CAUTION: This post will include pictures that some may view as graphic. In this post we talk about our first time butchering our own pig. Proceed with that in mind.
Her name was Big Pig Mia or Momma Mia, and she loved Marshmallows!!
She was a pretty good pig. Never got out of her pen, although she did root……. A LOT!! She wasn’t too noisy. Her smell was, and still is, strong. But overall she was a great pig. We got her about halfway through her life. Her previous owner didn’t want to keep her anymore and we jumped at the chance to get her.
When we butchered her, she weighed about 425-450 lbs. And as we were cutting up the meat, we were informed that she was definitely not going hungry. haha We have known for a while we wanted to raise our own animals and butcher them as well. And thanks to some family, we were able to do just that. Below are some pictures and descriptions on what is going on in each picture.
**Just a reminder. This post will have pictures of the whole process. Some images may be viewed as graphic. **
The first thing we did was move her out of her regular pen since it was very muddy. It rains all fall here in Tennessee. The quickest way to kill a pig is to shoot the soft spot on their forehead and then stab a knife into their neck and make a slice motion once it is deep in their neck. Doing these two things, nearly at the same time, is the most affective and humane way to kill a pig. All animals are different. So before you start to butcher, look up the best ways to do it so you do not harm your animal more than you have to.
Shoot in spot A. Stab in the neck below the ear. You shoot spot A to make the pig brain dead, so they do not suffer. Then, you stab in the neck so that as the nervous system jerks and shuts down the pig will bleed itself. After that we loaded her onto our trailer to transport her to some family’s house to process her. Out of Big Pig Mia we kept some pork loins(tenderized), LOTS of sausage, ribs, and enough fat to process 3 more deer into sausage as well. We know that we could have gotten other cuts of meat out of her, but that was not our aim for this pig. We wanted bacon at first, but since we do not have a way to cure it, such as a smoke house, we did not cut any bacon this time.
Once we arrived at our destination, we hoisted her up and washed her clean with a pressure washer.
After she was clean, we began the process of skinning her.
When skinning, you slowly work your way down the pig just removing the thin skin layer. Some people keep pig skin and use it for many things. In the future we may, but this time we did not.
Once we got to her neck, we could see the place where we had stabbed her. That was really the only place on the pig with any blood.
Next we sliced a line down her belly to gut her. Unfortunately the large intestines got nicked just a little. To prevent it from spreading we just used twine we had close by to tie off the cut so we could proceed.
After gutting her , we cut the head off at the neck. That consisted of using an axe to sever the spine, and then twisting the head off.
Someone else in our family wanted to keep the head and feet to make souse meat.
It was at this point we stared cutting meat off and carrying it to our butcher tables to later be cut up more. As I said above, she was a large pig and we wanted to cut the meat down and get her to the table pretty quick. And since we only wanted a few different cuts of meat, we didn’t have to be super precise.
First went the shoulders.
After the shoulders came the tenderloins. This was a cut we wanted to keep.
Next were the ribs.
After that we just slowly chipped away at the all of the fat and meat.
Next is a few pictures the meat cut up on our butcher tables.
Out of this experience we learned that our next pig will be smaller, and we want to have a smoke house to cure bacon!
We now have a deep freeze full of Sausage and Lots of Pork Loins.
We gave the ribs to the family members that helped us and to the family that gave us the pig. We have also gotten to give lots of our close friends some meat. We love being able to always trade and gift things that are homemade or homegrown with our close friends and family! Overall the whole experience was pretty fun and we learned a whole lot. Although we are probably going to try our hand at a cow this next year 🙂