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Pig processing

Tuesday 19 September, 2006

by Dan at 9:41pm in Pigs 6 comments Add your own

On Thursday we got our latest pigs back from the butcher, having taken them to the abattoir for slaughter on the previous Tuesday. So for the past 5 days I've been chopping, mincing and salting pork from dawn to dusk. Well, not quite, but at times it's seemed that way.

This year we decided to make our own sausages, so the butcher provided us with all of the trimmings fresh and unfrozen. I prepared the trimmings on Friday night and minced up a pound for us to test some recipes. I fried up small patties of each, and we had them on rolls. We tried plain pork, pork and chive, white pepper and hot and spicy. The clear winners were pork and chive and white pepper.

Tamworth Breeders Club

Thursday 18 May, 2006

by Dan at 9:31pm in Pigs 0 comments Add your own

The Tamworth Breeders Club, established in 2004, now has a website. If you're interested in the breed, or are a breeder it's well worth checking out. It's a new site so there isn't an awful lot there yet, but there's a stock for sale section which should prove to be very useful in time.

It can be found at: http://www.tamworthbreedersclub.co.uk/

The grass is always greener

Monday 15 May, 2006

by Dan at 7:09pm in Pigs 5 comments Add your own

Despite what you might have heard, sometimes the grass really is greener on the other side. At the weekend we moved the pigs into the second pen, which was full of lush grass and succulent docks.

Pigs enjoying the long grass

They had a brief mad moment, overcome with excitement, but soon settled down to some serious eating. We'll probably keep them in this pen until they go to slaughter, giving me time to sow something in the vacant pen which is now almost devoid of foliage and well-manured. That way it should be ready for next spring's weaners.

New pigs

Sunday 26 March, 2006

by Rosemary at 4:13pm in Pigs 1 comment Add your own

It's Dan's birthday today. As his birthday treat, he was allowed to go to pick up our new pigs and drive back from Ayrshire in the rain with the car window open (sensitive nose).

This time, we have two Tamworth boars from Thomson and Arlene McKenzie, who farm near Dunlop. Thomson and Arlene breed Tamworth pigs and produce pork, bacon and sausages for retail. They've only been at their current site for a year but Dan says their set-up is pretty impressive.

Two new Tamworth boar weaners

TAS in print

Tuesday 28 June, 2005

by Dan at 6:53pm in Pigs 0 comments Add your own

We're delighted that a couple of our photographs have found their way into print, in the fine new book "A Guide to Traditional Pig Keeping" by Carol Harris. It's always nice when someone want to use our photos, but even better when they feature in such a high quality book.

If you're new to pig-keeping, or want to increase your knowledge, the book is an excellent resource. There's really nothing else like it out there, and we wish we'd had a copy when we started out. It concentrates on traditional breeds, and caters for the smallholder wishing to keep a small number of pigs, as well as those who might be looking to get into breeding pigs.

Thirty pieces of silver

Wednesday 21 July, 2004

by Rosemary at 9:29pm in Pigs 14 comments Add your own

Well, the pigs have gone. It's very quiet without them and I haven't yet got out of the habit of looking at tired bread or cooked pasta and thinking "oh, the pigs will eat it".

People ask "do you get upset when the pigs are killed?" The roughty toughty answer is "not at all". But the truth is "yes, I do".

The process of loading the pigs was very smooth - they would happily follow a feed bucket. At the abbatoir, they happily followed the bucket into the holding area. They weren't going to be there long. When I got back into the Landrover, I bawled my eyes out, muttering incoherently about "just pay me in 30 pieces of silver".

Pig processing

Friday 16 July, 2004

by Dan at 10:34pm in Pigs 0 comments Add your own

Yesterday we had an unexpectedly early telephone call from our butcher to tell us that the largest pig had been prepared and was ready to go, some 36 hours before we had expected. Last night saw some feverish activity preparing the basic brine to make bacon with the belly pork, and finding a suitable vessel in which to do the curing. After a moment's panic a rummage through the cupboard revealed a cool box which should be just the thing.

Belly porkThis morning at 7.30am I popped up the street to collect the pork, and delivered half (60lb) of it to friends near Saline, who kindly supplied us with saltpetre (since Rosemary had 'tidied' ours away...). A gift of some raspberries in return kept us all square!

Deed done

Tuesday 13 July, 2004

by Dan at 12:20pm in Pigs 1 comment Add your own

This morning as planned we took the pigs to the abattoir in Dunblane. Everything went extremely smoothly, thanks to some help with loading up from our friend Brian, and the benefit of experience having done this once already last year.

Rosemary shed a few tears, but to me they've been dead since the day they arrived - we looked after them and kept them safe but their fate was sealed back in March. It is kind of quiet around the place now without them, but there'll be more next year no doubt.

Like pigs to slaughter

Saturday 3 July, 2004

by Dan at 10:22am in Pigs 0 comments Add your own

Our pigs are booked into the abattoir for Tuesday 13th July. As before we're borrowing a trailer from a friend - we couldn't justify the expense of a livestock trailer of our own at the moment. The butcher is also sorted, with instructions for what is to happen to which pig.

The largest pig we will keep half of and sell half of, and the belly will remain intact for bacon-making. I'm planning on building a smoker in the next couple of weeks so we can produce smoked bacon and ham, and experiment with cheese, eggs and fish. The smoker will probably be based on HFW's description in his first book - basically 2 inverted metal dustbins, the top one slighter smaller than the bottom one, on top of a heat source (I'm hoping to find a gas burner or an electric hot plate which will do the job rather than a bbq or similar), on top of which sits a tray with the wood chips. Progress (success or disaster!) will be reported here.

The Weigh-In

Saturday 19 June, 2004

by Dan at 12:34pm in Pigs 0 comments Add your own

Our 3 Tamworth boars will be 25 weeks old on Monday, which means they should be approaching their optimum weight for slaughter. With this in mind I weighed them this morning.

How do you weigh a pig? No, not with a big set of scales, but with a piece of string. Measure, in inches, from between the pig's ears along its back to the base of its tail. Call this measurement A. Next, measure around the pig's girth tight behind its front legs, and call this measurement B. Calculate A x B. Divide by 10 for a fat pig, 11 for a medium-built pig, and 12 for a lean pig. This will give you the approximate weight in pounds.

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