WARNING: This post is not for the faint hearted.
A couple of months ago, a Chef friend of mine told me about an adventure he was going on. It wasn’t a far-from-home adventure, but an adventure none-the-less, and he asked if I would be interested in coming along.
I agreed readily, always ready to see something new and interesting. As the conversation continued, the destination, and the ideas behind it, were revealed. We were going to a pig farm.
He is a contributing author/photographer for a local food magazine, and wanted to create a story out of killing, cleaning, and butchering pigs, straight from the farm. For this, he thought, and I agreed, a blonde girl in pigtails wearing pink would be a fun spin and would add a bit of playfulness/quirkiness to the story. Enter me.
So. One foggy and cold day, a group of us head out to a ranch just south of Carmel Valley Village. When we arrive we are greeted by the scent of the farm and chickens in the driveway. Pulling around towards the back the pigs come into view, and I start my mental preparations for what I know is coming.
We do a walk-around of the pig-pens, all along discussing the different varieties, their different attributes, and, most importantly, their different tastes.
Chef walks around, pointing, rubbing his chin in a thinking fashion, before picking out three.
We round ’em up and the process begins.
First, the pig is shot in the head with a very tiny bullet. This stuns the nerves system and prevents the pig from feeling anything in the next step.
Which just so happens to be stabbing them in the throat. So, you send in a baconlover with a knife.
You get 4 seconds before sensation comes back to the pigs and your kill gets a whole heck of a lot messier. So. “BANG”, hop the fence, grab a leg, make the stab, then step on it to help bleed it out. Lovely.
Once all three of our pigs were done and bled out best we could get them, we begin the cleaning long process of cleaning them.
There’s removing the hair (which takes forever), then gutting (which is about as glamorous as you think), and then, well, eating them (yum).
To remove the hair, we poured very hot water over the bodies of the pigs and shaved them with our knives. The process is a slow one, but, then again, who wants pig hair with their pork? The answer of course is NO ONE.
Once the shaving process has come to an end, gutting begins.
This part of the process was not something I partook in. Looking back on this experience, I wish I would have. It was gross, but, eh, so what? ya know? It’s gotta happen to get that tasty end result. Next time I’ll do it. Next time.
Part Two coming soon.
Some photo credits to my friend John Cox 😉