Butcher them backwards,” I heard him say.
You see, my friends in Florida have been skinning and butchering hogs for a long time. Being Florida’s biggest rodent has some upsides for the hunters:
- Wild boar are always in season, easy for a vacation hunting.
- Wild boar are plentiful, making them easy to find.
- Wild boar are a nuisance to local farmers and ranchers, it’s easy to find a place to hunt hogs, you might even convince local farmers to let you help them thin their herd.
- Wild boar taste good, making them a welcome guest in the outdoorsman’s freezer.
This list can continue with all the upsides, but when it’s all said and done… You still have to butcher the hog. Not always a bad experience, but I’m here to help you have a great experience. So I’m going to reveal a potentially cleaner and less smelly way to butcher a hog.
“It’s like slipping off a backless gown,” my buddy said.
“Funny,” I replied. “I pictured you as the strapless kind’a fella.”
We both giggled and looked down at the hog.
“So where do we start?” I asked
He looked at me as the process began and asked, “Have you ever butchered a hog backwards?”
I looked at him strangely, “what do you mean?”
“Well,” he began, “have you butcher a hog from the spine?”
“Before skinning them?… No,” I just wasn’t sure what he was getting at.
“Instead of spilling the guts, sometimes I like to just…” He looked left and right and leaned in with a whisper. “I leave them in. The truth is, unless you have to carry him out of the woods under your arm, there’s no reason to lighten the hog. And when you get home you can just unzip them from the back, take out the goodies, and be done.”
“That sounds like some kind of cheating. I thought you had to get really messy.” Now I felt like my philosophy was somehow inadequate. “Could you please show me what you mean?” I gave him my best smile, which may or may not have caused a little hesitation, after which he told me his secret and now the secrets between me and him… And you.
“Step one; I start here, right over the tail on his back. I slice in through the skin and straight up the spine. At the back of the head I make turned down front of the front leg. I finish up by slicing down the back of the back leg.
Step two; use your knife and hands to pull away the skin and drape it across the animal’s belly.
Step three; remove the meat!”
“Wow,” I said looking at the simple cut that reminded me of opening the box more than butchering an animal. He must have exercised his secret one or two times because I saw he was pretty good at it. “That’s not a lot to remember. You could even combine steps one and two, making it a two-step process!”
He looked at me, “I would, but it’s easier to cut away from yourself when you stand at the spine of the animal.”
“Pretty smart,” I said looking down at the scars on my left thumb and forefinger. I hadn’t always followed those rules. “Three steps is easy to remember.” My wife shook her head at me.
“I’ll remember,” she said. “It’s quite a pile of meat we got here,” a smile lit her face. “It’s barbecue time…” She looked at her hands and frowned, “you boys don’t look like you just butchered a hog, but you better wash your hands with Sport-Wash anyway.” She handed us the bottle of Atsko’s finest and we strode to the sink.
“Your Wife is serious about being clean,” my buddy said.
I looked at him and held up my hands, “We’re about to eat Hoga’Q. I’m afraid of pork sashimi.”
“I like sushi!” he grinned, and then frowned, “but not that kind… Hand me Sport-Wash.”
P.S. Florida hog makes the best, slightly charred and juicy, barbecue! It has less fat than farm raised pork because its meat was made in the wild. In Florida, that’s a Palmetto berry & acorn pig. In Spain they call that Jamon (Ham’on) it’s $56 a pound, around $1000 a leg after it’s cured.
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