While in Mississippi, after the New Year was rung in, my dad and his friends had themselves an old-fashioned hawg killin’. I call it “The Event”. From the actual killing to the butchering, they did it all. They wanted to again experience something of their childhood. They wanted their children and grandchildren to see something they’d only heard about in horror stories.
My dad, aka the Frank, the conqueror of pigs, is the one walking towards the pots with the bucket. I love him beyond reason….
So, here is how you go about a hawg killin’ folks. A quick disclaimer, some of the pictures might be a little…well, I guess much for some. Just want you to know before you keep scrolling down.
First, well, you have to kill the hog. It was explained in the days leading up to “The Event” that there are several ways of killing a hog. The easiest, and method chosen on this day, was to shoot the hogs and then slit the throat. Gruesome…yes. But it’s the way our forefathers got bacon and pork chops so let’s not judge too much.
My dad killed the first two and since he’s not much on killing things he asked our friend Chuck to do the last one. I could write a book on my adventures with Chuck and my dad…but those are stories for another time and this is just another chapter in that book.
After they are dead, the hogs are placed in this here barrel with scalding water in efforts to begin the hair removal process. And the hair MUST be removed in order to have cracklin’ later on.
The hog is then moved closer to the pots of boiling water.
Burlap sacks are soaked in the pots and then placed on the hog to keep the hair soft.
Then you scrap the hair off using a large bladed knife. This took an extremely long time. A painstakingly long time.
After all the hair is removed, the insides, or chitlins, are removed…
and the hog is cut in half. The man with the saw is my family doctor, Dr. Bryant. Oh, the things he and my dad come up with to do. They have a molasses mill in the process of being built, along with the sugar cane growing in a field, in hopes of making their own molasses. We all dream of drizzling that molasses on top of a stack of pancakes one day…one day.
The hog is then moved to the butcher table, where the good doctor and one of the town judges proceed to chop him up. Hmmm…tenderloin. After a hard day of work, the men closed up shop and returned the following morning. They made sausage and put hams in salt boxes, which will later be hung to smoke. It was two very hard days, which my dad vows to never again repeat. But they can watch it over and over because…
Walt Grayson from WLBT news in Jackson came to film “The Event”. I grew up watching him do the weather and going around Mississippi reporting on the Natchez Trace in Fall, historic sights, farming, festivals, etc. He can now add hog killing to his list of things he has seen and recorded. You can’t imagine how I had to hold it together when he drove up, but I did it. It turned out way better than the Pioneer Woman incident I can tell you that. Luckily, we had enough warning that he would be there and I was able to get all the crazy out the night before.
“The Event” made its way onto the news the week after it occurred. When it gets posted online, I’ll put it up.
And now you know how to kill a hog should you ever get the notion.
Waitin’ to eat some fresh bacon,