Initial Wet Run

Walter about to break Primals on Skinny Pig

Yesterday I talked about doing our initial dry runs in the butcher shop. We are coming online gradually. Testing out systems. Today was the big day when we actually cut pork – Half a pig worth. This was our initial wet run, christening the butcher shop with pastured pork.

The first pig through the butcher shop was named Skinny Pig because she was not worthy of selling. She appeared to have an intestinal torsion that caused extremely poor weight gain. This happens about one in several hundred pigs, maybe one in a thousand – it’s rare. The result is small muscles and little to no fat. The initial wet run pork would be cut outside of inspection and not for sale so Skinny Pig was the perfect candidate for our first practice run.

Rib End Cutting

Will joked that he was doing the ribbon cutting ceremony when he cut the ‘rib ends’. Very appropriate. He’s working on the fold down breaking table that when not in use folds up against the wall to give full access to the Hobart 6614 Meat Bandsaw.[1, 2, 3]

Packing Pastured Pork

After we did the initial breaking of the pig together we each shifted to our stations.

I was breaking the carcass, deboning and cutting over on the breaking table area before switching to grinding.

In the center Will was deboning, cutting, cubing and working sausage meat off the bones in the middle area of the room on the bridging table.

On the west end we used the packer for sealing the meat into vacuum sealed bags with her Minipack-America MVS45XII chamber vacuum packager.

The room is exactly the right minimum size for three, maybe four people to work efficiently. It could not be any smaller. Any larger would simply be extravagant. :) Because of this small size there are no wasted steps. But, someday when we have additional equipment like the emulsifier (a very fine grinder) for making our hot dogs we’ll need the more roomy final cutting room (fCutter) we’ll finish off later. Then the initial cutting room (iCutter) will become our warm kitchen (west end) and full size smoke room (east end).

Walter Grinding Pork

Skinny Pig was quite lean, maybe a 95% lean on the ground as can be seen here. I think I would normally want to add some fat from another pig to bring her ground up to a good moistness. For today’s initial wet run I just ground the meat straight through to see how it came out.

One interesting thing was even though we only ground a mere five pounds of pork the grinder only wasted – what was left in the machine – about 0.18 lbs. That’s very efficient. Normally one would do 25 to 100 lbs at a time as a minimum batch size and the waste will still be that very small fifth of a pound. This will make small batches of sausage possible.

The Hobart 4822 Meat Grinder is very powerful and amazingly quiet. I have earphones on in the picture above because I had been using the bandsaw earlier which is quite a bit louder. I’m pleased with the performance of both of them.

Rewarding Dinner

We finished off the day with a delicious dinner of pork choplets and steaklets for the farmer butcher family in training.

Outdoors: 74°F/51°F Sunny
Tiny Cottage: 66°F/62°F

Daily Spark: Practice approaches perfect.

About Walter Jeffries

Tinker, Tailor...
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13 Responses to Initial Wet Run

  1. eggyknap says:

    I’d probably noticed these before, and forgotten it, but I love the leaves painted on the walls. It’s the little things… :)

  2. Charlie Bell says:

    Shirley and I are so impressed with the work and dedication each of you have accomplished over the past years. Your accomplishments have far exceeded anything we could even imagined. We are so very confident your hard work will bring the total success that you have dreamed about ever since you started your adverterous project. We will be looking forward to ordering some wonderful pork products when the time is right. Again, congratulations for your success and for many years in the future.
    Charles and Shirley BELL
    Arlington, TX..
    bell.charles51@yahoo. com. *****

  3. Farmerbob1 says:

    *slow clap*

    Well done, Walter & Will!

    Can’t wait for you to start selling your own cuts! I’ve never particularly cared for the non-bacon parts of the pig, other than in well-spiced sausage, but once you folks get going, I’ll be buying a couple meatier cuts from you, to see if aging and pasture-raising make pork a better-tasting meat to me.

  4. Cary Howe says:

    Congratulations! It’s been a lot of hard work getting to this point. I actually found your site just before you broke ground so I’ve followed the progress the whole way. Your attention to detail and diligence have been inspiring!

  5. Sarah says:

    Congrats Jeffries Family! Great to see it all coming together and I know you’re eager for your official grand opening.

  6. Nance says:

    It is going to work out! Good job, Walter, Will, Ben and Hope!

  7. Roxanne says:

    Congratulations Walter & Will!
    You will never regret controlling your own destiny from start to finish.
    There is nothing like being independent of others and being able to do everything yourself.
    As a fellow farmer (olives in Provence) we only really got ahead when we installed our own mill and pressed our own olive oil. I can well relate to taking your product to a processor, the drive, the waiting, the drive back again, hauling your meat (for us it is oil) from the packing house (for us a mill) picking it up and hauling it back for resale. On our olive farm I was the driver before we installed our own mill. I hated the night time driving.
    When you eliminate that outside processing step you really are a master of your own destiny. The only final piece to finish the process is shipping, you have to figure out fright, how to ship your product. The next time we are in the States if I can afford it (we had a very bad harvest last year) I would like to get a full pig & split it between our kids. If not this year then next year. It is a pleasure to watch your family succeed, an absolute pleasure. Best of luck to you, from one small farmer to another.

  8. Glenn Warren, PE says:

    Well Done, what an impressive accomplishment.

  9. Sue K says:

    Congratulations Jeffries! Hope you enjoyed eating high on the hog:)

  10. eggyknap says:

    So, can you give an authoritative answer on an age-old question, namely: what exactly is a hot dog? You mentioned an emulsifier, which gives a tantalizing clue, but what exactly is being emulsified?

    • Yes! The truth is here. Check out our label. We use our pastured pork plus local maple syrup, a little bit of water, dry milk which acts as a binder to firm up the hot dogs, salt and spices (Sugar Mountain Farm secret recipe). No Weird Stuff – just good food and very few ingredients. We stuff these into all natural sheep casings as they’re thinner than hog casings and thus are more traditional for hot dogs. The emulsifier is a blender that takes the ground meat and chops it even finer – a big thing that is different between typical sausage, which are a rougher grind, vs hot dogs which are a very fine grind. You can make hot dogs by doing many grinding passes in the grinder we have but the emulsifying grinder does a better job of emulsifying the meat, that is to say fine grinding it.

      • eggyknap says:

        It was the process more than the ingredients that I was curious about, not knowing what precisely was meant to be “emulsified”. Thanks very much for the detailed and quick response.

  11. Norm Nelson says:

    Those Hobart grinders are great. I’ve had the pleasure of using a few and I can’t wait to own one myself.

    I have a friend with a 7.5hp Biro #52, and I was appalled at the amount left in the auger / tube when he was done… I guess if you’re grinding whole beef – hundreds of pounds every time it’s not bad – but for any small batches it seems wasteful.

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