Have you been looking for a half or whole hog purchase to fill the freezer?
Lots of folks every year wish to buy half and whole pigs from us to fill the freezer. This is a great, economical way to get a lot of protein in bulk all at once.
Here’s the problem with buying a half or whole pig: You wind up with a lot of fat!
Let’s use a 200lb pig as an example for easy math:
200lbs Live Weight
After being killed, bled, organs removed, and hide scraped(or skinned depending on processor) we’re looking at about 150 lbs. This is what is known as Hanging Weight. Hanging weight is approximately around 75% of live weight. It’s the weight of the hog all ready to be processed into cuts. This is often the price per lb that you pay when buying a whole/half pig, and one of the primary metrics butchers use when charging for cutting and wrapping.
That means, that you’re paying for the bones, meat, the head, feet, muscles and fat.
Then, the hog will be processed into different cuts and we’ll wind up with a “Cutting Weight”, or “Retail Weight”. This can vary between 50-75% of the Hanging Weight.
- Let’s say we turn our hog that has a hanging weight of 150lbs into the most common traditional variety of cuts. Bone in hams, ham steaks, smoked shoulders, bacon, ribs, and bone in pork chops. We can rough figure to expect approximately 112lbs of meat back. That’s 112lbs of cuts, with the bones in, possibly skin on, etc. We’re looking at around 75% of the hanging weight, because we’re taking bones, skin, fat, etc along with the meat.
- Now let’s say we do something different and bone out the entire animal and turn the whole thing into sausage! Now we should expect something closer to the 50% yield of hanging weight. In this example, our 150lb hanging weight hog would yield about 75lbs of sausages.
The big difference is the loss of bones, skin, etc that aren’t in the sausage. Another thing to mention, not all of the fat from the hog can be put into sausages. So even if we turned the whole hog into sausage, you could still end up with a bundle of pure fat leftover as part of that 75lbs. Meaning you may only have 65lbs of sausage, and 10lbs of fat and organ meats.
Using the examples above, we can see a big difference in the variation in customers perceived volume of cuts they could be getting back.
“I paid for $x.xx for 150lbs, but I only got 65 lbs of sausage and 10lbs of fat! Either the butcher or the farmer stole my meat or is ripping me off!”
While this isn’t likely true, perceptions can have lasting impressions. We’ve been trying to better articulate this for years.
Here’s a few things we’ve learned from our customers:
- Most customers interested in half/whole pigs wish to do so out of food security and savings concerns. Buying in bulk saves money. Having some food security is sensible in an ever volatile and changing world.
- Most customers are happy with the standard diversity of cuts they are used to seeing in the grocery store.
- If a customer has a special item cut, it tends to be just 1 or 2 special cuts. Such as a center cut roast, that might have otherwise been pork chops. Or fresh ham hocks that otherwise would have been smoked. These kinds of cuts can be arranged with the farmer, and shouldn’t necessarily necessitate the purchase of a whole/half pig.
- Customers value simplicity. Both in the variety of cuts, and the pricing structure. We all love to know what we’re going to get. I’m a consumer as well.
- While most customers over the years have amazing intentions of utilizing the whole hog, from nose to tail, many find that they have been over ambitious. Making your own head cheese, sausages, bone broth, meals, lard, etc etc. So many projects, so little time. Many homesteads can’t utilize all the additional fat they receive unless cooking with it constantly or rendering down for crafts like soaps.
We want to make things easier for folks to invest in larger bulk packages without all the uncertainty while still having access to specialty items when you’re ready for them.
50lb Super Sampler with a variety of cuts from all part of the animal! Just like getting a half pig without all the things you don’t want.
6 packages Bone In Pork Chops
8 pkgs Uncured Smoked Bacon
1-2 Smoked Shoulders
1-2 Ham Hocks
2 pkgs Country Style Ribs
4-5 Ham Steaks
8-10 pkgs Sausage links
Because there are variations in individual packages, amounts are approximate. However, you will still get 50lbs of delicious cuts. The general ratio above will be followed, but you may find slightly more or less of a particular item depending on individual cut size differences.