Fire-up that porker! Or, two methods of removing the hair. (Country kitchen).
We read about another way to go about it in a French book on meat-curing. First, I'll describe the old "low tech" way and then the new "high tech" way.
After you've stuck and bled the pig, lay it on a bed of straw. Make sure there's no mud or dirt packed on the hide. Cover the pig with more straw and set it afire. Use bundles of straw to singe parts that the fire misses. When this burns down, make another bed of straw, turn the pig over on it, cover with more straw and singe as before. Old-timers around here remember when burlap was used in a similar way. When the burning is done, you can scrape the pig in the normal fashion.
The "high tech" way is to use a propane torch with a flame spreader. First go over the entire pig to burn off most of the hair. Then go over it carefully, heating just long enough to make the outer layer of skin "crawl." It will then scrape easily. We scraped as we went. When it's scraped to your satisfaction, wash in lots of cold water. It took a while to get the hang of it and some of our bacon is kind of fuzzy. But by the time we got to the head a day or two later, we did as well as if it had been scalded. We skipped the parts we knew would be skinned anyway. This is a very manageable technique and, according to the French book, is better because the heat doesn't penetrate the flesh as deeply as scalding. It doe's smell bad though! I wonder if there's anything to the nursery rhyme "Barber, barber, shave a pi g..." Actually, an elderly Italian I know remembers using straight razors.
Another interesting idea in the French book concerns hanging the pig for gutting. A come-along or tractor-mounted jinny pole are easiest. If these aren't possible, lay the pig on its back on a ladder on the ground. Tie its hind legs to the ladder's uprights. A couple of people can then work the ladder and pig into an upright position against a wall or other support. This should be fairly easy with a 200-250 pound pig. I'm not sure it would have worked with the 400 pound monster we butchered!--Peter Kafer, Subtle, KY
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|Publication:||Countryside & Small Stock Journal|
|Date:||Nov 1, 2002|
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