Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Streaky became Pork

*This post is not for the faint hearted- not that it is graphic, but some may find it upsetting.
But as our first pig, raised soley here; from paddock to plate. This made this a difficult decision to make, and a sorrowful event. But here is a breif account of the process.

Saturday morning was D-day for Streaky. Following months of perseverance in the hope she would produce piglets, the decision was made. We had enjoyed having her, and she had had a good life. But all animals on a small holding have their purpose. And since she wasn't producing and meeting one, it was to be the other.
So the kill itself was short and swift- direct shot to the head, and she had no idea it was coming; she was content and happy to the end. Although she was dead, it is still necessary to 'bleed' the animal. To avoid the blood congealing and spoiling the meat.

Our next, and by far one of the most difficult tasks was moving her. Once we got her to the bath. We managed to hoist her, on the 3rd attempt- as twice she bent the winch!

Preparing water

We borrowed a 100kg scales, that she topped out before we even had her off the floor.
The next job, once the animal is bled, is to scold the skin/hair. We did this by heating 2 kegs of water, over gas flames and filling the bath tub. The rule of thumb for a successful scald is 2 buckets of boiling water, to every bucket of cold water. The actual desired temperature is 62-64 degrees celsius. Too hot and the skin actually sticks to the meat, too cold and it will be in/ or limitedly affective.

Pierce behind rear tendons to hoist

Once the was to temperature we lowered her into the bath and used a (clean) spade and a borrowed hair scraper tool to agitate the water and begin to scrape the skin.  Our Streaky was that big, there was little room for the water, and getting good coverage on the hocks etc was almost impossible. This just meant that the lower cuts off the limbs had to be skinned, and we did not use the trotters on this occasion.

And lower her in the bath

Getting the temperature right

Removing hair & layer of skin 

To be honest, she was probably too large for a home kill. We estimated her live weight at around 120-130 kg as we successfully have over 60kg of pork cuts and joints from her. (General rule ½ live weight to meat out come). In commercial circumstances a pig of this size would be scalded in an enclosed tank- working much like a washing machine.

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Then she had to be gutted and hung over night; just to get the core temperature down. Gutting provided an insight into why there had been no success with producing piglets, as she had a few pink cists. So guess it was never meant to be. We were relieved however, that despite her age and size, there was still relatively little fat on her- in pig terms.  

Too large for Bandsaw

Berkshires are known for their 'marbling' and this was evident in the meat cuts. To be honest none of us had ever seen such colourful meat from a pig. Just goes to show how the breed and free ranging make a difference! Guess the truth will be in the tasting.

Marbling is amazing!

As were the various shades of pink flesh... truely free range