Butchering Hogs on The Homestead

All butchering days start pretty much the same way, but not necessarily how you might think.  It starts the day before, where most things start, in the kitchen.  Usually there’s lots of help for hog killing, and help needs to be fed well. So I start with meal planning.  It’s unlikely that people are going to sit down all at once so I go for a meal that can be served hot easily over a period of hours.  This time it’s going to be chip dip with meatballs, homemade bread, and banana bread for killing day.  We’ll have chili, cornbread, and blackberry cobbler for butcher day.  The breads and cobbler can all be made in advance and served room temperature, and the chili and chip dip will keep warm in a slow cooker.  

I always set out disposable bowls, plates, and cups to make clean up easier since I know I’ll be tired in the evening.  I prep all the food I can in advance that way I’m not worrying about cooking when I need to be cutting and wrapping meat.

Next it’s cleaning.  Everything to be used with the meat needs to be cleaned and bleached in advance.  For us this is two plastic folding tables, all my metal mixing bows, and several metal trays.  

Then there’s more cleaning.  I want all my housework to be caught up so there are no distractions and nothing in my way.  I clean the kitchen, including all the clutter items that never quite seem to get cleared off the counter corners.  All the laundry gets washed and put away, and all the dishes done.  Then I clean out the fridge and freezers.

The husband sharpens all the knives, and inspects the meat grinder.  He assembles the kettle up where we’ll be doing the scalding, and then pens up the hogs and constructs a temporary pen to separate the one we’ll be eating.

That’s all for the first day, but it’s the most important part in many ways.  Solid prep-work makes everything easier and more efficient.

Follow us over the next week while we go step by step through the hog butchering process. 

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