Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Hog Killing

Justin, Wyatt, and I headed over to Woodland, Georgia to the Old South Farm Museum to participate in their annual hog killing class. This is something Justin has been wanting to do for years now and we finally made time to do it. We are both very interested in learning skills that generations past had that are slowly disappearing. I have an aversion to raw meat of any kind (so much so that I use latex gloves if I have to rewrap raw meat bought in bulk) so I elected to just be an observer.
Another thing that is important to us is teaching Wyatt where our food comes from. It is valuable for him to understand the entire process. We have been very open with him in letting him know that we will be killing and eating some of our chickens this summer. One of my friends is a vegetarian because she doesn't feel comfortable eating something she isn't willing to kill herself. I can understand her train of thought, though that has never stopped me from eating a burger or a pork chop.
***These pictures are graphic. Please don't go any further if you don't want to see the process.***

After the hog was killed, participants hoisted it up on a system not unlike one that is used to clean a deer. Dr. Glenn Hill, a meat science expert and a man that has been killing and cleaning hogs for more than 60 years, went through the process step by step. Wyatt even jumped in to help scrape the hair off the hog. He explained how to check the organs for presence of parasites, how to get certain cuts of meat, and the most efficient ways of dealing with problem areas. He said in a processing plant with power tools, he can dress a hog in 12 minutes!
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After the hog was cleaned and cut, we participated in sausage making classes, smoking and curing classes, and even got our own sausage, ham, and cure to take home.
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We ate lunch (barbeque pulled pork of course) from the local church group and spent some time touring the museum. The owner has curated an amazing collection of homestead appliances, farm implements, and other odds and ends. There was the largest collection of barbed wire I have ever seen too!
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Wyatt's favorite part was getting to bottle feed the calf that was there.
The next day, Justin got out the fresh ham and applied the curing agent to start the process of making our own smoked country ham. We have to let this cure sit for 21 days and then let the ham rest for another 20 before it will be transferred into the smokehouse. I can't wait to see how it turns out!
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