Butchering our two pigs

Keeping pigs or any other animals

Butchering our two pigs

Postby Magaly » Wed Aug 20, 2014 3:55 pm

Hello,

Our two piggies are about 75 kilo's at the moment and I'm now starting to look into the butchering.
The butcher is French and last time I wasn't living in France yet and my boyfriend and his family had some problems with the communication and ended up having no bacon, spareribs, ect. ect. And a last minute shopping trip for sausage skins and freezer bags... So this year I want to be prepared!
We would like to get bacon, chops, sausages, ribs, hams, (maybe) gammon and only two roasting joints (one for 4/5 people and one for 9/10 people) for Christmas, cause otherwise I'm not a roast person... Except for gammon!

Now the questions! Does someone know the difference between the French cut and the English cut? Which supplies am I gonna need? The butcher has a electric mincer and sausage stuffer and the experience, so he'll be making the sausages... But I'll be doing all the packaging and making the bacon and hams. How much meat can I expect? I don't need the exact amount, but just a guide... Which bits are best to keep for the roasts? And can I put all the other bits in the sausages? And are there any tips and tricks?

Thanks!
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Re: Butchering our two pigs

Postby badjak » Sat Aug 23, 2014 10:53 am

Sounds like you will have plenty of goodies for quite a while!

It sounds like the opposite of the problem I have at times: I grew up with the continental European cuts and they cut different here (they use the British system).

I have a chart/description with all the meat cuts in French (and Dutch). Would that help?
Do you speak French?

Good luck!
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Re: Butchering our two pigs

Postby wheels » Sat Aug 23, 2014 11:33 pm

Hi Magaly, welcome.

French pork cuts are very different to UK ones. It may be best to work with the French cuts, I imagine that French butchers don't relish 'change'!

I'm surprised that, other than badjak, there are so few replies. I know that we have members that keep pigs that they process them themselves. Regrettably, my own experience is limited to ½ pigs from a local farm.

There's no doubt that whatever the butcher does, you'll need loads of food grade freezer bags, plastic tubs, cleaning materials etc

...and if you want to make sausage, you'll need casings.

If you want to cure ham/bacon, you'll need some form of cure, I think that they call it sel-nitrite in France. If you end up doing this bit yourself, we can help.

Two 75kg pigs will produce one heck of a lot of meat. Regardless of size and the way it's butchered, you've still got 4 shoulders, 4 loins, 4 bellies, and 4 hams. You'll also have the other bits such as the heads, liver, other offal etc. which can make some fantastic products.

Can you cope with all that at one time? What refrigeration have you got?

Could you look at sending one of the pigs at a time for slaughter? That would halve the problem.

Phil
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Re: Butchering our two pigs

Postby quietwatersfarm » Sun Aug 24, 2014 8:49 am

As Phil sets out, this is a heck of a lot of meat coming back! hope you guys are hungry and have a lot of freezer space.

I dont think you should have too much trouble with the cuts you are specifying (there is obviously some overlap so choices need to be made - with two pigs though, that shouldnt be a problem!)

Back bacon is the only cut I can see that may be less familiar but still shouldnt be difficult.
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Re: Butchering our two pigs

Postby Magaly » Wed Aug 27, 2014 5:20 pm

Thanks for the replies!
Well Badjak I'm Dutch and my French is not too bad, so that chart would be very helpful!
Freezer space shouldn't be a problem, we've got a 500L freezer and we have 2 fridges. And we'll be getting our supplies from England, maybe the shop of the forum...
The pigs are going to be killed and butchered on our farm, so I don't really want to do them separately... But I'm sure I can get the whole family to help with the processing!
And the choices for the different cuts and how to divide is is the problem at the moment... I want to keep as much as possible to the French cut, but I don't want to miss the bacon and ribs this time!
Can someone explain which (French) cut back bacon and gammon is exactly?
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Re: Butchering our two pigs

Postby Goaty » Wed Aug 27, 2014 10:36 pm

Hi Magaly,

Here is a link to a page detailing the French cuts.

& here is a link to the British cuts.

The simple answer is let your butcher take off the front legs (échine, palette et épaule), the rear leg (jambon) & the tenderloin (filet mignon).

This will leave a middle. Cut that in half lengthways to separate the belly (travers et poitrine (what the French use as bacon)) & loin (milieu et carré de côtes).

Those bits become your bacon (loin is back & belly becomes streaky).

The butcher can sheet bone the ribs in those cuts to give you baby back ribs & do the same with the échine to give you spare ribs.

Happy cutting (& eating) :)
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Re: Butchering our two pigs

Postby badjak » Thu Aug 28, 2014 2:08 pm

Hey,
Just send you an email with the cuts in French and Dutch, for both pig and cow.
The link to the porky is here as well (just in case any one else is interested):
http://passie.horeca.nl/pdf/5084/De_soo ... ees_Varken

Good luck
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Re: Butchering our two pigs

Postby Magaly » Thu Aug 28, 2014 2:13 pm

Thanks that made it a lot clearer!
So I've got to decide how much back bacon and how many chops I want, cause they are basically from the same part.... And which bits can I use best for sausages?
Can anyone tell me how much back bacon you get from one half pig? And how many chops you would get?
And could someone explain Gammon to me? We usually get (smoked) gammon joints from tesco and we really like them! They come from the back leg don't they? Do I have to cure them? And do you cut them afterwards?
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Re: Butchering our two pigs

Postby yotmon » Sat Aug 30, 2014 10:12 pm

Hi Malgaly, i'll try and answer your questions.
Any parts (especially trim) can be used for sausage making. Make sure the fat content is at least 20 - 25 % though. Will you be making French style sausages or British types ?
A boneless loin from half a pig will weigh approx 5 kilo depending on the size of the pig. Again, re' pork chops, it all depends on how thick you want them cut. Probably get around 25 chops per loin, maybe more.
Don't forget, the bellies make good 'streaky' bacon which in my opinion is better bacon than the loin. Or can easily be used for Rillons/Rillettes or even small roasting joints.

Gammon is a cured rear leg of pork and may be cured as a whole leg, boned out leg, or even cut into more manageable pieces and cured separately. They can be smoked after curing. If you're a novice to curing then I suggest that you start with pieces about 2 -3 kilos as these will cure a lot quicker than a full gammon.

Have a look on the site and there are posts/calculators which will help you cure your pork. It isn't that hard to do but you must keep things clean and follow the instructions carefully, especially when using nitrates/nitrites.

Hope this helps. Anything else, just ask. Ste.
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Re: Butchering our two pigs

Postby Magaly » Sun Aug 31, 2014 5:42 pm

Everything is getting so much clearer now, thank you everyone!

yotmon wrote:Will you be making French style sausages or British types ?


I'll probably be making mainly British type sausages because we had French ones last year and they were quite dry and crumbly, nice pork flavor, but that was it... This year I want to make British type sausages with different type of flavors, pork and leek, pork and mustard, herb, spicy, etc. And I'm thinking of getting a mincer/stuffer and doing it myself..........

yotmon wrote:If you're a novice to curing then I suggest that you start with pieces about 2 -3 kilos as these will cure a lot quicker than a full gammon.


So I can best ask my butcher to de-bone the ham, but how do I divide it in pieces? Or is there no set way?

I would also like to try and make saucisson (dry sausage/salami) and black pudding/boudin noir, does anyone have a good recipe for a beginner and maybe tips? I've found a lot with the search function already, but that's mainly about dried blood and black pudding mix.... And I can't find much about making saucisson...
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Re: Butchering our two pigs

Postby NCPaul » Mon Sep 01, 2014 12:44 am

I would definitely recommend getting a mincer and a stuffer (two separate pieces of equipment) with the amount of pork you will have. There is a link to the "Local Food Heros" blog at the bottom of Wheels' post, on the right on his home page is a link to his fresh sausage recipes. This would be a great place to start. Please take photos as you go along the processing.
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Re: Butchering our two pigs

Postby Magaly » Tue Sep 02, 2014 7:04 am

Ok, I've ordered a mincer and found a stuffer for quite a good price and I have a slicer for my bacon so after buying the stuffer I should have all the equipment! Except for a funnel, bucket, boxes ect...
Thank you for the link, that's a really nice website and some good recipes! Do you guys recommend getting a seasoning/rusk mix from a shop and following their recipe or just buying rusk and making your own seasoning? Or buying the rusk and seasoning separately?
I'm also still looking for a recipe for french dried sausage/saucisson and any tips how to cut up my ham for gammon?
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Re: Butchering our two pigs

Postby yotmon » Tue Sep 02, 2014 3:11 pm

Re' the rusk, there is a recipe here to make your own - scroll down the page to find it.

viewtopic.php?f=1&t=3176

If you can make bread then you can make rusk - it uses raising agents instead of yeast to prevent the sausages from spoiling/which gives extra shelf life. I cook mine at a slightly lower temp' and it comes out okay.
I prefer to mix my own seasonings and I'm sure most members do. You can 'tweak' them to your own personal taste ie a bit more pepper or salt etc. Also, you will know whats going inside them.

Sorry, no recipes for Saucisson sec but there may be some or similar in the recipe section. I do know that there are some for Spanish Chorizo so you may be lucky. Or failing that ask your butcher for some local recipes and if you get lucky, post them back on here !

Re' the ham joints. It's hard to describe without pics. May be easier to ask your butcher to bone them out and separate the 'topside' muscle from the 'silverside' one and cure them that way, or just have him roll the full leg and cut it straight across. It does depend on what size the leg is of course. I'm sure a member called Brican did a tutorial with pictures on breaking up a leg on here somewhere, so maybe worth your while searching for it.
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Re: Butchering our two pigs

Postby Magaly » Mon Sep 08, 2014 8:39 pm

Ok, I think I might buy one or two packets of seasoning but I'll also make my own. And I'll def use the recipe for rusk, thanks! That will save quite a bit of money!
I also found a saucisson recipe! Where can I buy the bactoferm you spray on the outside to encourage good molds though? And would I need any other cultures to put in there? It's not in the recipe, only the one to spray on the outside....

Unfortunately I can't find the post of Brican for breaking up the leg... Can I just ask the butcher to debone the leg and cut it into 1 kilo pieces? Does it matter if it doesn't have the skin on? And I would also like to make prosciutto style ham, can I do the same thing? Just do it with 1 kilo pieces and adjust the curing time/amount to that weight?

Here a couple of pictures of our piggies when we first had them.

Image
Image

And here a picture of the piggies now, around 80kg (and my OH ;) )

Image

And hopefully soon a lot of pictures of sausages, bacon, ham, black pudding, ect ect
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Re: Butchering our two pigs

Postby wheels » Fri Sep 12, 2014 11:30 pm

Magaly wrote:Ok, I think I might buy one or two packets of seasoning but I'll also make my own. And I'll def use the recipe for rusk, thanks! That will save quite a bit of money!
I also found a saucisson recipe! Where can I buy the bactoferm you spray on the outside to encourage good molds though? And would I need any other cultures to put in there? It's not in the recipe, only the one to spray on the outside....

...unfortunately I can't find the post of Brican for breaking up the leg... Can I just ask the butcher to debone the leg and cut it into 1 kilo pieces?

...And hopefully soon a lot of pictures of sausages, bacon, ham, black pudding, ect ect


For some reason, no-ones answered your questions. I'm probably not the best person to advise, but in the absence of anyone else, here goes!

Bactoferm is a culture to reduce the pH of meat, it's not to produce mould, that's a different culture. Producing air dried salami is a whole topic on it's own, so I'd start another thread for it, if I were you. Maybe post the recipe and let someone look over it and advise.

I would ask the butcher to prepare my 1kg pieces of meat - but, be aware, 1kg is a very small piece of meat. It's on the boundaries of even what I'd consider sensible to cure... ...and I write recipes for curing small pieces of meat!

I hope that with the help of your butcher everything goes well. If there's any problem and you need a quicker response, you can always contact me via my blog website (see below) or here.

I hope this helps.

Phil
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