Now you have successfully butchered a hog and hopefully have pans of odd shaped and strange looking meat to do something with. First off you need to get some of it packaged like you want for cooking. As for me, I sliced the tenderloin and froze it in layers with plastic wrap between the layers. Once frozen I put it in bags and vacuum seal it, label and back in the freezer. The ribs halves are cut in half and each rib is then cut apart. I like fried ribs or grilled ribs, so these are packaged and vacuum sealed and frozen. Now you can freeze the pork chops and chunks of back bone as you like. I froze the pork chops and trimmed all the meat off the back bone chunks for sausage. And you still have odd looking pieces of meat. So you take each piece and cut any skin and fat into about 1/2 inch cubes to render for lard. The lean and about 30% of any attached fat goes into a container for sausage along with any pieces of meat that are really fatty. Once this task is done its time to grind sausage. I normally use a hand crank old fashioned grinder but Josh was kind enough to loan me his electric grinder which did a great job.
Once all the meat is ground up you season it. I use sage, salt, red and black pepper and a touch of brown sugar. We had about 30 lbs of meat ground, and for this I use almost a quart pickle jar of home ground sage, about 4 tablespoons of cayenne pepper, maybe a quarter cup of salt, less than a quarter cup of black pepper and about 1/3 cup brown sugar. This is ball park. Then I mix in the seasoning by hand. Keep in mind this is more a method than a recipe, so adjust seasonings to your personal taste.
We got out the cast iron lard kettle that my dad used that his family used and prolly family before that along with the paddle used to stir the lard. I got the kettle all washed out inside and added about a pint of lard that I had here to the kettle over a fire to get it started rendering.
This is the kettle and then I added the lard after Rodger got a fire going under it. This process is best done outside to keep the grease out of the house.
You need to start with a low fire, as to not get the kettle too hot and burn the lard or it will taste burned. And it does need to be stirred constantly when you start to keep it from sticking also. We all took turns stirring the lard kettle.
As the cracklings get done and the lard finishes, the cracklings will float to the top of the lard. When it is done we use large hooks to pick the kettle up off the fire and set it on a flat surface that we have put a clean piece of tin down so the kettle don't become uneven and tip over.
Now most likely tomorrow after the lard has cooled, I will bring it home, and remelt it and pour it into hot half gallon canning jars, and put on the lids. As the lard cools the lids will seal and it will keep for a long long time in the pantry or cellar. The cracklings I will bag up and freeze for later use.
I hope this has given someone the courage to try their hand at butchering their own hogs for meat. If I think of something that I have left out later I will go back and add it to this post but will let you know there has been additions in future post.
We had a good day but there were many times I sure missed dad. This is the first time we have butchered a hog here on the farm since dad has been gone. But I have to say, he taught me well, I did remember how to do it from beginning to end. And now hopefully Jason and Josh both know as well. Maybe I have passed on some knowledge as to how hog butchering is done the Appalachian way.
In the next post I will tell you how to make souse like I have done it and share the recipe or method. And the pickled pigs feet as well. But till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.