~Butchering a Berkshire Hog ~

 On the afternoon of the 4th we killed, skinned, removed the innards and quartered a sow.  We hung the meat in the “cooler” which for us this time of year was cooled with a small air conditioner. The cooler is more like a cave insulated with straw.   It was fairly cool but not ideal!  But, the reality is, we save a plenty of cash by doing it ourselves.  The next evening after work, we cut, ground and packaged the meat for the freezer.  Hold your computer mouse on each photo and read what we were doing at the time.

After the meat was  hung, the butcher shop was hosed down and cleaned up for the next day.  Fred, Clayton, Caleb and Peter did all the cutting, skinning and hanging on the first day, basically all the distasteful, heavy work.  Fred made the brine for the hams and bacon and then put them in the refrigerator in the shop.   That was left to soak until this Friday morning when Caleb and I fired up the pizza pit.



 It’s not very easy to show all of the little things we did to process the hog, but I hope the photos give you an idea of how you might try to accomplish such a worthy task.  I never did get photos of the acutal packaging because that was my job, although Bella did snap a few and some of the other photos.  Everyone has some kind of job when we butcher our meat on the farm.  Having added our butcher shop/honey shed has really made the job much more efficient and fast!  Hot water, hoses, tables, food lugs, meat saws and grinder, plenty of knives, tape and wrapping paper all in one place makes it very convenient.  Especially nice for me is that my kitchen stays clean because no part of the process happens inside, not even the washing of knives, lugs, trays etc.

The lungs in this hog were a beautiful pink color, proof that she lived in fresh air, a non-confinement hog, Niman Ranch style!  She was born, raised and died on the same farm.  In fact if she had been a good mother, she would still be around today.

There is nothing like growing and consuming your own meat.  You can only imagine the very distinct and tasty difference if you have never done so.  Now the next project is to butcher a Jersey steer, but I have a feeling we may have that done at the butcher, at least if this heat keeps up.  We also plan on butchering a bunch of turkeys which I will also try to post here eventually.

About Callens Honey Farm

We live on a small family farm located in S.W. Minnesota, near the South Dakota border. The source of our honey is from white and red clover. The honey appears as liquid gold in color. Our honey is extracted using a hand cranked centrifugal force extractor. Then the honey is screened once into a holding container from which we later fill the small honey bottles. We do not heat treat the honey nor add any other ingredients. Pure and natural is our Minnesota honey! What could taste better?
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11 Responses to ~Butchering a Berkshire Hog ~

  1. Suzanne says:

    Awesome Sandra!

  2. Alice says:

    This was fascinating, Sandra!!

  3. The Koois says:

    Great photos. The 6 of us enjoyed the “demonstration” of hog butchering / processing. We love all of your posts as they are very inspiring to us. You are good teachers.

  4. Sandra reminds me of our hog butchering last year. We scald and scrape and then cut off the fat so that we can render it for lard. It’s a bit more work since you have to dip the whole hog to loosen the hairs then scrape them off before working up the hog. The biggest hog we ever butchered weighed 750 pounds and it took 6 men and a tractor to get the job done before us ladies took over the sausage making, cutting of the fat for rendering, salting down the meat for the smokehouse and cutting and wrapping up the rest. It was a HUGE GIGANTIC hog but it fed my in-laws, my brother in law, my other brother in laws family and our own family of six at the time. It was worth every bit of the effort and time it took.

    • callensfarm says:

      750 pounds of pork, wow! I agree that it is well worth every bit of work. We have not used that method which you describe but I have seen it done by other ethnic groups
      on our farm.

  5. Ame Mitchell says:

    Great post! I agree that the butcher shop is a boon. Our friend, a butcher by trade, used his father’s shed to butcher a fat sow and it was much harder without the right set up. Couldn’t get through the fat with a sticking knife.
    I got the intestines, which I cleaned and used for sausage casings. I must have got the salt proportions wrong though as they went off in the fridge after only a few weeks.

  6. Anet Villani says:

    Amazing, amazing, amazing! I am impressed! BUT, not sure if I’ll ever eat pork again!!!!! HEEheeee…

  7. sandra, As usual, you are my hero! I am thinking of raising a pig for my daughters wedding next year lol. Love it and keep em coming!

  8. Elizabeth says:

    Hello again Callens!
    Great way to do the pig! It’s great you have a nice butchering shed to process the pig in.
    We’ve done several of our own pigs in the past and I can tell ya that having a meat saw would beat the labor of a hack saw any day! But nothing beats those great farm life experiences!
    Catch ya later

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