“Become dust - & they will throw thee in the air; Become stone - & they will throw thee on glass." Muhammad Iqbal *Beyond the bushes, boiling with dust, is 4Shoes West boundary road.

Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Pork# Tally

I thought that some of you may be interested in the final
"Ham" ~ Link to Artist, Luke Chuen
tasks & pound count in our hog butchering adventure
This afternoon I am going to the house of our frutcher (friend-butcher, & now, suddenly, 'frutcher' is a word), where we will retrieve our bacon from his smokehouse, cut it into slices & wrap it into 200 gram packages. 
I have turned the hams in the brine a final time & tonight I will water them off. You don't know what this means, to water them off? Neither did I before this experience. The brining process takes a lot of time & patience - to cure properly, the salt must penetrate each piece of meat all the way to its' core. If the salt does not get all the way through the meat, then when you slice into the pinkness of your lovely baked ham, there will be a grey-brown circle in the middle where the brine never reached. 
The brining process is what makes the difference between a ham & an ordinary cut of pork roast (also between bacon & ordinary fried pork. Trust me, this I know firsthand, courtesy of last year's 'professionals').
Back to watering off... Once the brine has penetrated completely, the meat will be too salty. 
"WTH?", you may be thinking, "you just put that salt IN there!" 
Balance is the objective, & that balance is achieved by now leaching the excess salt back out of the brined meat
Tonight I will transfer the hams out of the brine solution into a clean plastic tray & set the whole works into the bathtub, where it will be filled with cold water so that the hams stay submerged. I'll then set the tap to run a constant little stream into the tray, which will cause an exchange of cold water, essentially 'rinsing' some of the salt back out of the brined meat & (fingers crossed) striking that proper balance before the hams go into the smokehouse tomorrow morning.
Once the hams have been smoked, we will retrieve & wrap them up & the job of butchering the hogs of 2016 will finally be done.
Now for the final tallys:
88lbs hams & bacon
47lbs ground pork
26lbs hocks 
21lbs ribs
40lbs chops
9lbs stew meat
36lbs butt roasts
9lbs shoulder roasts
21lbs sirloin roasts
Totalling: 297lbs of MEAT!!!! (*happy, HAPPY dance*)
Costs 2016:
$70 purchase price of weaner pigs
$220 feed 
$200 frutcher fee
$490 total outlay 
price per pound... 
But wait! I haven't even talked about the extras that we were able to keep that saved us even more money (the 'professionals' claimed that regulations prevented any of these bits from being returned to us at all). So how much was all of that worth? 
Let's see:

  • 25lbs raw fat rendered down to 16lbs  of lard: grocery price $2.50/lb = $40,  
  • + Idontknowhowmanylbs of bones which I cooked off & reduced down to 12 litres of rich, concentrated stock: grocery price $3./lt = $36, 
  • + dog treats of feet, ears, tails: petstore price for tails & ears $3/per = $18, grocery store price $4.25/foot = $34. 
  • We'll just forget about the 6ish lbs of heart that the Saint ate fresh, & probably still beating.... Sorry, but this shit is real life, & not always pretty.
  • Total: $128.
$490 outlay, subtract
$128 saved on extras  
$362 divided by 297lbs  
pork of 2016, final price per pound...
$1.22 BaBAMM!!

For contrast purposes, & perhaps someone else may save themselves trouble by my admission of the following abuse of our bank account... 
Costs 2015:
$340 purchase price of young pigs (older than weaners) 
$80 gas 
$220 feed
$80 gas 
$850 'professional' fees 
$1570 total outlay (for 200 total lbs meat picked up)
pork of 2015, final price per pound...
$7.85  (OMFG!
No. I'm bloody gobsmacked here. Really. O.M.F.G.
Holy shite y'alls, I legit near about had a heart attack, just now, from the 2015 numbers, which I purposely did not tally up before because I already knew damn well that I might  seriously consider green-lighting those f*ing so-called 'professionals'... 

But, asshole-fees aside, we made other expensive mistakes our first time around:
  • We relied on advice from the wrong people.
  • We paid way too much for pigs initially (because we didn't have a proper source connection).
  • We incurred $160 gas fees (pigs were 1+ hours SE, 'professionals' were 1+ hours SW. Total travel time = 6+ hours).
Even adjusting the initial price of pigs to the same as what we paid this year ($1.69/lb live weight), & leaving gas out of the equation altogether, 2015 costs still work out to a staggering $5.70 per pound. 
Extrapolating any further would be straight-up risking a stroke or what's left of my sanity....
Suffice to say, while we did make costly mistakes, in the end we gained priceless experience. Most important, we made valuable connections & learned new skills that accomplish the original goal of raising our own stock & enjoying a better quality product for an economical price. 
And that price is $1.22 a pound. (*drop mic)


  1. Dear Lord! What a savings your changes made! I'm glad your hard work has paid off in spades! Enjoy your pork blessings.

  2. Wow sure a huge difference. Bet I know how you are gonna do it from now on!

  3. Wow, the butchering reminds me of my grandparents farm. They butchered every year. They also had a smoke house. I would love to see the brine process. Thanks for sharing on Sunday's Best.

    1. From the time I can remember, my Grampa had someone else do all the butchering for him (no doubt at a good price or he'd never have paid), but then again, my Grampa had big $$ & us....not so much. It's good to know we can do it ourselves & save $.


Pony Up some Words & I'll 100% Hit you Back!

*4ShoesLife is happy to exchange Blogroll Links upon request*