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Bringing pigs to a slaughterhouse, bringing back pork...in relation to aging meat

 
Gene Water
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Location: Northeast IL
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Hi, novice question, no pigs yet, just planning things. We're looking forward to raising a couple feeders, and doing them in will likely mean bringing them to a slaughterhouse. My question is, do they hang the meat at the slaughterhouse to age it? Or do we get the cuts back and it's up to us to let everything rest in the fridge prior to freezing? How does all that work?

I know there's some debate whether or not a younger pig needs hanging. I'm going per an article on pigsite.com, which was linked from the Sugar Mountain website.
 
Adam Hoar
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Most butchers I know don't hang pork, you get the fresh pork back as soon as they are done cutting it up (a few days at most) then either the butcher or you brings the cuts you want smoked to the smoker for curing and cutting you pick that up from the smoker whenever they are done which can be a week, could be months....
 
Gene Water
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Thanks for the response, Adam.
 
Kelly Smith
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Gene Water wrote:. My question is, do they hang the meat at the slaughterhouse to age it? Or do we get the cuts back and it's up to us to let everything rest in the fridge prior to freezing? How does all that work?


in my experience (our neighbor raises pigs, we buy 2 full hogs a year), the animals comes back from the butcher frozen in individual packages,
if you have the butch cure/smoke parts of the meat, the rest of the pork will generally sit in their freezer until it is all ready to be picked up.



 
elle sagenev
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Location: Zone 5 Wyoming
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I think this depends on the butcher. The first thing you do is find a good one, because they aren't all the same. I'd suggest calling your local 4-H for info on that. They generally know which are good and which aren't.

Anyway, we've had meat frozen, unfrozen, etc. Depends on the butcher, as I said. If you have a preference certainly let it be known. We like to keep all the bones for our dogs and we've had family request to keep the head so they could age it for decor purposes. I think a good butcher would probably be willing to discuss this with you and would probably be willing to oblige any requests you had, so long as they were reasonable.
 
Gene Water
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Thanks for the responses, guys. Can I ask, do you notice any difference between frozen pork and aged, or do you let it sit out in the fridge for a while after defrosting?
 
Kelly Smith
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i always assume the pork hung at my butchers for a few days (2-5?) before it was cut, but i guess i could be wrong.

we dont let it sit any longer than needed to defrost.
 
Walter Jeffries
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Gene Water wrote:Hi, novice question, no pigs yet, just planning things. We're looking forward to raising a couple feeders, and doing them in will likely mean bringing them to a slaughterhouse. My question is, do they hang the meat at the slaughterhouse to age it? Or do we get the cuts back and it's up to us to let everything rest in the fridge prior to freezing? How does all that work?


This varies with the butcher. I've done testing that showed hanging pork improves the quality just like with beef and other species. More recently scientific research has backed this up. We hang for about a week. Ask your butcher if they'll hang. Hot cutting is very bad and will result in tough meat. It should at least be hung for a day, three is better, five hits into the sweet spot.

Doing it in the fridge after cutting is second best and better than just freezing.

See:

http://sugarmtnfarm.com/2007/08/24/hanging-around/

-Walter
 
Gene Water
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Location: Northeast IL
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Walter, I saw that page on your website, that's what I'm going by, very helpful.

I was wondering, why do you send out to slaughter if you're doing your own butchering? Is that a USDA requirement for retail? For pig, we'll keep one and sell the other to friends in bits and pieces...not really for sure yet about all the legality stuff there. I looked up chickens, though. Seems we could process our own chickens for retail w/o license if we do less than, well, way more than we're ever hoping to grow in a year.
 
Walter Jeffries
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Gene Water wrote:I was wondering, why do you send out to slaughter if you're doing your own butchering? Is that a USDA requirement for retail?


We are building our USDA/State inspected on-farm meat processing facility in phases.

First we built the shell of the building as one unified structure. This makes it energy efficient and tight against vermin.

The most expensive part of hired processing is the butchering, the meat cutting and packing. This is also the least expensive portion of the facility to finish off first. Thus we finished off the butcher shop portion where we cut the carcasses to chops and such first so that now we are saving that high cost of butchering.

Then we added sausage making which has added regulatory complications but is a minor addition to the process.

Next we'll add smoking which is the next most expensive part of the processing.

Later we'll add the slaughter which is the least expensive part to have someone else do and the most expensive part to finish off in the building.

By breaking the project up into phases it makes it so that we can afford to do it financially and also makes it so that we only take on a small chunk of new learning with each phase. This keeps it all manageable and affordable.

For those curious about how we built our own facility see:

http://SugarMtnFarm.com/butchershop

-Walter
 
Gene Water
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Location: Northeast IL
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Excellent, thank you.
 
Wes Hunter
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Walter Jeffries wrote:This varies with the butcher. I've done testing that showed hanging pork improves the quality just like with beef and other species. More recently scientific research has backed this up. We hang for about a week. Ask your butcher if they'll hang. Hot cutting is very bad and will result in tough meat. It should at least be hung for a day, three is better, five hits into the sweet spot.

Doing it in the fridge after cutting is second best and better than just freezing.

See:

http://sugarmtnfarm.com/2007/08/24/hanging-around/

-Walter


I've always read that pork (and bear meat, for those who hunt them) ought not be hung on account of the fat going rancid. Any comment?

That said, two years ago we had taken three pigs in, and it took longer than it should have for them to call us to tell us it was ready. When I showed up to pay and collect the meat, I noticed that the butcher's copy of the cut sheet said "Mold--discard" next to "neck bones" for one of the pigs (which they conveniently failed to mention). Clearly that pig, at least, had hung long enough to develop enough mold for bits to be thrown out, yet the rest of the meat was fine.
 
Walter Jeffries
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Wes Hunter wrote:I've always read that pork (and bear meat, for those who hunt them) ought not be hung on account of the fat going rancid. Any comment?


Rates of rancidity depend on what you feed and the temperatures at which you hang. We have not had any problem and we've hung thousands of pig carcasses for a week over the past decade. The latest scientific research mirrors my field experiments that hanging pork improves quality just like with sheep, beef, etc.

Wes Hunter wrote:That said, two years ago we had taken three pigs in, and it took longer than it should have for them to call us to tell us it was ready. When I showed up to pay and collect the meat, I noticed that the butcher's copy of the cut sheet said "Mold--discard" next to "neck bones" for one of the pigs (which they conveniently failed to mention). Clearly that pig, at least, had hung long enough to develop enough mold for bits to be thrown out, yet the rest of the meat was fine.


This suggests the butcher has a dirty cooler, warm cooler, poor ventilation, poor circulation - one or more of those, possibly all of those as they stack. When they hang beef they trim off any mold. When they hang prosciutto and country hams they also trim. Might have been an issue, might not. Too little data to know.

Cheers,

-Walter
 
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