My Husband grew up in a family that butchered every winter. This family tradition is still going strong with the 4th generation helping. We no longer kill the pigs on site but a butcher shop does it for us and cuts them in halves. The pigs are picked up and that is when the fun begins.
Everyone helps to cut the meat up. Ribs, roasts, boneless sirloin, and pork chops are laid aside in tubs waiting to be wrapped. Pork bellies are placed into brine, put into the cooler to cure for 1 week and then will be smoked in the smokehouse.
The fat is cut into cubes to be cooked into lard. A small amount of water is poured into a large cast iron kettle along with the pork fat cubes. A propane burner is lit under the kettle and the heat is slowly turned higher as the lard begins to cook. This has always been my husband’s job and he does a great job with it.
And then comes decisions — how many different kinds of sausage do we want. Natural hog casing are rinsed of the protective salt solution and placed in fresh water until we are ready to stuff the sausage. Green Pepper and Onion, Jalapeno Cheddar Cheese, and Sun-dried Tomato Basil are some of our favorite kinds to make. Each sausage is linked as it comes off of the stuffing horn. They are then placed into bags, vacuum sealed, and frozen. Breakfast patties, loose Italian Sausage, and Ham-loaf are also made.
Then its time to cook scrapple—a Pennsylvania Dutch Specialty. Pork and Beef Bones are placed in large cast iron kettles along with a few onions and garlic cloves. Water is added to cover all and the kettles are allowed to simmer for 3 hours. Organ meat is added the last hour of cooking. The bones and organs are removed from the kettle and the broth is strained. The meat is removed from the bones and is ground along with the organ meat. Lard is added to a kettle and the ground meat is browned slowly. When it has brown sufficiently, broth and water are added and brought to a boil. Cornmeal and flour are stirred in until the desired thickness is reached. The scrapple is then allowed to cooked for 20 minutes while being stirred continuously. It is dipped into pans and allowed to cool. Then it is time for clean up, the freezers are full, and butchering day is over for another year.
- 10-pounds fresh pork
- 5-pound skinless, boneless turkey thighs*
- 10 jalapenos, cut in half and seeded
- 1 ½ teaspoons red pepper
- 6 tablespoons salt
- 1 ½ tablespoons fennel cracked
- 1 ½ tablespoons ground coriander
- 1 ½ teaspoons black pepper
- 1 ½ teaspoons caraway seed
- 2 cups ice water
- 1 ½ pounds High-temp cheddar cheese
- Combine meats and grind. Mix spices and ice water together. Pour over meat and mix well. Just before stuffing mix in cheddar cheese. Stuff into large casings. Vacuum pack and freeze. Grill. * skinless, boneless chicken thighs may be instead of turkey thighs.