"United we bargain, divided we beg."

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Big Pig, and Big Decision

See the pig. The pig is big. See the big pig.

The pig is big enough to kill. The pig is big enough to eat.

Homero would like to let the pig grow a little more. I don't know how much the pig weighs - he's about as big as the other two pigs were when we killed them - but I know how much the pig eats. The pig eats a lot. A bag of pig food costs about fifteen bucks and lasts two weeks, supplemented with household scraps. In two weeks, how much weight does a young pig gain?

That's the kind of thing I could probably look up.

And then, if I were further mathematically inclined, I could actually figure out the cost of each pound gained by the pig, and come to a perfect break-even point, a scientifically derived death-date for the pig.

That's not really my thing. I'm more of an estimator. Storey's guide to pigs says butcher weight is between 200 and 250 pounds. I think our pig is just about that weight. Time to kill the pig, stop spending money feeding the pig and let the pig start feeding us.

Oh did I mention, we ate the last scrap of pork from the chest freezer about a month ago? NO, of course that doesn't figure into my calculations. What do you think I am, a monster?

So the question is, not whether or when to kill the pig, but how. We have, for the first time, the opportunity to hire a local expert who will work for a share of meat (Hi Crecencio!). He butchered the goats last fall and did a damn fine job.

Upside: saving $250 we don't actually have at the moment.

Downside: losing a quarter or so of the meat (random guess - anyone out there know what percentage we should offer him? This is all new to us). Losing good quality ham and bacon, replaced by whatever I, with nil experience, can cure and smoke myself. Probably that means bacon, no ham. Everyone I've talked to who has tried it says that our climate here just flat out isn't conducive to ham unless you have a climate controlled room. I don't. But I do have a small smoker capable of smoking bacon.

What to do, what to do? While I mull it over, please enjoy this picture of the pig with his head stuck in a bucket.


AnyEdge said...

I do enjoy the picture of the pig with his head stuck in a bucket.

What about they guys how slaughteres the goats? Do they do pigs? Also: yuck. Pork is icky.

You are a bad, bad jew.

Aimee said...

Yeah I mentioned the guy who did the goats. Kind of thewhole point of the post. Plus if you think pork is icky you are so so sadly deluded. Pork is the most delicious meat on earth - why do you think thejews are such a melancholy race? It's because they know they are missing out on one of lifes supreme pleasures. And I'm not a Jew anymore according to our sister - I have a tattoo and ijoined yhe Lutheran church. Lutherans are German and they love pork.

Anonymous said...

Oh, you have cracked me up again.

I would let the guy have a 1/4 of the pig for slaughtering it. Of course I would first ask and see what is expected. Note that this advice is from someone who knows nothing about what she is giving advice on. Of course I would buy a 1/4 of the butchered pig if I lived closer.

Olive said...

We had a pig that we kept too long. It was mostly fat and not much meat, so don't make the same mistake.

We take ours to the butcher's slaughter house where he kills cleans and "dresses" it all for AU$40.00. Very reasonable, I think. We get it back cut in half, along with any offal we ask for. (we have to take a container for the offal) Then the task to cut it up for sausage, roasts, bacon and ham. We do a type of Parma ham, salted and air dried. (yumm) Of course we could have the butcher do the whole hog (pun intended) but I prefer to know that we have the whole carcase returned to us AND know just what goes into the sausage. I like to know what we're eating.

Pork is my favourite meat too, love bacon.

Zoomie said...

I know zero about butchering, so I'm no help at all. Good luck finding the right "price" and the correct timing.

penelope said...

I didn't say that because you joined the church or because you have tattoos, it's the baptism that did it. And you're still Jew-ISH.

Aimee said...

Olive - $40 Aussie is amazingly cheap. Here they charge $70 just to come kill it, then $0.55 /pound to cut and wrap, plus an extra charge for the curing and smoking. A whole pig works out to something around $200 for 80 or 90 pounds of meat.

polly's path said...

We just had a heritage pig processed for a harvest party a few months ago and our friend who raised "her" let her get too big. I am not a big fan of pork, but even those who love it agreed that there was too much fat on this one.
I would think 1/4 of the pig is reasonable-of course, this coming from a gal who can't kill a fly.
We eat mostly venison-my BIL hunts it, takes it to the processing place, and delivers it to me in neat white packages so I won't even have to go to the place to pick it up and encounter anything...disturbing.
I know, weanie.

AnyEdge said...

The tattoo thing is an old wives tale. Not in the Torah, not in the Talmud.

AnyEdge said...

And ok: bacon is tasty if it's cooked right.

AnyEdge said...
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