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Thread: Pig day .

  1. #41
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
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    558
    I remember sausage days when I was a kid. Every year, my aunt, uncle, parents and grandparents would get a couple of hogs fattened and hauled to their favorite butcher to be split in halves. My dad would go get them and the rest of that day and part of the next would be spent making salt cured hams, sausage, souse, rendering lard, making cracklings (the good no-skin kind, not these nearly inedible skin-on things that will about break your teeth). Then we'd stack up concrete blocks to build a temporary smokehouse and hickory smoke the result of our efforts. Half of the sausage went into the deep freeze, the rest hung on wooden poles in the cold room (unused concrete coal bunker under the front porch) after being smoked. Just to walk in there and get a whiff of that smoked meat would get my mouth watering for a plate of sausage, potatoes and sauerkraut. I miss those days when we were all working together. All but my mom have passed on now, so the expertise and experience has passed on with them. We still have the recipes socked away somewhere.

    I don't mean to divert the thread, but I wonder if I could prevail upon someone practiced in rendering lard to expound on the correct technique. The intention is to render lard and make cracklings. Some months ago I acquired a quantity of fat back and attempted to render it slow, but the lard was reeking of ash tray half way through and seemed burnt, which I don't understand because I had the stove on low. What did I do wrong? How tricky a process is this? There seems to be more to this than meets the eye.
    Last edited by yeahbub; 01-10-2020 at 01:10 PM.

  2. #42
    Boolit Buddy
    Join Date
    Jan 2018
    Posts
    332
    Quote Originally Posted by yeahbub View Post
    I remember sausage days when I was a kid. Every year, my aunt, uncle, parents and grandparents would get a couple of hogs fattened and hauled to their favorite butcher to be split in halves. My dad would go get them and the rest of that day and part of the next would be spent making salt cured hams, sausage, souse, rendering lard, making cracklings (the good no-skin kind, not these nearly inedible skin-on things that will about break your teeth). Then we'd stack up concrete blocks to build a temporary smokehouse and hickory smoke the result of our efforts. Half of the sausage went into the deep freeze, the rest hung on wooden poles in the cold room (unused concrete coal bunker under the front porch) after being smoked. Just to walk in there and get a whiff of that smoked meat would get my mouth watering for a plate of sausage, potatoes and sauerkraut. I miss those days when we were all working together. All but my mom have passed on now, so the expertise and experience has passed on with them. We still have the recipes socked away somewhere.

    I don't mean to divert the thread, but I wonder if I could prevail upon someone practiced in rendering lard to expound on the correct technique. The intention is to render lard and make cracklings. Some months ago I acquired a quantity of fat back and attempted to render it slow, but the lard was reeking of ash tray half way through and seemed burnt, which I don't understand because I had the stove on low. What did I do wrong? How tricky a process is this? There seems to be more to this than meets the eye.
    If you only have a little to do, a slow cooker is the simplest method. Get the fat cold, cut it into the smallest pieces possible (do NOT use a food processor.....bad experience makes the best lessons), put it in the slow cooker on the lowest setting and stir frequently. Make sure there's no dark pieces before you start, it will taste off.

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  3. #43
    Boolit Buddy
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    ohio
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    276
    Can't argue with using as low a heat as possible , it also helps to keep a nearly constant stir happening .
    It's also easier if you start with just a little fat And add new in as it renders .
    To get really creamy white lard a lard press makes all the difference in the world .

    And when I have enough fat for lard , I run it all threw the sausage grinder .

  4. #44
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Northwest corner of Vermont
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    960

    If you want a good "hog killing" story, pull up a chair

    Somebody get the popcorn started.

    Back on the farm we raised at least two pigs a year, along with our own beef, meat chickens and turkeys and sometimes ducks & geese. The chickens & pigs shared a building maybe 24 X 40'. The fowl ran loose in there while the pigs were in pens along one long side. The pens were planked up along the front and between them close to 4' high(turned out to be not high enough).

    One year my Uncle decided he wanted some pheasants, so he added them to the menagerie. They grew well and Uncle was quite proud of his pheasants. The the pheasants started disappearing, a few feathers was all we would find and the count would be down another bird. Strange forces were at work in the henhouse.

    One of the pigs was "different". No idea where the genetics came from but this one sow was quite lean and and some serious tusks. Very coarse, red bristles, longer than usual and had been showing a fair dose of aggressive behavior.

    The chickens got fed in a couple plank troughs maybe 8" wide, 6" deep and probably 4-5 feet long. Between cleanings the foul fowl excrement would get built up close to the top of the troughs. That was our gauge for when the henhouse needed cleaning.

    I was down there one day and Uncle wanted me to "Come see my pheasants". We opened the door and there was the red sow ripping apart the remains of one of those prized birds. The bird had not gotten into her pen, that porcine witch had levitated over the 4' high planking on the front of her pen. I guess SHE liked Uncles' pheasants too!

    At that time I had 2" Smith Model 36 that went everywhere in my back pocket. Uncle asked me, "Have you got that pistol in your pocket? SHOOT that S O B!!"

    I rolled the hammer back, and from about 6' away, standing target, I launched a lightweight JSP(this was the height of the Super-Vel days) at the front of her skull. I had shot a bunch of other hogs with that same load and shot placement. 1 dead hog coming right up! Boom!

    SQUEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEAL!!!!!!!!

    Hens were squawking, flapping their wings, the rest of the pigs, in their pens, were going nuts and adding their complaints to the melee. Uncle was dancing around yelling at me to "Shoot 'er again", which I was all in favor of but not until things settled down a little.

    First thing I did was tell Uncle to get out, close the door and stand behind it and NOT MOVE until I told him he could.

    In the meantime the hog was grabbing at anything that got with in reach. Chickens were losing tail feathers, I think one or two may have been rendered "hors de combat" but I wasn't really worried about collateral damage. There was a nice crease along the side of the hogs' skull, apparently she turned her head as the hammer fell. She spent a bit ripping hunks out of one of the feed troughs and finally she got those tusks hooked into solid wood and picked the whole thing up and shook it, then threw it across the building.

    She ran out of steam after a bit and stopped to catch her breath. That time she didn't turn her head,, bang, flop. Of course that set off the poultry and the other hogs for another session of shrieking & squealing.

    Just another day on the (funny) farm.
    Literacy should not be considered optional in computer based communication.

  5. #45
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Posts
    623
    Great story, Alan!

  6. #46
    Boolit Master

    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    Colorado Springs, Colorado
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    1,524
    My first 'hog day was early teens at a friend's farm. On this occasion my grand dad was in town and went along. Anyway, farm owner threw some 'slop' in the trough and the selected pig of course was fixated and stationary. My uncle grabs a 22 rifle, points down and 'bang' no flop. Pig squeals and hollers, spins around a minute, went back to the trough. The pig then spit the slug into the trough and goes back to eating. I had never seen my grand dad so mad. He was not really a fan of my uncle either which didn't help. He starts hollering about making the pig suffer and such, take the rifle and 'bang flop' from a proper shot.

    Some years later, dad and mom bought 10 acres with 2 houses, and grand dad moved on the farm. Hog day comes and the routine began. Mom started baking fresh bread, we head to the pen. Dad sets the gate opening so the pig's head goes right to a small trough. Grand dad hands me the rifle, explains how to make a perfect shot so the pig never knows. Then, he finally explains 'you don't want that pig pumping adrenaline, it can make the meat taste wrong.' Bang flop.

    Pig gets pulled out, dad makes cuts in the rear legs, hay hooks inserted and hooked on the forks of the tractor's front bucket, and pig gets lifted. Grand dad sticks the pig's heart and poof he's bleeding out. Dad drives the tractor over to an old claw foot tub set with a fire underneath and full of hot water, and a raised work surface for scalding. Dad and grand dad had obviously done this together many times.

    Pig gets dressed, grand dad takes off with the heart and liver, and disappears. Dad and I get to scalding and scraping, it didn't take long. Grand dad had already fired up the Coleman and the liver and onions were frying in the iron skillet. Grand dad hollers for us to join him as mom had brought out the fresh bread. Best darned breakfast sandwiches I ever had. After breakfast, we loaded up the pig and took him to a friends meat locker. The next weekend dad cleaned up the butcher boy band saw and we cut/wrapped the pig. A few choice cuts got the grilled onion and fresh bread treatment. I learned quickly to enjoy 'pig day.'

    I also loved going to the basement, scraping back the salt, and cutting off the breakfast bacon. Mom would ask for 4" or 6" depending how many she was feeding. I was 16 when they moved us to the farm. As a hunter, I always knew where food really comes from, but harvesting game and raising your own animals are 2 different things. By the time my girls were 6 and 3, I moved the family to 3 1/2 acres, 10 miles from town. But it was only a mile from work

    My girls grew up with chickens, rabbits, ducks, geese and turkeys. We had a goat but she was a pet. They actually watched butcher day (9 or 12 rabbits every 3 weeks) chickens every now and then, turkeys and geese every season. I wanted them to know where their food came from. I am proud to say my girls did not eat a lot of store bought meat or garden fare for many years. I actually enjoyed pciking the evening's salad and veggies or going to the pantry for the canned garden goods. Beef came from supporting some kid from 4H at the county fair. Funny how talking about 'pig day' brings the best part of cherished memories back to the forefront.
    Last edited by fcvan; 01-13-2020 at 06:17 AM.
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    Is taught at the Range!

  7. #47
    Boolit Master
    tja6435's Avatar
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    Apr 2014
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    Westcliffe, CO 81252
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    709
    We let our pigs get to 500+ lb, the hams, bacons, etc just yield so much more. Plus the lard is a whole day in itself, I run it through a grinder before rendering. We have 9 pigs currently, 7 are over 600lb and they’re meeting Mr Butcher on Thursday.
    8500' Wet Mountain Valley, Colorado

  8. #48
    Boolit Master and Dean of Balls




    fatnhappy's Avatar
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    Apr 2005
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    Rochester, NY
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    such a sad occasion. How will I ever cope?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Theodore Roosevelt
    No man is above the law and no man is below it: nor do we ask any man's permission when we ask him to obey it.

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