The pigs are now long gone, but it will be a few more days before we get the meat.
Once an animal is slaughtered, it is left to hang for a period of time. This ranges, depending on the animal, from 1-4 weeks (roughly). I’ve never had cattle, but they hang for longest, while sheep a little less. I’ve heard stories about game hanging for a while as well – apparently some people don’t think their venison is ready until they’ve wiped green mould off the carcass and pheasants (I think) are supposed to be hung by the head until the body falls away! When home-killing was legal, and commonplace, I remember walking into the barn and there would be 2-3 sheep carcasses hanging there. The hanging process makes the meat more tender and improves flavour.
ANYWAY, enough of that – and I won’t mention what used to happen to the sheeps’ heads! The pigs will hang for a week in the slaughterhouse, then they will be butchered. I spoke to the butcher on Wednesday evening, he will pick them up from the slaughterhouse on Tuesday or Wednesday next week and process them. We will get the usual joints for roasting and plenty chops from each animal. We slaughtered two pigs last year and, if memory serves me, I think we got 80+ chops and about 28 roasts from them – as well as approximately 600 sausages. There won’t be as many sausages this year, because I put all of the belly pork from one last year into sausage meat – not as easy when it’s only one.
Slaughter costs this year were £36 per pig and £30 each for butchery. The rough breakdown of cost per pig are as follows:
cost of piglet: £50
total is around £240. Not the cheapest way of doing it, but the quality of the meat is far superior to what you can buy elsewhere.