Skinning A Pig by Maine Man – processing part 1

Some say you can’t skin a pig you must scrape it. Around here we reserve the C word for special occasions. I have found by letting the carcass cool for a few hours the loose greasy fat hardens and the hide takes on a leathery quality. Today’s 40 degree temps were just perfect for cooling your hog. After skinning the animal down just past the tail I placed a small rock about 1/2 the size a baseball under the hide and wrapped it tightly with a slip loop. I then let off the clutch on the tractor in super low range. One could do the same thing by hanging the animal from a large branch and pulling with a truck. One word of caution this process requires a great deal of pressure and if your knot slips or the branch breaks there’s 200lb of meat coming your way at 100 mph (pigs can fly). I used double slip loops on each hind leg, one set carried the load. The second set carried little to no pressure and acted as a safety lanyard in case the first rope slips or brakes. A high quality 5/16 rope will snug up tighter than 1/2 inch and is far less likely to slip. Guide the intestines out of the way with your knuckles this method will open them like a zipper and more importantly it’ll keep the poop off the bacon.

Happiness comes from a large stack of meat ( you betcha). Here’s a ham, 2 sides of bacon, and the fat back (or back fat which ever your prefer). We have a book called Basic Butchering of Livestock and Game that is written by a DR of Veterinary Medicine, John Mettler. It’s a good reference for all you weekend warriors and backyard butchers like ourselves and has some great recipes as well.

Pork chop!!! ( the other white meat) although it kinda pink isn’t it.

Oh yes, lovely bacon. Here I am slapping on a mixture of salt, brown sugar, and maple syrup. This is our first time making bacon, we’ll let your know how it comes out. It needs to set for 7 days in fridge with this solution and then a few hours of smoking to be complete. As of now we have no brilliant plan for the smoking but, necessity is the mother of invention.

Some fine fat indeed the kidneys are encased in this pure snow white fat which is the consistency of Crisco.

Ok, back to me. It was nice to have Maine Man do a post, don’t you think? Since he does not regularly follow my blog (he says he lives it) I told him about the responses I received on to post or not to post the pictures and he said “they are not gory pictures and it is for educational purposes.” I hate to admit but he is RIGHT. Hope I do not have to say those words again anytime soon. 😉

Back to the fat. Some of was packaged up and put into the freezer for future soap making. I plan to combine it with cow fat. I previously read over at Throwback at Trapper Creek
this method is the way to go because if you used only pig lard it would be to soft or exclusively cow to hard. I look forward to making this recipe!
Some of the lard will be made into salt pork for my dad. The lard in the above kettle can be used like you would use Crisco. I cut it up into chunks, placed it in my cast iron kettle with approx 3/4 cup of water and cooked it in the oven for 2 hours at 225 degrees. I used a strainer and a piece of cheesecloth to strain it when it was done and below is the end result. The water was drained after it hardened. It is said to be healthier than the traditional fats we buy at the grocery store. I found this post this morning but I cannot find the site I used as a reference that night. 🙁
Meat total: 38lbs bacon
10lbs sausage
36lbs boneless chops & roasts
14lbs ground pork
gave away a front shoulder (approx 15 lbs of pork)
= 113 lbs of meat