Learning is fun!

An explainer for the uninitiated but interested, from the Big Man:

So you’re interested in slaughtering/butchering your own pig but fuzzy on the details?  Read on for an in depth play-by-play of a typical SYO weekend.

On-farm slaughter/butcher weekends take place over three days.  You will be required to sign a liability waiver to participate.  All necessary knives, saws, sausage-making equipment, etc. are available for your use during the process.  Gloves are available.  You should bring water-proof footwear, messy clothes and an apron if you want one.  You’ll also need coolers to transport your meat home.  If you don’t have some of these things let us know; we can help out.   If you have sausage recipes picked out before the weekend, it wouldn’t hurt to mix your own spices (a typical ½ yields 15# of sausage); however, we have recipe books and a decent spice selection at the farm, so if you want suggestions or advice you can peruse the books and use spices from our kitchen.  While you’re here we’ll provide everything and anything you’ll want to eat or drink.  There are always bedrooms available for those who need them (parents with children for instance), but if we’re expecting a lot of people we may need a few people to camp.  Read your e-mails from us for more specific details about room and board.  Please let us know if you have any dietary restrictions.  Pets are welcome as long as you keep them under control.  

Day One
You should be here by 2 PM on Friday.  We’ll run through the day’s process with you and give a quick farm tour if it’s your first time. Starting around 3 PM we’ll take the hogs from "on the hoof" to “swinging halves.”  You will not do the actual slaughter -- the instructor will do the shooting and the sticking of the animal.  We’ll run through the process again and you’ll be set loose (under supervision of course) to scald, scrape, gut and ½ the carcasses.

The meat is chilled overnight to make the butchering easier.  In cold weather, the carcass is hung outside.  In warmer weather, it is chilled on ice in a cooler.  This process usually takes about 90 minutes per animal.  It is the most physically taxing day.

Scalding and Scraping

Day Two
Saturday is dedicated to breaking the animal down into cuts. We’ll be on hand to explain how to go about it and what options you have.  The cuts are vacuum packed in our awesome vac-packer and frozen.  The meat set aside for sausage is chilled overnight. This process can take anywhere from 2 to 6 hours, depending on the experience of the customer and the choices made while butchering.  Even on the long end there will be time to relax around the farm, walk dogs to the lake, sit around the fire, etc. 

Day Three
On Sunday we make sausage.  This process is best described in person, and usually takes about 4 hours total.  We provide casing if you’d like cased sausage. 

The numbers
An average ½ is 110# hanging weight.  Out of that most people take home 80-90#, although that’s up to you.  We charge $5 per pound, hanging weight.  In addition we charge $100 per person to cover room and board.