To Freeze or not to freeze... that is the question. Butchering my first hog!

Discussion in 'Curing' started by starwars1138, Jan 26, 2015.

  1. starwars1138

    starwars1138 Fire Starter

    Hi all,

    I'm planning to butcher a pastured half hog on the kitchen counter in a few weeks (my wife is obviously my soul mate).  I'm working out my plan ahead of time.  Spare ribs, tenderloin, and boston butt will all go in the freezer right after I cut them up (to be hot-smoked on the Big Green Egg as the spring progresses).  I plan to use Pop's brine for the belly (for bacon), for the picnic shoulder, hocks, bone-in ham, and probably also at least half of the loin for canadian bacon.  Unfortunately, I can't logistically brine all that at once (besides, I want to experiment with the brine so all my eggs in one basket - err, brine bucket isn't a good idea) so I'm having to pick and choose what to process first.

    Anyone got any guidance on what, if any, hit I take in terms of quality when I freeze before curing?  Are there cuts that that are more forgiving to freeze before brining?

    Thanks in advance for any help.  I'll be sure to post pics!
  2. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Are you doing the killing etc...
  3. starwars1138

    starwars1138 Fire Starter

    Hi Dave,

    Nope.  Not yet... I hope to be able to say that in the future but for now, I'm picking it up from the processor, thawed (and hopefully half head still on - hello head-cheese!).
  4. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I been reading....   some say, hang for 3 days.... some say the best they ever had was hung 7 days.....    most say rapid cooling, like in an ice bath does wonders...   Reading up on proscuitto, the ham leg needs to be massaged, pumped, squeezed or what ever to insure ALL the blood is out and done immediately after the slaughter... All say sticking is the most humane way to kill a hog and a sticking knife is the proper tool to use....  

    Well, after learning all that, and MORE, I just had to share it somewhere...... 


    Freezing.....  I have no idea...  no one got into that......  wild pigs, YES.. freeze for at least 1 month...
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2015
  5. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I can say that all of the meat I've ever used to make bacon has been frozen so I can't comment really on how it differs from fresh right off the hoof. I ended up with a quarter of a pig this year and it was cut and wrapped to my order. I'd have to say this will be the freshest I've ever made any bacon with. I haven't started that process yet. So once again it's frozen, not actually fresh. I can say that the pork chops have been great! Oh yeah and the course ground pork has made excellent sausages using Fassett's breakfast sausage seasoning (Another Pop's recipe).
  6. starwars1138

    starwars1138 Fire Starter

    Thanks gents.  I think I'm just going to try and get as much stuff in the cure as I possibly can and avoid the freezing part if at all possible until afterwards.
  7. I would try to avoid freezing it again if you can.

    Frozen pork is very forgiving, IMO.

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