We’ve raised pigs in our pig tractor this year. Once they’re full grown, what have we done with them? The very first pig we butchered made his way to a pig roast. For that pig, we (meaning my dad and husband) scalded and scraped it to be roasted whole. The second pig we processed ourselves in the fall, and the third pig we just processed earlier this month (January). Here’s a bit more on how we as relative beginners have been processing our pork at home.
We’re fortunate to have helpful and fairly knowledgable family, some past experience with deer (my husband) and general farm animal processing (my family), and the internet to fill in the gaps!
I’m breaking this up into several posts so the information isn’t as overwhelming, especially if you’re just looking for one part. Here’s the “index” for what I’m adding right now, and I’ll throw in links for the pig tractor/pastured pigs, too.
A few thoughts on Sodium Nitrate
Homemade Pork Sausage/ Ground Pork
Homemade Bacon– sans sodium nitrate
Homemade Ham– sans sodium nitrate
Our current slicer– A cheap-o from Harbor freight- a review and a few tips
Packaging for the freezer- what we’re doing for now here
Pig tractor post 1– basic construction and little pigs in it- spring use
Pig tractor post 2– how it faired being used over the course of about 7 months- late spring, summer, and fall.
A few end notes on how the tractor faired into the winter is in my post here.
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We ground pork using 2 different kinds of motorized grinders. For each we cut into strips or small chunks and put everything through the grinder twice.
I posted the recipe we use for breakfast sausage the other day here.
We formed most of it into patties and flash-froze them, then stuck them in bags of 10 in the freezer. A few pounds we left in bulk.
We also made up some mild italian sausage from the first pig, but it was a pre-made mix my husband had from his deer hunting days, so there’s no recipe to share. Some of this we formed into big sausage/hot dog shapes and froze, but most of it is in bulk form in the freezer.
We didn’t stuff any links. We don’t have the right attachment for the grinder and it isn’t a priority right now. Breakfast sausages can be eaten in patties as easily as links. I haven’t ventured into making any specialty sausages or hot dogs and don’t have plans to do so any time soon.
Check my “index” post for more on how we’ve been raising and home processing our pigs.
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We processed our last pig of the year (or maybe I should say the first of this year?) on Saturday, let it hang for the weekend and cut it up Monday.
An update on the pig tractor– it’s functioned well. I’ve been happy with it and we’ll use it for this summer, and plan to really get the wheels on for this year. It was a mild winter so far, so other than getting really muddy, we had no problems keeping the pig in the tractor into January. A pile of hay to snuggle in and a tarp that inclosed much of the tractor worked well. That mud was the only challenge. I did move it a couple times when it got bad and wasn’t frozen to the ground, but its a much bigger challenge to move with mud.
I’m still working to find a good ham and bacon recipe, so I’m not going to share any of those yet. I will share the breakfast sausage recipe we’ve tried and like.
1 lb ground pork
1/2T. brown sugar
1 pinch crushed red pepper or cayenne
1 pinch cloves
mix spices, mix into pork evenly, and form into patties. Saute 5 minutes each side/to 160 internal temp.
I’ve used this a few times, one pound at a time as well as 5-10 pound batches.
I found it on Allrecipes.com; there it’s portioned for 2 lbs at a time. Click here to go to the original recipe.
A few notes: add a touch more red pepper or cayenne for a hotter sausage, if you so desire.
We used very lean (home) ground pork- pretty much all the fat had been trimmed off the first time we processed a pig. It was so lean that it was almost dry, although still great flavor. We made sure it had a bit of fat added into the ground pork the next time. Make sure you get the spices mixed in very well, especially in larger batches, or you get pockets of spices…
If the ham or bacon works better for me this time, I’ll share those recipes later.
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