Deboning with my third hand…
Kinsley asked on What is a Half Pig Share:
If a pigs live weight is 800 lb is there a way to estimate the hanging weight?
Yes. Based on a lot thousands of pigs over the past 13 years I find that yield with scald and scrape on our pigs I get the following with our market size pigs in the 250 to 350 lb range:
Hanging Weight = 72% Live Weight
The way the meat was cut at the butcher for years we got a yield from there of:
Commercial Cuts = 67% Hanging Weight
Commercial Cuts = 48% Live Weight
However! There is a lot of good meat between the hanging weight (HW) and the commercial cuts weights (CW). These we call the oddments. They don’t sell well in the stores but they’re good eating. This is mostly what our farm family eats. Shoemaker’s children and all that.
This means that $2.88/lb based on Live Weight (LW) is about $4.00/lb based on hanging Weight (HW) for comparison between the two common pricing methods. Live weight is generally used at auctions while hanging weight is generally used when buying carcasses from a farmer or butcher.
Wholesale prices are based on Commercial Cuts Weight (CW) includes the cost of the processing and the losses in the cutting resulting in about $6/lb. If you’re buying a whole pig this is about the price per pound. Buying the whole pig gives you the lowest price per pig plus all the oddments. See the order form on the Literature Page for details.
Retail pricing is again a little higher to give the store the profit margin they need to maintain the inventory, coolers, rent, taxes, pay employees, etc so figure about $8 to $9 per pound for the same cuts at the grocery store. (Keep in mind that all of these are 2016 prices so adjust for inflation if you’re reading this article at some point in the future.)
One of the interesting things with doing the cutting ourselves in our own on-farm butcher shop is I’ve improved the yield to commercial cuts by another 7% to 14% yielding because I cut exactly to our specifications gaining just a little more yield. This now gives:
Commercial Cuts = 77% Hanging Weight
Commercial Cuts = 55% Live Weight
This extra margin is one of the little things that helps to pay for the construction of the butcher shop at Sugar Mountain Farm.
An 800 lb pig may have a slightly worse yield if it is fatty and possibly a slightly better yield for well muscled leaned boars. There is also variation with the breeds to a small degree.
It’s important to know the conversion as it takes care of the gut contents (offal) which is reflected in how the hogs are priced. Auctions will do live weight. Butchers hanging weight. In general – exceptions are of course.
It is also important to know the method of slaughter: scald & scrape vs skinning as they have different yields. With scald and scrape you keep the skin which protects the meat, gives more available fat and the skin is edible – ask for it on roasts.
The photo at the top shows me deboning a pig using all three of my hands. I’m using the bottom edge of my ribs to grip the carcass rib cage as I slice the ribs and spine out of the side of pork leaving the shoulder, side pork, loin and sirloin all intact. I debone most of the pork I cut as it goes to stores that mostly prefer bone-out cuts.
Outdoors: 60°F/53°F Partially Sunny
Tiny Cottage: 60°F/57°F
Daily Spark: Peter Peter pumpking eater had a house and couldn’t heater her. So he added more thermal mass and let physics do the job with ease.