I'm going to be slaughtering a pig for a pig roast next week, and am trying to figure out the best time to do him in. I'll be killing, scalding, scraping, and eviscerating, then hanging him up to chill before delivery. The folks doing the actual roasting want the pig by 2:00 Thursday; they are roasting overnight (though I'm not sure exactly when they're starting) for an event Friday (evening, I assume).
The pig will be somewhere around 175 lb. live weight, give or take. I found a chart that says that rigor mortis onset in pigs is 6-12 hours, with resolution in 1-2 days. It is not clear if this is 1-2 days from slaughter, or 1-2 days from the onset of rigor.
Now for weather. Monday--high of 62, low of 47. Tuesday--high of 64, low of 50. Wednesday--high of 64, low of 50. Those are a little warm for comfort, though since we're not in the city our lows, at least, will likely be a few degrees cooler than stated. I've got a garage I can hang him in, to keep him out of the sun. I could throw a couple bags of ice in the cavity to keep him cool. I've also got a large used convenience store stand-alone refrigerator that ought to hold him, though he'd be a little scrunched.
So when should I slaughter the pig, taking into account all these variables? I want to kill him early enough for resolution of rigor before roasting, but not so early as to risk spoilage from the relatively warm weather. Thoughts?
Hi Wes; 60 + down to 45-50 F just seems to warm to safely hang pork for more than a day or at all... especially pork. When its that warm I start butcher deer and elk the next day and try to finish within 3 days max. I think you need that commercial fridge running . Packing ice inside might help start the cooling process. But I would get your piggy in that fridge asap. If you use the fridge butcher early and then you won't have to deal with how long rigor lasts. My personal guess is not long at all but I do not butcher my own hogs myself. EDIT; Now that I think about it, I have never noticed wild game having a rigor period ... I'm sure they must though... of course normally they are frozen by the next morning and we have to thaw them out to butcher. My opinion is that your selling this... so don't take chances , REFRIGERATE !
The recommended temperature is <45 degrees f for storage and or aging pork.
For the butchering the temps you listed are ok, just not ideal. Once you have gotten through the evisceration you will need to chill it down as quickly as is possible.
The rigor resolution is timed from the onset of rigor not death. The rigor will dissipate faster if you get it properly chilled quickly.
Like Thomas stated Get that hog chilled fast! If you don't have a way to chill the hog, you are just asking for trouble.
Also you should know you will be liable should anything happen to the people who eat that hog, since you are selling it butchered.
You are also opening yourself up to state litigation (all states have butchered meat for sale regulations) for selling without the proper licensing.
I sell pork on the hoof only, if someone wants a pig roast, they have to kill it themselves, keeps me out of trouble with the laws of Arkansas that way.
This is from the State of Missouri Meat and Poultry Inspection division
Custom Exempt Operation
9 CFR 303.1 exempts the custom preparation of carcasses, meat or meat food products derived from the slaughter of cattle, sheep swine, goats or game animals from official inspection. However, custom operations are subject to sanitary inspection by the Missouri Meat and Poultry Inspection Program.
To engage in custom preparation of such products, the following requirements must be met:
1.Livestock must be raised by the owner and delivered to the processing plant for custom preparation.
2.The custom prepared articles must be exclusively for use in the owner’s household by members of his household, nonpaying guests and employees.
3.The custom-prepared products must be kept separate and apart from inspected products.
4.Immediately after preparation and until delivered to the customer, the carcasses or other prepared custom articles must be clearly marked "NOT FOR SALE."
5.Official establishments engaging in custom operation must maintain records pertaining to the custom operation. The records shall include:
1.Name and address of the customer.
2.Species and weight of animals slaughtered.
3.Kind and weight of items prepared.
This sounds a lot like Arkansas law, so be sure that pork won't give anyone a reason to notify the authorities.
Best of all, deliver it alive and let them do the work. The other option would be to get them to sign a waiver that states they know what they are getting into by buying non inspected meat, butchered in a non inspected situation.