Sometimes I Regret My Suburban Upbringing

One of the things Carrie’s family likes to do when they go to their ranch is shoot one of the wild pigs and have a pig roast. Unfortunatly for me, I was born and raised about 5 miles south of Philadelphia, and I’ve never cleaned and butchered an animal in my life. The idea does not repulse me, in fact, I think it’s something people should know how to do, but no one ever taught me, and none of the other women I’m going with have actually done this with a pig either, just watched it being done by other guys in the family.

I like the idea of the pig roast, but I’m afraid my suburban upbringing has never equipped me to deal with this circumstance, so it’s probably not going to go beyond the idea stage. I’d have to use one of my “terrorist rifles”, probably the PSL, since apparently these wild pigs are rather large, and I don’t have any non-military patterned rifles. But shooting it I can handle, it’s the turning it into dinner part I’m not familiar with. So for those of you who hunt, what’s the basic process once you have a dead animal?

10 thoughts on “Sometimes I Regret My Suburban Upbringing”

  1. It’s not difficult. Watch a rerun of CSI or Dr. G Medical Examiner.
    Hang the critter up and unzip from orifice to orifice. Well, not really, only to the neck, make a shallow cut and then deepen it, cause it gets real messy if you puncture things. Use a hatchet or tree loppers to split the sternum and a hacksaw on the pelvis.

  2. I’ve never dressed/skinned/butchered a hog, but I was in the same boat as you but with deer this year. I’d been hunting for a few years with a guy who knows what he’s doing, but we never got a deer when I was out with him, so I never actually dressed a deer, just read about it. Then, I met some guys who wanted to go hunting on their land. Since I’d been hunting (though without success) for a few years, I was their “expert.” It sure would have been nice to have someone who knew what he was doing show me the ropes, but it’s not *all* that hard. However, it was quire odd explaining how to gut a deer to a surgeon. I’d recommend going to borders or similar and find a book on butchering deer (or hogs, if you can find it). Bring it. Lay it open while trying to figure it out with the hog. If you’re willing to make some mistakes, you’ll be fine. You just might lose some of your mountainman-street cred if you’ve got a book open in front of you. :)

    By the way, it ended up working out great, and I’ve still got most of a freezer full of venison.

  3. Oh, I realized I didn’t answer your question…

    The basic process (at least for deer). I assume hogs are quite similar:
    Make sure critter is dead (poke it in the eye with a stick/your rifle. If the eye blinks, it’s not entirely dead. If it doesn’t, begin gutting)
    Make a cut just through the skin (careful not to cut the internal organs) all the way up from pelvis to sternum. Then split the ribs up. Or not. Folks disagree on that one.
    Either way, you need to cut around the diaphram, reach up as far as you can and cut the esophagus and trachea.
    Then deal with the pelvis/bladder. Again, folks disagree on this one. Some split the pelvis and cut on either side of the rectum/urethra/etc. and dump everything out. (They usually leave that for the last step.) Or some tie the bladder…etc. Basically, you’re trying to free the organs from the carcass without having the intestines and bladder spill their contents all over the place. (If that happens, just rinse it off, you’ll be fine)

    Lots of websites have instructions and pictures. Google is your friend. But there’s something so odd about learning how to gut an animal on the internet…

  4. As someone who has hunted deer, elk, and slaughtered sheep and cattle, I’d say AughtSix has summarized it pretty well.

  5. Normaly you don’t skin a pig, althought I’ve heard it done that way before. You somehow get a big vat of hot water and scald the pig, and use scrapers to get the hair off. Then there’s the lard rendering and the crackling making. There’s a pretty good write-up over at:

    but no do-it-yourself instructions for the cleaning & scraping.

    I used to live at a house where the back lot was used to raise pigs at some point. They also had a huge tank made out of an old oil burner tank. They used that to scald the pig. That’s about all I know.

    My uncle keeps saying he’s gonna do a pig at some point, I’ll take pictures. Soonest would likely be next winter though.

  6. we usually slit the throats to drain as much blood from the tissue as possible, after hanging it upside down. If you shoot a running animal this is important as his muscle tissue will be engorged with blood and changes the taste. Not beneficially in my opinion. Won’t help a lot in that case but better than not.

    when I said throats, that is just to make sure you get the large arteries in the neck to facilitate draining.

  7. To be honest, it has been so long, for me, I don’t know if I would do it well or not. I can tell you a good saw is handy to have. For bone.

  8. I suppose you could try it on squirrels first, though it probably won’t help you with a real pig, it may adjust you to the act.

    Plus, squirrels have it coming.

  9. First of all, we only have two squirrels on our property and we’re trying to encourage them to breed (ie not kill them…haven’t found any good squirrel porn yet). Also, it’s totally different than a pig (like you say) because you just slice and peel the little guy. Also, Sebastian refuses to even _try_ a delicious squirrel because he thinks they’re tree rats.

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