Remember that window of opportunity I mentioned before? It closed a bit. The weather warmed up unexpectedly and a friend I assumed (terrible things, assumptions) would be able to help the day after killing the pig can’t make it. So it’s down to me and Her Outdoors – which is Entirely Appropriate as it could be our last ever pig.
But I’m getting ahead of myself.
The day before you kill your pig, you want to get your brine ready. We use a very clean plastic dustbin. Into this, we pour the brine roughly according to this recipe (which is roughly based on Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s with a bit of a John Seymour influence). I’m copying this straight out of Her Outdoors’ notes:
12 litres water
3.5 kg salt
1 kg brown sugar
2 big dollops treacle
2 beers (Guiness this time)
bag of spices (bay leaf, nutmeg, cloves, black peppercorns, juniper)
Bring to boil (and boil for 10 mins), leave to cool with spice bag in
If the weather’s with you, it should cool in time. It’s still a little warm at the moment, but I went ahead with killing the pig today, and I’ll use freezer blocks to bring the temperature down tomorrow. The brine should be (from memory) under 5C. It should drop to 7C tonight but it’s still warmer than I would like, ideally.
Unwary vegetarians look away now: The pig was killed with a shot to the head, immediately bled, and de-haired using scalding water and an old piece of scythe blade. We had to improvise a table using a ladder on blocks, and he was gutted and left overnight to cool. The pig man agreed he’s about 150 kg, which means tomorrow is going to be full and tiring.
Excuse, in advance, the lack of wit in the posts for this week. It takes time to be witty, and that is something that will be in short supply.