These unpleasant tasks may well become how we are able to eat soon. This week we are going to look at the messy task of killing and butchering your own food. Even if you are a vegetarian, during a time of little to no food available, you may have to change some of your habits to accommodate for whatever is available.
Feral hogs have become a serious problem in many states. Feral hogs are wild hogs that wander through the forest and onto the property of farmers and ranchers, destroying crops and turning the soil into rutted grooves that is difficult and expensive to repair. Butchering a feral hog is similar to butchering a domestic hog. You must take more precautions, however, when butchering a feral hog. Feral hogs carry a host of diseases, which although rare, can be passed on to humans through bodily fluids, consuming raw product or through the butchering process.
Wear gloves to avoid getting the bodily fluids near any open cuts, cracked skin or abrasions on your hands. For extra safety, use thick gloves or double-glove with thin ones. Wear eye protection that surrounds the entire eye to prevent diseases can be contracted through the mist of bodily fluids that naturally occur during the butchering process. Keep your workstation and tools clean. Maintain access to clean, running water and sufficient drainage.
If this is a hog you have trapped and the trap is strong enough, feed the hog on some sweet corn for about a month before butchering. This will help reduce the strong “gamey” taste to the meat.
Kill the hog if it was not killed in the field. Aim a high-caliber handgun into one ear and out the opposite eye socket or hang the feral hog from its legs and slit its throat. Allow the blood to drain for about 90 minutes. While the blood is draining, heat a 50-gallon barrel filled with water until the water is steaming. After the blood is drained, dip the hog into the water as far as possible. Keep it there for 20 seconds. Flip the other end of the hog into the barrel for another 20 seconds, if needed. Move the hog to the preparation area.
Hang the hog by its hind feet. Cut into the skin with a small, sharp knife but do not pierce the meat. Pull the skin downward away from the carcass. Repeat this process until the skin is completely removed. Rinse the carcass with cold, running water to remove the dirt, hair and debris from the meat. Insert a sharp knife into the belly of the hog and cut downward being careful not to pierce the organs. Reach into the cavity and gently pull the organs out and away from the carcass. Cut off the organs. Rinse the cavity thoroughly. If you pierce the bladder or one of the other organs, the meat will be completely spoiled. Pork spoils rapidly, especially pork cut from feral hogs.
Choose the method of quartering the hog. A straight cut up the center of the backbone with a power saw or hacksaw will reduce the size of the loin and any pork chops you may want as the loin is located just under the backbone. You may choose to cut the carcass into four equal sections or you can remove the loin, shank and ham portions individually. Chill the carcass as soon as possible. Surround each portion in ice. Layer rock salt on top of the last layer of ice to keep the meat at a safe temperature.
Feral hogs can carry diseases like Brucellosis, Pseudorabies, Anthrax, Tularemia, Tuberculosis and Hog Cholera. Brucellosis and Tuberculosis (TB) can be passed on to humans. Brucellosis causes severe flulike symptoms, high fevers and intense pain in the joints. Brucellosis can find its way into your bloodstream through the smallest of entry points in your skin.
FOR ALTERNATIVE DIRECTIONS AND PICTURES GO TO: http://a-homesteading-neophyte.blogspot.com/2009/01/how-to-butcher-hog-part-1.html AND DON'T FORGET PART TWO. (Not for the squeamish.)
If you can find a hog trap, or build a hog trap, this would be free meat to feed your family.