Having had the pigs for around 9 months, we felt it was time to let them go. In my opinion, this is around the ideal age for slaughtering, as itallows the meat to remain tender and lean.
This was a first for me, and I was pretty keen to get stuck in. Having consulted John Seymours’ Concise Guide to Self Sufficiency and various other how-to books we had a vague idea of what we were doing.
The pigs were lured with false offerings of food into the back of a horse box the night before the trip to the slaughter house. I heard it was a good way to do it and I think it did relax them to some extent. Once we arrived they were herded into pens just outside and having completed the necessary paper work it was time to say goodbye.
I have to admit, its a bit of a strange feeling looking an animal in the eye before you send it to meet its maker. Pigs are more similar to humans than you would guess and having built up a somewhat strange relationship with these hairy creatures, I was a little freaked out when I left them. But once we’d butchered them it was a different story.
The hams were placed in large containers and salted appropriately for curing and then it was time to make the chorizo. I know a workman should never blame his tools but have you ever tried to make sausages using a synthetic intestine substitute and the lid from a power shake bottle, its definately not the easiest or quickest method but it seemed to work and by halfway through they were coming out perfect. Here’s a few shots from the day in question and some of the feaSts that followed.