As you know from This Little Piggy Went To… , two of our pigs were scheduled to be culled just over a week ago.
The plan was to separate them from the other two pigs (the ones that we are using as a breeding pair), out of sight in a smaller paddock.
I’m happy to say the whole thing went perfectly. When the butcher turned up, both pigs were asleep so the first went in her sleep and the second went a few seconds later before he even knew what was going on.
For those of you who are new to the ins and outs of culling a pig, after the pig has been slaughtered (in the case of our two – a shot to the head to kill, then a clean stab to the heart to bleed them out) they then need to be scalded. This involves dunking the pigs body in really hot water (as the name suggests) then running a metal scraper over the entire body to remove the hair and the outer layer of skin (which in the case of our pigs the hair is black – what is revealed is the soft pink skin underneath that we are all so fond of eating crackled with salt and pepper), then the toenails are removed, which was news to me the first time i saw this done. This revelation left me somewhat relieved as i frequently use pig trotters and was always a little worried how well they cleaned their feet. It turns out what looks like their nails are actually the bone the nails are attached too. After that the pig is gutted and then weighed (this is its dressed weight). Ours came in at just over 70 kg each, which we were pretty pleased about.
Now let me tell you when the time came to say good bye to these two i was feeling pretty nervous and a little reluctant. After all, i had spent a lot of time with these pigs; feeding them daily, moving them weekly and giving them i don’t know how many belly scratches. It left me quite attached to them. That being said i would not have it any other way because i don’t want to forget where my meat comes from and the day killing an animal becomes easy or enjoyable is the day something is wrong.
To respect the pigs i want to use as much of the animal as possible however after a quick search online i am left feeling a little disheartened about the lungs, heart and liver. No where could i find something that i thought would really make them shine, leading me to believe the art of cooking offal is a dying one.
If any one has any recipes that will make these undervalued cuts something special i would love to hear from you.