the roast. The night before the roast, we spent at least thirty minutes man handling the carcass in order to brine and season it. Just imagine lifting a 95 pound carcass out of a deep freezer. It wasn’t a pretty sight and once again I’m sure we terrified our neighbors. The day of the roast, Kim and hubby were up around 4:30 am to start the fire and to put the pig on the homemade grill. The pork was ready at 3:30 pm and then it took close to an hour to pull the pork. Could we have gone down the road and bought some cooked, pulled pork for less money? Yes. Could we have saved a lot of time by buying our meat at the store and throwing it into a crock pot? Yes. So, why roast your own pig?
- It was delicious!
- We know the meat was pure and not injected with who knows what.
- We know the pig lived a happy life.
- It is memorable.
- It is great for sharing. We can’t eat a whole hog in one day so we invited a bunch of people we love to enjoy the experience with us.
- Bonus: our first grader received a great science lesson on pig anatomy! We gave her the choice of seeing the pig hanging as it was being gutted and she wanted to see it. She wanted to know the names of the organs and their function. Some think it is gross. We call it science!
Our guests had a great time between capturing memories at our photo booth, listening to live music, chatting with old friends, making new friends, fishing, and playing out in the pasture.
Our first pig roast was a success all around. Thanks to everyone who helped us prepare and to all our friends and family who attended.
We do have other roasting pigs available for purchase. Contact us if you are interested!