Wednesday, December 14, 2011

I Might Have Messed Up On This One

One of the most sought after times of the year for me is Fall/Winter. It is where all the good cooking happens.

Last spring I built a cold smoker so I could smoke my own bacon, hams and sausage. All summer I saw it just sitting there, not being used. I have been biting at the bit for fall to get here so I can finally make my own bacon.

Just like all store bought foods, bacon is really not bacon. The pigs that are bred for slaughter are not fed for great tasting meat, they are bred and fed for production and profit.
The store bought bacon is pumped with water to create more poundage. That is the reason the store brand decreases in size so much when you cook it. All you are buying is water with a little meat in it. 

If you do not know, bacon comes from the belly cut of the pig, hence pork belly. There was a time when I could get this cut for almost nothing. Now at best in my area the price is $2.59 a pound. I can buy already cured and smoked cheap bacon at that cost. One meat market says it is because of the fuel prices and another says it is because all those dang cooking shows are driving the price up as a specialty cut.
I searched and called every meat market within 100 miles and the prices were all close to the same.
We are only one generation removed from doing all this ourselves. Most of our grandparents and even our parents always had a hog or two around the farm to feed up for the winter processing, curing and smoking. They new the importance of stocking up and preparing because their life depended on it. Plus the tastes from fresh homegrown meat is so much more favorable than any other you can buy. The old timers say once you had real bacon you will never buy that store bought crap again.

This is where I might have messed up. Being I could not find pork belly at a reasonable price and being I do not like store bought bacon and also being I am almost out of bacon, ham and sausage from our last pig, I bought two more pigs.
Last time I was able to go in halves on a pig with a friend and my half came to me in real nice little packages. I did not have to feed it, water it, kill it or process it. For the money it was a deal I could not pass up. Now I have two more mouths to feed and a bunch of work to do.    
Meet Red Pig and White Pig

This was a rookie mistake. I let my pride get in the way on this decision.
"$2.59 a pound, they can kiss my butt. I will just go buy my own pigs" was my attitude last night driving to the sell.
On the way home it was a little different. I realized I did not have a pen and I did not have a shelter for them, I was completely unprepared.
The first and number one rule in animal husbandry is to be prepared for your new arrivals. If I was to practice what I preach, I would not be shooting from the hip. Needless to say, this weekend will be all about pigs.       


  1. My wife is thinking of letting me get a pig. Although she is the ag business major, I'll be caring for it.

    MMMMMMM Bacon.

  2. G - Oh Fun, Fun

    Mudbug - I just did it. I told the wife to get in the truck or stay home, but I was getting a pig.

  3. Can't wait to see what you build for them, MDR. You always do a great job! I think you should have name them Ham and Bacon, or Pork Chop and Sparerib. LOL

  4. We raised pigs for 4-H for 7-8 years. They are great fun and a good project for kids. You are right, store bought is garbage compared to farm raised pigs. Ours were raised on grain because they were for 4-H, but my DH raised them all growing up and they will eat all kinds of things. just remember, that what you feed them will ultimately result in either inferior or superior meat. If you have a good processor, that's even better. I like how ours smokes the bacon and ham hocks, but we do not care for his sausage, so now we make our own out of the pork shoulder, and even the unsmoked ham, because we are not huge pork eaters unless it is bacon, made into sausage and it is even better if you smoke your sausage. Happy pigging.

  5. Your mistakes, our entertainment. Thanks buddy.

  6. Rob wins.
    MDR, I do like you said, and that is why my well house has a heater, internet, lights, and plumbing. It's almost cozy there when she kicks me out for my "end of the world nuttiness."

  7. Rob DOES win - bahahah! oh MDR - you know that you are here to teach us!!! we have 2 more days to finish up our white-trash's been too windy and rainy to work on it this past few days, but then i promise that you will be laughing at us! and i mean laughing your fool head off as you build a home for those pigs. good on ya buddy! it is so long since i had proper pork/bacon/ham that i haven't bothered eating it for years!

    can't wait to hear about your upcoming adventures. good thing BEB is home to help you out - bahahahah!

    love ya buddy!
    your friend,

  8. I can tell that the next couple of weeks is going to be both entertaining and educational!

    I'm gonna sit back and enjoy the learning experience! Good luck, buddy!

  9. Oh this could be good. Donkeys AND pigs. Lol

  10. HB - I think I am going to rehab the buck pen into a pig pen until they are big enough where I can let them out and free range.
    I thought about the names Pig and Gip

    Rose - I have had pigs my whole life up until we moved to 5 years ago. This is the first ones I have gotten to feed up while off the farm. The kids every year still had and have show pigs but they are up at the Ag barn.

    Rob - Yes is will be fun.

    Mudbug - My work shop is a future build and do plan to have a place to sleep off to one side for those special occasions.

    Kymber - I hope it stops raining enough so we can do something. It came a flood last night. I have the pigs in the dog pen right now.
    I can't wait to see your porch.

    HJ - This is not my first rodeo with pigs. It is just my first time I have been so unprepared so sit back and enjoy. It should be some good entertainment.

    SFG - OK, I agree the donkeys were a mistake into themselves. At first thought I was going to put the pigs in with the chickens but remembered that pigs eat chickens so that was out.

  11. It'll work out. Got your hog lasso handy...