Planning to have a big feast and considering getting a whole pig? You've come to the right place! We're about to embark on a whole hog buying guide that will lead you through the entire process of ordering a farm-raised pig, from the initial deposit right up to the final invoice. With the average whole hog costing about $600-$750, you might be wondering what you get for your money.
Well, a lot of mouth-watering meat, that's what! We're talking per pound, a bundle of delectable pork cuts that a butcher will carefully package for you. You also have the choice to go for whole or half, depending on your needs. Then comes the hanging weight, the basis of your butcher's process cost, usually around $350-$400.
Ready to dive deeper into this meaty subject? Stick with us, we're just getting started!
What Things Should I Consider When Buying Whole Pig?
Size of the Pig: When purchasing a whole or half hog, the weight of the pig is a key consideration. Pigs can range from 250-300 pounds, and this will significantly influence the amount of meat you take home.
Type of Cuts: The variety of retail cuts you can get from a whole pig is vast. From the belly (hello, bacon!) to the rib section, each cut offers a unique taste experience. Boneless or bone-in options can also vary, so consider your cooking preferences.
Processing Options: Are you a sausage fan, or do you prefer your pork uncured? Your butcher can tailor the cuts and processing to your preferences, whether you want to cure your bacon or reserve some cuts for sausage.
Yield: It's essential to understand the yield from a whole pig. Ordering a whole pig doesn't mean you're getting 250-300 pounds of meat. A large portion of the weight is lost during the butchering process due to the removal of bones, organs, and fat.
Amount of Meat: If you're ordering a whole pig, be prepared for a lot of meat. Think about storage capacity, as you'll need a sizeable freezer to accommodate your purchase.
Availability: The availability of whole hogs can vary based on the farm's production cycle, and it may require a deposit to reserve your pig. Plan ahead and check with your supplier about the best time to place your order.
Organ Meats: Don't forget about the organ meats! These can offer a different flavor profile and are often overlooked. If you're adventurous with your cooking, you can request these when you order.
Variation in Weight: Remember, the size and weight of the pig can fluctuate, so the amount of meat you receive might vary. This is a typical part of buying whole or half hogs.
Each of these factors plays a role in your whole hog purchase decision, ensuring you get the most out of your investment.
Where to Buy Whole Pig?
Deciding where to buy a whole pig is as vital as choosing the cut of meat you want to roast. Here are some of the most common places to make your purchase:
One of the best places to purchase a whole pig is directly from a local farm. You'll find a wide selection of breeds and have the assurance of knowing exactly where your meat is coming from.
These are facilities that offer a range of custom processes, including cut and wrap services, for whole animals. Be sure to confirm that the processor can handle a half or whole pig, as not all facilities can manage larger quantities.
Some slaughterhouses sell directly to consumers, allowing you to choose your pig based on live weight. This ensures you receive a fresh, whole pig that's ready for your custom processing preferences.
Yes, even whole pigs are available online now! Several trusted retailers specialize in farm-fresh meats, giving you the convenience of a whole pig delivered to your doorstep.
No matter where you choose to make your purchase, it's essential to verify the quality of the pig and understand how it was raised and processed. A well-chosen whole pig can be the centerpiece of an incredible roast, so take the time to make your selection carefully.
Best Pig Recipes You Can Try With Whole Pig
To help you get started with your culinary adventures after purchasing your whole pig, here are three fantastic recipes that can be prepared with various cuts.
1. Succulent Roast Pork Belly
- 2 lb of pork belly
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil
- 1 head of garlic, halved
- Few sprigs of fresh thyme
- 2 cups of chicken stock
- Preheat your oven to 350°F (180°C). Season the pork belly with salt and pepper, ensuring to rub it into the skin and flesh.
- Heat the olive oil in a roasting pan on the stovetop. Add the pork belly, skin side down, and cook for about 5 minutes or until the skin is golden brown.
- Flip the pork belly, then add the garlic and thyme to the pan. Pour in the chicken stock.
- Transfer the pan to the preheated oven and roast for 2 hours. The pork should be tender and the skin crispy. Let it rest before slicing.
2. Classic Pulled Pork
- 4-5 lb pork shoulder
- 1 tablespoon of paprika
- 1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 2 cups of barbecue sauce
- 2 cups of apple cider vinegar
- Mix paprika, cayenne, salt, and pepper in a bowl to create a spice rub. Apply this rub generously all over the pork shoulder.
- Place the seasoned pork in a slow cooker. Pour the barbecue sauce and apple cider vinegar over the pork.
- Cover and cook on low for about 8 hours, or until the pork is tender enough to be shredded with a fork.
- Remove the pork from the slow cooker and shred it, discarding any excess fat. Mix in some of the sauce left in the cooker to keep the pulled pork moist.
3. Sticky BBQ Pork Ribs
- 2 racks of pork ribs
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 2 cups of barbecue sauce
- 1/4 cup of brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar
- Preheat your oven to 275°F (135°C). Season the ribs with salt and pepper.
- Combine the barbecue sauce, brown sugar, and apple cider vinegar to make the glaze.
- Brush the ribs with half of the glaze, then wrap them tightly in aluminum foil. Place them on a baking sheet and roast in the oven for 2.5-3 hours.
- Unwrap the ribs carefully (the steam will be hot) and brush on the remaining glaze. Increase the oven temperature to 350°F (180°C) and roast for an additional 15 minutes, or until the glaze is sticky and caramelized. Allow to rest before serving.
These recipes are sure to delight and surprise your guests, showcasing the full range of flavors that a whole pig has to offer.
How Much Freezer Space for a Whole Pig?
When you order a whole pig, it's crucial to have adequate freezer space to store it. A whole hog would be approximately 140-200 pounds of packaged meat. Generally, you'll need about 6-7 cubic feet of freezer space. It's roughly equivalent to four large coolers. To maximize storage, ensure your freezer is organized and ready before your meat arrives.
What is Hanging Weight?
Hanging weight is the weight of an animal after it has been slaughtered and the inedible parts have been removed, but before it has been cut and packaged. This is the weight on which many farms base their prices. For instance, if a pig's hanging weight is 180 pounds, that's the weight the farmer would use to send you an invoice.
How Do I Give Cut Instructions?
When you buy a whole pig, you can often specify how you want your meat cut. Your butcher may provide a form for you to fill out, or they may discuss it with you directly. This allows you to customize the cuts of bacon and ham, among other meats, according to your preference. Just remember, your instructions must be given before the processing date.
Can I Inspect the Pig Before It's Added to My Cart?
Absolutely! If you're purchasing directly from a farm or processor, they should allow you to inspect the pig before buying. This enables you to ensure you're happy with the selection and the quality of the meat you're getting. However, this might not be possible if you're ordering online.
How is the Final Price Determined?
The final price of a whole pig is usually based on the actual hanging weight. Once your pig is slaughtered and cleaned, it's weighed, and this weight forms the basis of the cost. Your butcher or farm will then send you an invoice for this amount, minus any deposit you've already paid. Keep in mind, processing costs are typically added to this.
Explore the world of whole pig buying in our latest guide. From answering "how much does a whole pig cost" to cooking recipes, we've got you covered!
Purchasing a whole pig can be a rewarding experience, offering a bounty of delicious cuts and the opportunity to explore a variety of pork recipes. It's also a great way to support local farmers and processors.
As you embark on this culinary adventure, remember to plan ahead and make the most of your purchase. After all, a whole pig is more than just a sum of its parts, it's an investment in good eating!
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