There is more than one way to butcher a hog, each with it’s own pros and cons. This method allows you to pull the maximum amount of meat in the shortest amount of time, which is why this a preferred method by illegal hunters. This is also the preferred method if you are hiding from the sheriff of Jerkwater, USA, in an abandoned mine and need some grub. Go Johnny Rambo!!
This “gutless” method only leaves the rib meat, organs, some neck meat, the jowls, and the tenderloins. You can pull the tenderloins without gutting as well, but I didn’t on this night. Nothing in nature goes to waste and the carcass ended up feeding the coyotes at a bait station the next day.
I used this method because I was by myself, it was 10 o’clock at night, and 65 degrees out. Hanging it overnight was out of the question. Start to finish with a sharp knife, it only takes a couple of minutes and will work on other big game as well. If I was deeper in the mountains, I would use a different method to skin and bone it out so I didn’t have to carry the extra weight.
Get a sharp knife, glove up (see below), and let’s get started..
1. Make three cuts as shown. Don’t cut down through the hair, but up so you don’t dull your knife. For the cut closest to the hams, feel for the hip bones as your guide.
2. Skin and peel back the flap to expose the backstraps
3. Cut out the backstraps. This is where pork chops come from and a nice section of sinew for cordage.
4. Remove the front quarters. Lift up the leg and cut under the shoulder blade to free the leg
5. Cut on the inside of the groin down to the hip socket
6. Cut through the hip socket and cut off the ham completely
7. You should now have 2 backstraps, 2 shoulders, and 2 hams. Stuff all of them in your fridge until you can work them up later.
8. Be prepared for “Fridge of Death” comments and “Jeffrey Dahmer” jokes from your wife. Defuse said comments with a lecture on animal welfare in hog lots and promise to clean the fridge.
Wild hogs, like any animal can carry diseases. Avoiding sickly animals, wearing gloves, and thoroughly cooking your meat reduces your risks. http://www.floridahealth.gov/chdalachua/environmental/docs/hogHunting.pdf
Tennessee wild hog regulations: http://www.tn.gov/twra/wildhogs.shtml
Lots of anti-pig info: http://www.wildpiginfo.msstate.edu/index.html
Disclaimer: This fine specimen of Porkus badasseus was harvested using legal methods on private property. This blog post in no way reflects the opinions or views of my employer.