Friday, April 5, 2013


A couple of days ago, CW and I did something we haven't done for a while: we went to his uncle's place to butcher some hogs and make sausage. Last time we did this (and the first time I had ever done it) was just a few months before we were married. It turned out to be the best investment ever -- the purchase of a pig, plus a solid day's work, and we had pork for the year!

The last time we did it we reserved a fair bit of the meat for cooking as-is -- i.e., we saved pork shoulders and hams, and made only the leftover scraps into Italian and Polish sausage. We ended up loving the sausage so much that we vowed to make almost everything, save the loins, tenderloins, and ribs, into sausage.

Thank you, lovely piggies!

We met our pigs in the morning. They had been raised as show pigs, but didn't quite make the cut, so the farmer sold them off. They were lovely animals that obviously had been very well cared for. The time they spent at Uncle D's place seemed quite enjoyable for them, as they had the run of a huge pen, and seemed to have a whole lot of fun playing with the dog. I am very thankful to them (especially the one on the right, who was our pig) for providing us with food for probably the next year or so.

After we got them butchered, we trimmed up the pieces of meat, kept a few pieces for cooking as-is, and ground up the rest for sausage. I made a batch of Italian sausage, as well as two different Kielbasa recipes. We left the Italian sausage fresh, but smoked the two batches of Polish sausage. We put the sausages into the smoker at about 7:30 p.m., waited for the temperature to reach a certain point, then checked the smoker every hour until the internal temperature of the sausage reached the "golden point." That took us until 2:30 in the morning. We got started at 8:00 a.m., and a mere 17.5 hours later we ended up with about 65 pounds of sausage, 25 lbs of loins (pork chops!), two tenderloins, and two racks of ribs.

Piles of sausage, all smoked and ready for packaging.
We got home the next day and had to start packing up all our meat. We now have a freezer full of packets of pork!

Our chest freezer, half way full, and waiting for the rest that was freezing in the upright chest freezer.
We have company staying with us for the weekend, so we decided it would be an appropriate occasion for grilling up a rack of ribs.

Ribs, all ready to steam.
We got instructions, from one of CW's co-workers who used to be a chef, for cooking up a batch of ribs. We used a method that involved steaming them in the oven on a broiler rack, then finishing them on the grill.

All rubbed and ready to grill.
We decided to try a Memphis-style dry rub on these. I whipped up a batch that had brown sugar, paprika, garlic powder, cumin, oregano, cayenne, salt and pepper. It smelled fantastic and tasted even better!

Our "let's make some ribs" idea quickly turned into a "let's make a Southern feast" scheme. So, we cooked up some turnip greens and baked beans, along with baked potatoes and a salad. It was AMAZING, if I may say so myself! Everyone at the table was very quiet through the whole dinner, and ended up covered in barbecue (I had dry rub on my elbows at the end of it all). I took that as a good sign!

A feast!
I have no idea how my skinny husband can eat like this and stay so skinny. For me, it's a very good thing that this is a once-in-a-blue-moon kind of meal! It was incredible, though, and I look forward to trying the next selection from the pork smorgasbord!

CW's plate. That's a lotta ribs!


  1. Wow! What a saga! I will not show Dad as he is still mourning for that little piggie! Was he the one that said Weeeee all the way home? Seriously, looks VERY tasty! Now get some rest!

    1. Oh, poor Dad! (He *does* realize that there isn't such a thing as a pork chop tree though, right? Although, what a tree that would be!) I am just happy that the pigs had what seemed to be a very good life -- not crammed into the rather inhumane kinds of mass-production farming facilities there are out there. At least these guys got to run around freely in the sunshine. And the two Ds are very good at dispatching the pigs quickly and humanely.

  2. I can remember watching my father butchering 2 pigs in the fall, we always ate lots of good pork all winter and into the spring and summer. We took the ham and bacon to a guy who smoked it in his smokehouse, yum.

    1. Oh, there is nothing quite as fabulous as *real* bacon -- nice and thick cut, smoked with real smoke! We haven't actually done the bacon, but my uncle-in-law always gets his smoked, and it is FANTASTIC. We're still eating our way through the pile of pork in the freezer. It is so good!