- This topic has 9 replies, 5 voices, and was last updated 5 years, 2 months ago by Dorothy Adkins.
April 3, 2012 at 5:07 am #16616
I was wondering what the optimal weight is to butcher a large black hog. I have a friend who has her own processing business and she processed a large black for another customer and the hog weighed 250lbs but there was very little fat on the hog. I thought the large blacks were known for their marbleized fat throughout the meat is that not true? Can you recommend any books on the processing of the large blacks and what is the best cut of meat.
Chris JohnsonApril 4, 2012 at 7:57 am #17776Member: MO chhogsParticipant
Some folks like their meat fattier than others so 250lbs may be perfect for some but not others. Large Blacks do marble up nicely but it depends on age & what they were fed. We personally prefer our meat lean so do not grow a lot of fat on them.
How old was this LB that was butchered? It should take 10-14 mths to feed out a LB.
I don’t think there are any books out there on butchering specifically LB’s. We do recommend that you hang the meat for at least 7 days.
As for cuts, yet again everyone has their own preferences. We have experimented with several sausage recipes until we found one we really liked. Unlike most other folks, because we are from England we make the pork chops into bacon 🙂 If you are looking for a great roast then the front legs are delicious. We no longer make hams, we cut them into steaks – delicious.
Hope others have got some more ideas for you.
MissouriApril 4, 2012 at 10:23 pm #17777
Seems like I start most posts like this, but its a complicated answer and different for everyone. Personally, we find that 250 lbs is a bit too lean and does not produce good bacon. BUT…you don’t need to go much further. Ideal is between 275-325 lbs…but there is still another BUT…if your hog is shaped small in the body and has shorter legs it will produce fat faster than a really long bodied hog. Some produce great fat at 275 while others need to get to 325 to really get good fat. Some are too fatty at 325lbs.
Another BUT…depends on what you feed them. We plant oats in the fall/winter which are high in fiber. After a cold winter, eating nothing but oats and a bit of grain to supplement (we are about 98% grass fed so grain is minimal) ours will look the right size but will be very lean.
Best way to tell, in my opinion, is by the jowls. If they are jowly they will have bacon. Double/triple jowls/chins and you get a fat runner in the loin section that can be up to 2″ thick and will likely be a problem if you have a retail market (why am I paying for so much fat is a common question if we let them go past 325Lbs). Because we are not allowed to feed our pigs any animal by-products (no eggs, no milk…) ours tend to be more lean until we let them fatten naturally. As a result we are bit longer than 10-14 mos and closer to 16-18 mos.
One last BUT… depends on where you live. If they are getting berries and nuts which are high in sugars and fats, they will put on fat quicker. Heat pulls the fat right off them as does extreme cold.
Finally, although I agree hanging them is beneficial, none of the processors here in TX will do that with pork. Max they will wait before cutting is 4 days and by then they are screaming at me that it is going to spoil.
One thing we have tried to do is to sample every animal we process (unless we sell the whole hog to an individual) and make notes on what we need to improve upon. More fat/less fat… Its still very much a learning process for us.April 8, 2012 at 3:31 am #17779Member: MO chhogsParticipant
Good advice Kelley.
Just like us humans all being built differently. so are the pigs.
MissouriApril 10, 2012 at 4:27 am #17782Member: TX EppsParticipant
I agree with Kelly , I am seeing that between 280 and 310 is best for our needs.
Frank EppsApril 26, 2012 at 8:28 am #17883
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Great Information folks thanks, we are looking at the fatty side to raise ours, and this helps to know, instead of butchering to soon.January 23, 2013 at 10:45 pm #18316
Yes, this is excellent information. Thanks! More and more are buying fat for rendering to cook/fry with as a healthier alternative to the various oils on the market, especially if hogs are organically fed. We have our butcher save all of the trimmed fat.December 11, 2014 at 11:00 pm #20539Dorothy AdkinsGuest
We have been trying to figure this out for a couple of years now. It is the million dollar question. We were taking our hogs to market at 300 LBS and 12 months old. After all of this time we had a sow processed, she was 18 months old and live weight was 390, she had just one litter. The hanging weight was 250 LBS. We rendered 185LBS premium cuts for retail. BEST cuts by far. So now, the question is where to go from here. 300-390, 90 LB difference. Will we get the same result from 325? 350? 375? We will figure it out.Another thing that we have learned and that is, the large black has to “grow”. It has to get to 14 months old at least, no matter how much feed. They change so much from 12 months to 14-16 months. For the better, if you can stick it out a LB at 14-16 months old at 350-390lbs will make you some premium pork. Our hogs at 350-375 are lean, I rather have a “grown” hog that is lean than a young hog that is “fat”! This is what I have learned this far and I am really really picky! We are getting on average $20/LB for our cuts and $12.50/lb for sausage, it’s no joke when you are charging those prices, your pork has to speak for itself and this latest one really has. It’s a work in progress, but the key word is progress. We will get it perfected. I will comment again as we go forward and I feel that we have learned something more.December 11, 2014 at 11:51 pm #20540Member: NC Twinoaksfarm2012Participant
This is the million dollar question. We have been at this for 2 1/2 years now. We breed only purebred LB’s. We started taking our first litters to the processor’s at 12 months and 300lbs. This was putting the hanging weights around 195-200lbs. we didn’t know any different and the cuts looked okay. But then we just recently had an 18 month old sow who had had one litter, processed. This got our attention. She was 390lbs live weight which was 250lb hanging weight and we rendered 185lb premium cuts. We have had hanging weight vary from 195-235. Mostly around the 200 mark. This last hog at 250 hanging weight was the best hog we’ve had processed so far, by far! So, what are the differences from the 235 pig I had processed in July and this last one? That’s what I asked myself because I just had to know what was different about this one (the cuts were beautiful and big, the pork chops were amazing) The difference was the age. I have learned that no matter how fast you get them to a certain weight the premier pork is going to be the hog that also was able to “grow”. I think that the perfect time to take a LB to processor’s is from 14-16 months old and at least 350-390lbs. I know some people are going to be like, what?? But I am talking “perfect”! I am very very picky! I have to be, I sell my cuts on an average of $20/lb and the sausage is $12.50/lb. In my opinion I have figured it out. You just cannot rush perfection. I know everyone wants too, even myself. I would much rather have a “grown” LB that weighed 375 than a 12 month old that weighed the same. It is hard with pigs, you want to feed them for some reason. But we are certified organic and because of that we cannot throw them just any old bread and scraps, they are feed, alfalfa, fresh water and foraging, as they are pasture raised. I like that I have to adhere to this strict diet as I think that it keeps them somewhat lean. For some reason at our house, none of our animals are skinny, but our hogs look really good, and I would say pretty lean, I like the LB’s this way. Hope some of this helps.