Pig Pool: Aftermath

Doesn’t that sound like some artsy slasher flick? I love it.

So the latest pool Wednesday went off (almost) without a hitch. One of the shareholders’ husbands came out to the butcher to help sort the meat into the share crates. That was a huge help! 450 pounds of pork is a lot to throw around. The butcher also saved the pigs’ heads and the fat for us. The farmer’s wife took half of the fat and I took the other half and the box of heads.

The pickup was supposed to be between 6 and 8pm, and as usual there were a few stragglers and one person picked up without paying due to a miscommunication, which caused my poor husband a mild heart attack. Everything was sorted out by 10pm thankfully, and we all collapsed into bed. I had already split the fat into three bags, one given to a shareholder along with two of the heads, and I drove out to a friend’s house to drop off the other two heads and another third of the pig fat to wait in her deep freezer until we can find the time to make spicy Cajun hogshead cheese.

The next morning I started tackling my remaining bag. There was not only fat but feet. I googled directions for cooking pigs feet and got to work. First I shaved the pigs feet with a disposable razor (I’ll admit I’ve never shaved my dinner before) and then blanched the pigs feet in boiling water for 20 minutes. Then I washed them off and put them into the crockpot. I left them simmering in the crockpot all day with peppercorns, salt and a couple of smashed garlic cloves. By the end of the day the pigs feet had completely fallen apart and smelled great. My daughter picked all of the meat off the bones and we added the small amount of meat and some of the broth to a pot of caldo verde. I’m not sure the effort was worth it, but it was a fun first.

Rendering the lard was not so successful. Most of the fat still had the skin on, so I set to the chopping. Unfortunately pig fat is slippery and my hand slipped on the knife and cut my thumb wide open. That bag of fat is still staring at me every time I open the fridge door so I’ll give it another shot tomorrow.

The most exciting part of this particular pool was receiving an entire side of pork… this friends, is what bacon is made from. I can’t wait to get our smoker up and running again so we can try making our own bacon and smoking our own hocks, too.

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