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saturdays spent: pig butchering

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Yeah, you read that right.

I come from a super diverse family – it definitely keeps things interesting. 🙂

Mom’s family is what you’d expect from a typical American family – everyone is pretty much normal with a touch of drama for some flair. Dad’s family are self proclaimed “rednecks” and you’d be hard pressed to argue – church on Sundays, guns galore, setting off fireworks and an affinity for anything that goes fast. My stepdads’ family are what I like to call “good country folk” – the kind you find serving rattlesnake at family functions, doing everything themselves, welcoming everyone in with open arms and an affinity for finding a way to deep fry everything. (Now guess which one we butchered with? 😉 )

Like I said, it keeps things interesting. And it keeps us busy.

This past Saturday was pig butchering. There were pigs, there were people, there was food. And the weather wasn’t bad, either. Just a really great Saturday.

I was asked to make strawberry fritters for breakfast, so I was in the kitchen by 5am frying up somewhere around 75 fritters. Batter, oil, flip, drain, glaze, drain, repeat. Repeat. Repeat. REPEAT. I felt like a ran a fritter marathon. But they are SO worth it. 😉

We arrived somewhere around 7:45am and as we were still hauling everyone inside, my uncle came in and announced they had just finished cutting up his pig. To say we were surprised is a gross understatement. My husband handed off our son to me and out the door they both went to help butcher the other three pigs.

As I came through the kitchen, I peeked outside and saw not five or six people like I expected – I saw like 20 people all working as fast as they could at whatever job they had. There were people chopping small pieces of meat, people stirring the cracklin’ kettles, someone making lard and someone tackling pigs’ feet. There were probably 15 kids ranging in age from 2 to 17, all running in and out of the house constantly and by the end of the day four dogs (two bassets, a jack russell and a blood hound – imagine it) to keep up with.

I stayed in the house most of the day to watch Elias, help keep eyes on the other kids and do whatever little tasks I could in preparation for lunch, but with so many people pitching in I never felt guilty. My husband was outside doing what he was told – the younger guys were given muscle work and other light duties while the older generation showed off their expertise – and by 11am all four pigs had been portioned out.

(Full disclosure: the pigs had already been killed and gutted so all that had to be done was cut slabs of meat (most everyone took home massive chunks to be further cut up), cracklin’s cooked and lard, paun hoss and sausage made. Even then, it’s still A LOT of work!)

For lunch, Granny and my aunt made a smorgasbord of food to feed everyone. We had fried country ham, fried pork tenderloin, green beans, mac and cheese, soda bread, beans, cucumber salad, a couple pies, cakes and I brought sweet and salty marshmallow cookies.

We had to cut out early due to Elias needing a nap pretty badly, so after lunch we gathered up our huge box of pork and headed home. Once he was down for nap we finished cutting up our portions of meat, bagging them and squeezing them into the freezer.

We purchased half a pig for $157 and we took home 68 pounds of pork in various cuts – roasts, ham, loin, ribs, belly – , 22 pounds of sausage AND two and a half gallons of lard. We declined our portion of the liver, backbone and paun hoss but we still made out like bandits. And now our freezer is so full I am literally keeping it closed with a massive dumbbell, two packages of paper towels, a kitchen stool, a snow shovel and a Wonder Woman cake pan. Priorities, people.

This weekend I’m looking forward to a Friday movie night with my mom and sister, dinner with my husbands’ parents on Saturday (I’m cookin’ Cajun!) and heading up to the Highland County Maple Festival with my sister on Sunday (postponed due to Coronavirus 😦 ). Busy, busy!

Have your own fun Saturday stories? I’d love to hear!

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