Knowing how to butcher a pig is fairly simple, but doing it is something else. What might be simple and straightforward with something as small as, say, a guinea pig, is much more challenging with a 200 to 300 pound hog that has already made other plans for the day. The key to success is to have everything ready beforehand and several other well-muscled would-be butchers to help out.
You will need:
- 55 gallon drum
- Sturdy Rope
- Sharp butcher knife
- Electric saw
- Prepare by filling the 55 gallon drum with water and put over a fire. You want the water hot, but not boiling.
- Kill the pig by shooting it in the head. This alone isn't quite as simple as it sounds, since there are plenty of stories of pig slaughters that went awry. If you don't want your angry pork chops to chase you around the yard, make sure you use enough fire power, and aim from behind one ear toward the other eye.
- Cut across the throat, deeply so that the aorta is severed.
- Tie the pig upside down so it will bleed out (this is where the well-muscled help comes in handy). Allow around an hour or so for this process.
- Remove the head, using the electric saw to sever the spinal cord.
- Lower the pig into the hot water for twenty seconds or so, then flip it to lower the other end in. This, again, would be easy with a guinea pig, but is much more difficult and complicated with a hog, so don't let the simplicity of the instructions mislead you into believing otherwise.
- Hang or lay the scalded pig in a clean place where you can work with it. Remove the skin by separating it carefully from the meat and cutting it off in large pieces.
- Cut down the center between the legs. Avoid the intestines and anus; piercing these could allow dangerous bacteria to contaminate your meat.
- Work the internal organs out.
- Following your butchers diagram, separate the pig into cuts of meat.
Butchering your own pig can save you hundreds of dollars, but the initial slaughter and field dressing of the pig takes a lot of time and strength. Another economical option is to have your local slaughterhouse slaughter, field dress and skin the pig. For less than $75, you'll receive several large but much more manageable pieces of pork that you can then butcher.
To avoid food borne illness, make sure you take every precaution to sterilize your equipment, follow food safety rules and wrap, date and preserve your meat carefully. Also, be aware that the references to guinea pigs are for comparison's sake only. Guinea pigs are pets; not food,