"Now that you've got a freezer, how would you like half a pig?"
It's not something you hear every day but around here it's not that uncommon. A friend in the village with a bush block in the Marlborough Sounds shoots a lot of pigs and had offered me one before. I was unable to accept last time because we had visitors coming and no freezer. This time: no excuses.
Those of you of a squeamish nature (or any vegetarians) may want to look away and avoid the remainder of this post.
I collected the back half of the pig (minus the legs) and returned home to work out what I was going to do with the carcase.
I set up our trestle table, covered it in plastic sheeting and found a suitable piece of surplus untreated eucalypt timber to use as a cutting board. I laid out two newly sharpened kitchen knives, a borrowed meat saw, found ziplock bags of a suitable size and stood looking at the bloody mess to work out where to start.
Slicing between the ribs seemed to be a good way to go and once that was done it was a matter of using the meat saw to cut through the backbone. Not as easy as it seems, trying to hold on to a slippery hunk of meat sliding around the place, and sawing at the same time. Once that was done I started to see some recognisable cuts of meat - pork chops.
I carried on slicing and sawing until all of the chops were done. I then found a couple of juicy looking tenderloins which I was able to cut off quite cleanly. The last pieces of meat worth taking from the carcase were a couple of what could be described as rump steaks, at least that is what I'm calling them.
The sum total of the exercise was as follows:
Given that I have had no training or experience I was reasonably pleased with the results. We are yet to taste them -- that will be another post.
Next time it will be a lot more real. I will be killing one of our wethers. I'll definitely need some assistance for that one. Luckily, one of our neighbours is a retired butcher and has offered to show me the ropes. Look out for another butchery post in the future.
Posted by Farmer Wan
About Ewan and Niki
Scottish mechanical engineer with a deep and abiding passion for good food. Outstanding cook. Builder of lots of stuff. Cattle whisperer. Connoisseur of beer. A lover rather than a fighter.
Kiwi writer and broadcaster who hates cabbage, even though she knows it's good for her. Chook wrangler. Grower of food and flowers. Maker of fine preserves. Lover of dancing and wine. Definitely a fighter.