On Saturday, we had another hog butchering. I've been amazed that these annual butchering posts have been some of the most popular on this blog. As usual, we do things the old way. Scalding the hog, making pon haus, smoking pork loin, curing hams - a lot of work, but fun with family and friends and a whole lot of good eating.
Instead of just sharing pictures, I shot a few videos to give you a little better taste of the day. If reading this in a feed reader or email, you may need to click over the blog to view the videos. I tried to be tactful in not showing too much gore, but this is a butchering so there will be blood.
First cutting up the meat. We did four hogs this year. Everyone pitches in and the work proceeded very smoothly.
This video shows grinding the meat into sausage and making links. In past years, grinding and stuffing sausage were two steps. My brother just acquired this grinder/stuffer which made the process much faster.
Next is straining the lard. After the lard is ladled into the stuffer, it is pressed. The remaining "cracklings" are ground and added to the puddin' - a seasoned meat mixture.
I was recently asked for our pon haus (also known as scrapple) recipe. This video shows why I can't give out recipes. There is no measuring. Salt and pepper are added to the broth until it tastes right. Then flour and cornmeal are added until it is thick enough.
At one of the most crucial parts of butchering, the pon haus and puddin' are briskly stirred. When the pon haus is thick enough, the pot needs to be immediately removed from the heat, and ladled into pans. The men struggle to move this heavy pot of scalding hot pon haus while still stirring the pot to keep it from sticking. Almost out of sight in the video is Joe, our old neighbor, who though in poor health, was still able to come and make sure we young ones did it right.
And a few still pictures...
Table full of pon haus.
One of the old timers who are teaching the skill to the younger ones.
The future generation.
A youngster already learning.
First butchering day, for three more young men. (Just to keep from confusion, for those of you who know these young ladies, they are not all holding their own babies!)
I'm sure this looks like a crazy way to spend a Saturday. By evening I was completely exhausted, and I had not been up at 4:00 like the men! But it is great fun and I'm already looking forward to next year!
Go to last year's butchering post for more information on home butchering.