We arrived at the farm and eased our way into the days activities. Mark kindly invited us into his home and served up some delicious sausage with his wife’s Sauerkraut for lunch. so yummy!
We moved back out to the garage to survey and strategize the days work.
It began with Kyle leading two other chefs in dividing each side into quarters and then into the various major cuts.
It was amazing seeing the side go from looking very much like a pig, to something you might see hanging in a butcher shop and then recognizable as the packaged you would find on a grocery store shelf.
The belly was set aside for pancetta and bacon, the ribs were divided into chops (both rib and loin); spare & blade ribs set aside; shoulder butt; picnic roast; ham; foot& hock stayed together . Miscellaneous bones plus bits of fat and meat all were set aside.
Only a few people at a time could butcher, so we had another group prepping brines and rubs for designated cuts. With a plan for italian style sausage, a ton of seasoning needed to be weighed out and onions chopped and fried, meat ground, and casings prepared.
Other jobs (and one of my unfortunate tasks) included a final shaving of the pigs head so that our headcheese would be free of bristles. It took 45 minutes, way more muscle then I would have guessed, and 10 disposable razors, but in the end I think I managed alright (no one complained about finding hair in the head cheese after all).
Roasts needed to be tied, meat wrapped and everything stored properly.
By the end of the day we had several pounds of sausage (bother butcher style and offal) and the meat of one and a half pigs portioned out for our group plus large tuperwares containing cuts that would be processed further: belly and hocks for curing and smoking, the head (for cheese), bones for stock, some liver and lung for haggis, et cetera.
Exhausted, dirty, and smelling of pig we piled in the car for the drive home.