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Old sows' meat any good?

 
Tim Wells
Posts: 119
Location: Essex, England, 51 deg
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I was gifted 2 x5year old Kune sows last year. They didnt get in pig to my boar unlike the 2/3 year old sows did.
They are big, long in the tooth, intimidating to visitors and an extra mouth to feed. But ....living off almost entirely forage and processing them myself including removing hair is a big job that I havent done before. Is the meat going to be worth it? Shall I feed them up a bit and see if they will get in pig? Or just let them see out their days foraging in rotation?
 
chad stamps
Posts: 46
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If you decide to butcher them, it's probably some of the best meat you'll ever see. Might as well try to get a few litters out of them first though.
 
R Scott
Posts: 3305
Location: Kansas Zone 6a
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Sow doesn't get gamey like boar, but it may be tough. If you are intimidated or overwhelmed by their size, skin them. Try a chop and if you don't like it, grind them into sausage.
 
Tim Wells
Posts: 119
Location: Essex, England, 51 deg
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They didnt get in pig and I saw them getting done by boar for sure. Is it their age, or likely a body fat issue? I dont really want to spend money on them for pig feed since I have 3 other younger sows who had litters. So I leaning towards slaughter.

I slaughtered a 2 year old sow last winter. I skinned it as I didnt have the means to remove hair. But it removes so much fat the sausage from the ham and boston wit ha bit of belly was very lean and when the little fat that was in it dripped out during cooking it burnt and the sausage had a dry feel to it, was very tasty tho.

My friend has a flame torch he can lend. So I might try to remove hair with that. Any tips?
 
R Scott
Posts: 3305
Location: Kansas Zone 6a
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I torched the hair once, still couldn't save much more fat. Made the skinning easier, but the smell of burnt hair got everywhere.

I learned how to "fillet" the fat off the skin. Cut the skin into manageable pieces for your knife and board (about 3" by 12" for me, YMMV). Put it hair down on the board and use a fillet knife to skim along the bottom. You will save 80-90% of the fat this way.
 
Jd Gonzalez
Posts: 205
Location: Virginia,USA zone 6
12
forest garden greening the desert hunting trees
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We never torched the pigs, we used hot boiling water, poured it over each section of the hog and shaved the hair off with a VERY SHARP knife. It was a bit time consuming but the skin ended fully cleaned and made into cracklings.
 
chris felton
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Packing plants use the sows to grind into sausage because they have the right ratio of fat.
 
Walter Jeffries
Posts: 1085
Location: Mountains of Vermont, USDA Zone 3
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My favorite cut of meat is the Boston Butt from sows. Old sows can have excellent meat. The flavoring has developed fully and they have fantastic marbling. Note that this is with our pigs who get almost all of their diet from pasture plus whey. It might be different on a grain fed diet which is high in calories.

We slaughter about one or two sows a month. They are generally reserved months ahead of time by chefs and individuals who are into charcuterie. I have standing orders from chefs for the huge bellies and the big hams & shoulders are also in high demand.

See:
http://sugarmtnfarm.com/2011/05/16/old-sow/

-Walter
 
Rhys Firth
Posts: 120
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Old Kunekunes? Yummy streaky bacon and DELISH hams, plus the pork belly slow roasted is lovely too.

I wouldn't make chops out of them unless you want casseroled chops or the like. Definitely a case of long and low and slow cooking, not a quick fry up.


P.S. I'm in NZ where Kunekunes originated as a breed, plenty down here and I've had them before. they're QUITE different to industrialised Large White or Landrace types, for all their fat under the skin et all, they are a leaner actual meat once trimmed, so leave some fat on while cooking.
 
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