Monday, February 1, 2010

NJ and Midwest trip

I was away for a few weeks. I'm back now and busy trying to catch up.

I attended Mosefund's 2010 Pigstock. Michael Clampffer put on two very good 3-day events. If you ever need someone to organize an educational pig-slaughter and processing class, Michael is the man, and Mosefund has the sort of farm to make it work.

After NJ, I went to Hermann Missouri while the Wiesners consulted with Swiss Meats staff about how to improve their slaughter and processing so that we get more out of each pig.

Within the first hour of Christoph being in the plant, we identified several things that they can (and will) do to improve the quality of the pork they produce. We were even able to get the manager of the kill floor into the cutting room (where he learned how to cut pigs with seam butchery techniques) so that he now sees why the details of stunning, sticking, bleeding, gambreling, leaf lard removal, cooling and splitting are so important to what happens in the cutting and processing room.

Swiss Meats will be making cured products for Wooly Pigs using the same recipes and methods that the Wiesners use at their home. I think that's fantastic.

Once Swiss gets the process down, they'll be able to kill and process Mangalitsas into products under one roof, which is efficient and should lead to them being experts in Mangalitsa processing - which means we ought to get more out of each pig. Given that meat comes from intelligent living creatures, I think it is important to make the most of them.

I'm hoping that when St. Louis restaurants find out that Swiss has so much expertise, they'll buy non-Mangalitsa pigs from Swiss, cut and processed they way we do our pigs.

After visiting Swiss, I visited one of the farms in the Midwest that produces for Wooly Pigs. While we were there, we decided to slaughter a small pig. I'd seen it done so many times on my trip that I was able to stick the pig and get it to bleed out (without causing pericardium - a first for me). With my help, the farmer's family got the hair off and guts out. We removed the tenderloins and cheeks and ate those immediately. Having watched Christoph break down about 10 pigs in the last two weeks, I was able to break the pig into its major parts easily. We got some roasting immediately and put the rest in the freezer.

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