The deed has finally been done. They had escaped just once too often – instead of jumping over the fence they had now started burrowing under. At 115kgs and 8 months old, they were also ready. Yes, the pigs are now pork. As I now look at the empty pig field, I feel a twinge of sadness. It was quite funny to see them scurrying around their paddock but we got them to eat and they weren’t pets. It was just as well we didn’t even get to like them that much, what with their escaping and grunting and ear-splitting squealing. That made the end much easier.
In short, they were killed one day, hung up overnight and then butchered the next. The butchering was the most traumatic as the butcher was producing cuts of meat at a hectic pace and me and Jackie were feverishly trying to label and bag various bits and put them in the freezer. We very quickly realised that Portuguese butchery is very different to British. If we hadn’t stepped in to change things, the two pigs would have been completely converted into costelletas (chops), febras (steaks), entremeadas (bellies) and entrecostos (ribs) as that is the way it’s done here. As it was, we managed to save various larger pieces which we deemed ‘roasts’, some of which will also become sausages and a leg which is now resting in brine and shall become ham. We also have a few other bits and pieces such as liver, kidneys, trotters etc.
I have to say the butcher was very surprised but happy to receive the heads and a few more unsavoury bits and pieces. Making brawn was just one step too far at this juncture.
All in all we now have two freezers, packed with 135 kgs of prime pork. Financially, it is difficult to put a price on it as we would certainly say our pork is far more valuable than the stuff we would ordinarily buy in the supermarket. But even based on supermarket prices we could say that we have broken even (not taking the pigpen construction costs into account), but this was not the point.
Looking at the sheer volume of meat from these two beast was almost enough to turn Jackie back into a vegetarian. Not quite though, as could be gauged from the satisfied smile on her face as she wiped the plate from the first of many roast dinners. Delish!