|knives for the job, image, ©|
- bell scraper
- small sharp skinning knife
- boning knife
- a hog hook, singletree or gambrel stick. You can get these pretty cheap from Goldpine
- Meat saw or clean carpenters saw
Firstly take into consideration the time and type of day that you plan to butcher, it should be a clear still day preferably during the morning or evening to avoid exposing the carcass to high temperatures.
Select a site where a fire can be lit (depending on how you are treating your carcass) with good access to clean running water, also you will need a means from which to hang the carcass; sturdy tree limb or, if you're planning to butcher inside, a strong beam would be adequate ideally with a block and tackle.
Make sure your site is cleaned carefully, disinfecting flooring and rinsing thoroughly. Have a bin ready for waste and make sure blood drains away from carcass without polluting streams or nearby water supplies, lastly, be considerate about how you dispose of the offal.
Although skinning is considered to be a much faster method, and also doesn't take as much time to set up and generally doesnt require as much effort, but a skinned ham won't keep as well as hams with skin. Further, a bad skinning job with cuts into meat can lower the quality of pork significantly especially for bacon. However, opting for skinning the animal will leave you with a pig skin to practice your tanning skills.
The hair can be removed by scalding in hot water between 60 - 75 °C for 4 -6 mins and then scraped using a bell scraper. A cast iron bath is the best idea for this, with a built fire underneath, another option is to use a large drum set partially in the ground again with a fire built under and around it. Choose the best water container to suit the size of your carcass.
Another technique for scalding is via gastorch, which is relatively self explanatory.
|a little 75lb boar skinned and hung, image, ©|
Skinning can be difficult as the varying thicknesses of fat have no defined separation between fat and skin. The method is similar to that used for beef, sheep and deer. So if you are attempting this for the first time it would be a good idea to have someone experienced to help or practice on animals intended for dog tucker as opposed to your own consumption.
It is suggested that skinning be done while the animal is on its back on a wooden or concrete slab after the bleeding is complete, but the most common method is probably while the carcass is hanging, so the weight of the skin can be used to assist the process.
To remove skin, use a pulling/slicing technique: grasp the loosened hide with one hand and knife in other. Pull the hide up and out, placing tension removes the wrinkles allowing blade to glide smoothly. Always keep knife blade out-turned slightly away from the meat. sometimes it helps to cut 'handles' in the skinned hide so the skinner has something to hold and pull the skin away from the carcass.
|anatomical diagram, image, ©|
Typically most game animals are pre gutted to avoid carrying more weight out of the bush. Be alert to internal bruises, parasites in the organs, and remove any abscesses and tumours etc.
|where to make the cut, image, ©|
Wash the inside of carcass with cold water to remove clinging blood, with a meat saw, begin splitting inside between hams. Keep the split as close to the centre of the backbone as possible. Saw through the shoulder and neck to the base of the head. Remove head at the joint closest to head, leave jowls attached to carcass and remove tongue. Firstly cut through the brisket to the neck and as pictured below. Run your knife down the length of the spine where the ribs meet the backbone. It will not seem that you are cutting much but little is needed. (The blue knife highlights area).
|splitting, image, ©|
Then pull apart the brisket and the chest cavity will split open and cut down the backbone to remove.
Cut the piece removed into desired portions. You will now have a side with backbone and ribs intact. Find the vertebrae centre, this appears white and run your knife through with a hand each side of the cut, the joint will open. Continue cutting through the rib edge to the brisket. Once pork is separated into two it's ready for chilling.
|make shift chiller suitable for cut meat, image, ©|
Bacterial growth can be slowed by prompt chilling. The ideal temperature is between -1-4 °C for 24 - 48 hours until entire carcass has cooled. Don't let the meat freeze before the 24-48 hour period or meat will become tough. If the weather is suitable, wrap the carcass in clean cotton sheets and hang in a well-ventilated shed or barn.
|Cutting, image, ©|
After the carcass has cooled, it can be cut and packaged for freezing. The principle cuts will be hams (back legs), the loin (along the backbone), bacon and spare ribs (stomach), the picnic and butt roasts (shoulders), and the jowl and neck bones.
Make cuts on each side of back bone to the ribs, start at the top and cut down to the hind ¼.
|where to make the cut, image, ©|
Make an incision in the front shoulder down to the back hind 1/4 towards the brisket and flap. Bone off the shoulder as well keeping your knife as close as you can to the ribs/neck.
|finished cut of loin (top) and shoulder (below), image, ©|
Repeat on the other side. Your cuts should look like this.
remove the hock from the shoulder for the dogs and cut from the shoulder to the ball joint which will be the bottom of the blade. You can bone out the blade and roll the shoulder. Also you can bone the loin all the way up to the briscuit and roll.
|cutting chops from the loin, image, ©|
cut chops on loin to desired thickness. A butcher's bull nose blade is best or any sharp knife will do.
|fillets out, image, ©|
Next remove the fillets, you will find these on the inside running from the back of the ribs to the pelvis (the best part of a pig). A quick cut and they are out, you can nick the top (the head end) and pull or bone off from either end.
Do this before removing hind ¼, as if you are not careful you may cut them during the back leg removal.
When removing the back leg, find and cut to the ball joint, bone this off and remove. Keep as close to the pelvis as possible.
|cuts ready for bagging and freezing, image, ©|
Freezing ensures that all vitamins, nutrients and colour don't deteriorate. Resealable freezer bags are great as you can push out the air before freezing; this avoids ice from building up drying the meat it also limits the chances of other flavours tainting the meat.
|chops for bagging, image, ©|
Whatever bag you use, ensure they are intended for freezer use, as some plastics become brittle when frozen and will tear in the freezer, risking freezer burn, ruining your hard work!
|cuts bagged for freezing, image, ©|
Label your food before freezing with meat type and cut and a packaging date, because if your freezer is like ours, you will have lots of miscellaneous meats floating around that nobody knows what they are and therefore they don't get selected!
|roast for freezing, image, ©|
A roast of about 2 kg should keep in the freezer for about 10 months and mince for about 3 months.
Website designed & hosted by WeDoWebsites