Hog Killin on December 29th

Canning, Dehydrating, Freezing, Fermenting, etc.

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Re: Hog Killin on December 29th

Postby Lollykoko » Mon Dec 31, 2012 1:48 am

George, I was an apprentice for nearly 4 years. I understand what you mean about doing it the way someone else says it must happen. ;) Your drawing is the sort of thing that I have been envisioning, if and when we get that far.
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Re: Hog Killin on December 29th

Postby George Collins » Tue Jan 01, 2013 1:23 am

Today was a sausage day.

In the build up to this past Saturday, I had made plans to put everything in cure. My rationale was that it would be easier to learn one skill at a time. However, being under the guidance of others, I was directed to make cuts that I probably would have never made. Those cuts resulted in excess and that excess had to be made into sausage.

After devoting yesterday to curing, I devoted today to learning how to make sausage. I had Youngblood cover over with his sausage grinder and give me a quick class. That done, he left and I took WAY longer making sausage than I'm sure I ever will again. I weighed out everything making sure that the 70:30 ratio of lean to fat was as exact as reasonable attainable. I measured the Morton Sausage and Meat Loaf Seasoning Mix exactly by the directions on the box. I did everything as perfectly, as meticulously and as conscientiously as my male brain would facilitate.

The result?

Perfection! Or the closest thing to perfection that I remember having ever tasted.

I have eaten sausage from home grown hogs many times. I can't remember the last time I ate sausage that was made at home. The difference between homemade sausage from a homegrown hog is at least as great as the difference between sausage from a home grown hog processed professionally and that barely edible stuff sold at grocery stores.

I can't help but wonder, if homemade sausage from a homegrown hog is that much better, how much better still will it be when seasoned with homegrown spices?
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Re: Hog Killin on December 29th

Postby Lollykoko » Tue Jan 01, 2013 2:42 am

George, all I can say to that is I haven't bought sage at the grocery store in a long, long time. :D I grew a couple of plants in the back yard one summer and dried my harvest. When I used some in my dressing for Thanksgiving that year, I was hooked.
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Re: Hog Killin on December 29th

Postby pa_friendly_guy » Tue Jan 01, 2013 3:06 pm

I love sausage, home made or other wise. There is a HUGE difference in the taste and flavor though , I certainly do agree with that. There are 2 local grocery stores around here that make and smoke their own sausage brand in the store. They are both great and very popular with the local folks around here.
When you talked about the need for Cold to butcher the hog and then talked about temps in the 40's I was struck by that fact. It is a high of 27 here today with a low of 17. Maybe 10 inches of snow on the ground. If I was to get wet in these kinds of temps I would have frost bite in no time. :lol: Dec, Jan and Feb would be out for butchering at my place, I would tend to go for Oct or Nov, ;) Maybe March if you want to feed the Hog over winter.
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Re: Hog Killin on December 29th

Postby George Collins » Tue Jan 01, 2013 10:46 pm

Today we put all of the sausage into the freezer. We ended up with 27 pounds of fresh sausage and 8 pounds of ground pork. The ground pork is something new to us and something recently learned of while doing research on pig farming in general.

Lolly, sage is on the list of things to try growing this year. Youngblood told me the other day that, when he was but a child, the worst whuppin a child's butt would ever tote was to damage the family sage plant.

Guy, as warm as temperatures in the 40s sound to you, it is now 61 degrees here. And that sir, is why you have heard of Virginia hams but never of Mississippi hams - the weather here is too unpredictable to reliably cure meat. To mitigate against this possibility, I have been curing all of the meat in coolers that were intended to be opened when 40 degrees or below and closed if/when the temperature went over 40 degrees. Yesterday morning the temperature started climbing and went over 50 degrees for most of the day and today we have been mostly over 60. We are predicted to drop below 40 again tomorrow night. That was too long a time for comfort so this morning, everything was transferred from the coolers outside to the fridge. The black walnuts that were being housed there for stratification are now outside. Hopefully they will be alright.

I opted not to try to cook out lard this year. Instead, I gave all of the remaining fat to a friend of mine who recently killed several deer and wants to try his hand at making deer sausage. I was out of time and out of freezer space so having a good friend that could put it to good use is a blessing. (Next year, after the Berky babies farrow, I hope to step up pork production. At that time, I will have a much better game plan going in and intend to, if possible, make sausage, apply cure and render lard the same day the hog is slaughtered.)

The same friend and his parents are to be our guests tonight for supper along with my parents. The menu for the evening is smoked ribs (from The One Pig), two smoked chickens (the last of those recently butchered), deviled eggs, cole slaw, corn dip, black eyed peas (seasoned with Youngblood's recently smoked bacon), Mexican cornbread, and bread pudding with white chocolate sauce (made by my momma and one of the finer desserts I've ever wrapped myself 'round).

When smoking ribs I always smoke chicken. The rationale being that if it goes uneaten, smoked chicken makes the best chicken salad ever.

I'm having a hard time right now controlling myself as the computer is within smelling distance of the kitchen. Worse, I intentionally ate light at both breakfast and supper to best season this evening's meal. I'm starting to think the seasoning might have been a wee bit overdone.

Matt, in another thread, you suggested I try making buckboard bacon. I think I have. Part of the meat that is now in cure is the loins. Historically, when we have had a hog processed, we would have some portion of the pork chops cured. We use them as we would cured ham. The current effort though is the first time we have tried doing such at home. I'll let you know how it turns out.
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Re: Hog Killin on December 29th

Postby George Collins » Sat Jan 05, 2013 1:10 am

Tonight we conducted an experiment - a head-to-head taste test between Youngblood's ground beef and ground pork. Two pounds of beef and 1 1/2 pounds of ground pork were thawed and seasoned exactly the same. Each type of meat was formed into patties and each was grilled side by side on a hot grill. Once the beef patties reached an internal temperature of 145 they were removed and wrapped in foil to rest. The same for the pork except it was cooked to 160 degrees. The wife and I each prepared two hamburgers each and we each fixed our respective burgers exactly the same to allow us to sample the beef and pork patties under as close to identical circumstances as we could.

The results:

We each independently came up with the same opinion.

The pork burger didn't hold together as well as the beef burger either when trying to form the patty or while cooking. The mouth feel of the beef burger is more substantial probably because pork is naturally more tender than beef. In this case, being tough is actually a benefit as the beef burger solidly beat the pork burger in this category. As for quality of taste when part of two identically fixed burgers - dead even. As for quality of taste as just a plain patty and not dressed with any condiments - pork burger all the way.

Based on this one experiment, I doubt pork will ever replace beef as the meat of choice in the American hamburger industry. However, if you ever butcher a hog for personal consumption, ground pork is certainly a viable way to improve upon the versatility of your pork.
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Re: Hog Killin on December 29th

Postby matt walker » Sat Jan 05, 2013 2:29 am

Great couple of posts, I somehow missed the New Year's Day post until now. George, I have had a supply of ground pork in my freezer ever since my first half a hog purchase a few years ago. I use it mostly as the base for a small batch of fresh sausage for the style of meal of the evening. For example, I might not want to make 20 pounds of chorizo, but I'll whip up a small batch of chorizo sausage seasoning and mix with ground pork for an evening's meal. Same with spicy Italian, sage breakfast, etc. It's a great way to try varieties to which you might not be ready to commit a large batch.
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Re: Hog Killin on December 29th

Postby pa_friendly_guy » Sun Jan 06, 2013 5:52 pm

Adding ground pork, or pork trimmings, or even some back fat to your Deer Burger certainly improves the flavor as well as its ability to hold together when grilled. :D
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Re: Hog Killin on December 29th

Postby George Collins » Mon Jan 07, 2013 10:48 pm

Waiting until the ground pork is defrosted to add seasonings might be something I have to strongly consider for future hog killins. Certainly seems like doing so could expedite the process while also giving unlimited flexibility. I have heard that sage doesn't freeze well so waiting until it was thawed would certainly seem a viable option for getting around that little hurdle.

That said, we ended up with three slabs of middlin meat (how that happened ill never understand). All three of them were taken out of the fridge today and one of them now hangs in Youngblood's smoke house being flavored with sassafras and pecan.

The other two slabs were moved outside to air dry some prior to going into the smoke. The reason to split them into two separate events was because one of the slabs was a bit thinner than the other two and the rack you dblood uses looked to small to handle all three at once. Younblood doesn't wash the excess salt from his pork prior to smoking it so this one slab was left unwashed. The next two slabs are planned to go into smoke as soon as this one slab comes (in about 48 hours). One of those will be rinsed off and the other unrinsed. The end result will be:
- one slab will have been still moist and unrinsed
- one slab will have been air dried and unrinsed
- one slab will have been air dried and rinsed

All will have been cured with Morton Tender Quick and smoked with sassafras and pecan.

The taste test should be interesting.

The rest of the schedule for smoking looks like:
January 20th - Loins
January 27th - Shoulders
February 10th - Ham(s) (I will likely leave the ham cured in straight sea salt unsmoked.)
"Solve world hunger, tell no one." "The, the, the . . . The Grinch!"

"If you can't beat them, bite them."
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Re: Hog Killin on December 29th

Postby George Collins » Thu Jan 10, 2013 2:32 am

For some silly reason I thought that once cured, animals would pretty much stay out of meat.

I can't speak for all animals but feral house cats don't seem overly deterred by the presence of high salt content.

I hope the bastard has a stroke.

I saved the bacon . . . mostly.

Showed it to Youngblood and he said, "It ain't hurt. I'd still eat it."

And so I will. Cat slobber be damned.
"Solve world hunger, tell no one." "The, the, the . . . The Grinch!"

"If you can't beat them, bite them."
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