After raising my two hogs with specific diets, I really get to see the quality of the meat.
It's beautiful, fresh and been taken care of from start to finish. That being said, I was really hoping I wouldn't screw it up now :)
The female I did first. After they hang for about 4 days in the cool weather (30's- 40's), protected, you need to split the carcass down the middle. I did this with a sawzall. You need to get this as close to directly down the spine as possible, this can be a bit difficult but it makes butchering easier in the long run.
After splitting the carcass, it's ready for the butchering table. I watched several videos of how to butcher a half carcass and finally found a 3 part series that was incredibly helpful. I also liked that the butchering was done by a women, Camas Davis. Moving the carcass and cutting into primals (the three major sections) takes a bit of muscle and watching her accomplish this made me know I could certainly do it.
The breed I raised were Yorkshire's, known for free-ranging, good butchering size, and belly fat/striation (bacon). It all held quite true of this breed.
I did quite a few cuts as Camas does in her videos but I also wanted some other cuts as well. And with 4 halves, I had lots to practice with. I thought this French Culinary instructor was good, quick to the point but nothing really specialized. He is more from a restaurant point of view.
And finally, this Canadian Holistic butcher was pretty good and I followed some of the cuts he did. I do not have a meat band - which takes a bit longer to cut (and energy!) but you can maneuver cutting the bones at more angles.
So, after watching some videos and reading about butchering, quality of meat, and specific cuts I don't think I did too bad :)
I did it. From start to finish and didn't take any of it to the butcher. They don't even do most of these cuts! I feel like this was such a rewarding experience and I am so glad I did. The list is long for those that want to purchase healthy pork from me so next year I am doing 6 pigs and making them a special garden that I can feed them from. Super awesome since I was hauling all the garden goodies from the main large garden in the front yard.
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