Saturday, February 23, 2008

Slaughtering Hogs, page 189 (pioneer skills are not for the squeamish!)

"The prime source of meat for the early family in these mountains was hogs. Part of the reason for this can be seen by a quick look at the recipes. There was almost no part of the animal that could not be used. Each farmer who kept hogs on open range in the mountains had his own identifying brand cut into the ear of each of his animals. Hogs were allowed to fatten themselves on the 'mast' of the forest - acorns, chestnuts, and so on.

Acorn mast made the meat taste bitter and altered the consistency of the fat. For these reasons, hogs to be slaughtered were often rounded up and brought down out of the mountains to the farms where they were fed on corn for anywhere from a few weeks to over a month. This removed any bitterness from the meat and softened the fat properly for rendering into lard.
The hog was killed (either by a sharp blow on the head with a rock or axe head, or by shooting it in the back of the head or between the eyes), and it jugular vein pierced immediately. As one described it, 'Stick'im right in th' goozle'ere.' Now the neck was cut around the base of the head and and through the throat so that the backbone was ringed completely....The remaining blood was allowed to drain from the carcass, and then, a long, deep cut was made down the middle of the underside ...... When the inside of the carcass was completely cleaned, it was taken down and cut up.

SAUSAGE- Use any combination of lean meat not used otherwise. Take 10 pounds of lean pork, a quarter cup salt, a half cup brown sugar, two tablespoons sage, two teaspoons black pepper, and two teaspoons red pepper. Run the mixture through a sausage grinder..."


  1. I guess I crossed the line with this one!

  2. I know most people wouldn't expect me to be interested in something like this...but I am! I wish I could have been there to experience it first hand. I've never made sausage...interesting. I'm hoping you'll be posting more??

  3. Thanks for the positive comment. My hubby said this post was too much. I have the whole Foxfire series, I'll loan them to you. :-) As well as some sausage, it is very yummy. I do miss my little pig though. I hear her little grunt in my head when I go for my evening walk and I remember how her ears flopped like an elephant's ear.

  4. Ok, so I did get a little tear in my eye when you mentioned hearing her little grunts.... and her floppy little ears......She used to be a sweet little piggy, I agree, but she grew up to be just like her wicked mother, LuLu. Is she next?

  5. Okay, I was going to leave a comment, but there was just too much to say. So I'm going to post about it.

  6. Good times! Loved that post! I think that'll learn her! :) Wish we could come over for some sausage! love ya

  7. Coming in to this more than 3 years late, but had to comment. I've been living in Latvia almost since the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991. Many in rural areas still harvest their own livestock & I have learned as well.

    For the "eewww" & "tear in my eye" types, believe me, this description was still VERY sanitized! The process is nowhere near as neat and easy as it sounds on paper!

    That being said, it is no more or less than happens in commercial abatoirs.


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