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Sunday, May 10, 2009

Curing Meat

This winter I tried my had at salt curing some meat. I have a dehydrator and have used it with beef and venison but curing with salt was something new. We were given half a hog as a Christmas present from my wife's aunt who is a farmer. Problem was, it was given on the hoof. In mid January my brother-in-law and uncle-in-law (that's a word right?) and myself met up at the farm to do this pig. By the time I arrived they had shot it and had it hanging upside down from the forks of a skid-steer loader. He was half skinned. We finished skinning and then carefully cut him in half before dark. The two pieces were laid out on clean plywood in the cool garage overnight.

The next morning we went to work butchering. No one ever taught me how to butcher, I just kinda taught myself by cutting up deer over the years. However, my wife's uncle was a butcher for forty years and I really learned some things that day.

We used to wrap all our meat in butcher paper. That works well, but takes a long time. Recently we've begun using large, freezer style, zip lock bags. Man is that faster and it works good too.

My portion turned out to be about five shoulder cuts (small to medium size), eleven pork chops, one whole slab of bacon, and one whole rear quarter.

I cut the rear quarter in half so that it fit into two five gallon buckets. I rolled up the bacon slap and placed it into one of the buckets, and then put lids on the buckets for transport. These were new, food grade buckets and they had sealable lids.

After arriving home the roasts and chops along with about five pounds of ground meat went to the freezer. The hind quarter and bacon we prepared for a cure. That will have to be described in the next post.


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