A great weekend

Friday

The weekend started on Friday night with a phone call from the lady at Dingo Farms. The half pig we ordered a few weeks ago was ready for pickup.

I called my dad and shared the excitement. I could hear him sigh at the other end of the line. A little panic set in. 

This weekend was absolutely booked! And we had to find a way to fit this in too, as time is crucial for processing raw meat. We could’ve canceled some plans, any plans… But no, we actually ended up sticking to everything that was already planned. And I dreamed about it all during that first restless night.

Saturday

Saturday morning is our usual ‘get up early and go grocery shopping before the crowd wakes up’ and before the lines at the cashiers make it almost impossible to plan out a “getaway”. Everything went smooth. We also had time to pass by the local farmer’s market and picked up a few items.

The local library has a “book sale” twice a year and everyone’s invited! We try to go every time, but just as Mitchell said, we are starting to get buried in books. This time we went! and it was lovely, because I scored a few nice books that I had in mind to search for at the thrift store. Since we moved to the country side, I’ve been trying and researching many ways to try to live a little simpler, the old way… the good and healthy way. So you can imagine my excitement when I saw this through the culinary books.

cook book

After we dropped the grocery bags home, around lunch time, we made our way to Dingo Farms to pick up the beast. It looked huge! I guess I forgot how big they really look like!

A whole 168lbs of pure goodness and ready for us to dig in and process it. The lady at the farm was so proud of us for doing this and wished us good luck with the whole process. We definitely needed all the luck we could get!

As we got it back home, and unloaded it on the 4X8 ply board table makeshift we put together for this event, and got to work. We had to cut it into three pieces so it can fit in the deep chest freezer and stay cool until the next day. We cleared the freezer that morning and turned the freezer all the way down so the meat stayed cool and didn’t start to freeze.

Late afternoon, the three primal cuts (as Scott Rea calls them in his video) went into the freezer and we cleaned up the work area for the next day.

And then we started getting ready for another previously arranged event we had going on that day: surprise dinner party for one of my dad’s university classmates and his wife. Good family friends ever since. They celebrated 35 years of marriage – The Coral Party. The party was very intimate and we had such an amazing time. They had memory lane pictures and some of their favorite songs. But most surprisingly, they had a few video messages from close friends and relatives that were in other countries and could not make it to the party. It was absolutely amazing! Their daughter and her spouse planned and prepared everything and it turned out just beautiful! And of course, the partying went way into the wee hours of the night. Time flies when you’re having fun!

 

 

Sunday

Sunday started bright and early. We had a house showing booked and we needed to make sure we cleaned up and prepped the home for ‘visitors’. We then took Tia for a good walk and waited for my dad to arrive. All of us (and Tia) took a nice long walk to the forest and checked on the apples that grew alongside the back of the property. None of them are worth eating – sooooo bitter.

We started working on the meat after lunch, and it all went according to plan. A little slow, as it was our first time, but smooth with no unexpected events.

By sunset we had everything cut up, some bagged and ready for the freezer and some needed a little more work to go into it.

The belly was absolutely gorgeous. The meat marbling would make for tasty bacon!

We cleaned up and made our way inside, as it was starting to get a lot cooler, after the sun was gone. I marked all packages for the freezer and my dad and I started on the sausages. Over 15lbs of meat to be minced and stuffed into casings. We also kept some pieces to be minced and packages for the freezer as ground pork. I saw a few homemade breakfast sausages that I would love to try!

The night finished around 9:30pm when dad had to go home. Mitchell and I went to sleep just after 10pm. Early bedtime for us compared to ‘just after 2am’ for my dad.

Monday

Because we decided to not cancel any plans we previously made, the weekend spilled into Monday and the office duties didn’t wait for us to finish the farm duties. We had to show up to the office!

Monday evening was scheduled for Part II of this event – making of the headcheese, cracklings, prepare jars of meat with lard, and save the rest of the lard.

1. The headcheese started with gathering all the meat parts (head, ears,  tail, skin pieces, heart, and muscle pieces) and the spices. They got added to a pot of water. Everything as per a recipe we found in dad’s archives 😉 They were brought to a boil and left to cook until all the pieces were nice and tender; falling off the bone is the end goal. Note: We boiled the head and tail separate from the organs because of the difference in time that is needed to reach “fall of the bone” point (the head, tail and skin take longer).

After cooking, everything got sliced into thin strips and chunks, and the fat got set aside for the dogs. I would portion those pieces, bag them, and later add them to the dogs’ meals. Further into winter, they would need and love the extra fat!

2. The cracklings were my favorite to make! The smell that came out of the pot, as the fat was rendering, would make anyone g nuts! It took a long time, over an hour, to get all the pieces melted and have the cracklings float and be ready to be taken out. It’s definitely worth the wait! A little bit of salt and two onions were added to the mix to flavor the final product. Note: salt doesn’t melt in hot, melted fat!

Soon as the cracklings were taken out, we added cut muscle pieces to get lightly browned and cooked all the way through. 3. The meat pieces were then added to relatively hot jars and hot lard was poured over. 4. The remaining hot lard was added to hot jar and would be used in cooking. Heart attack! Note: I had the jars under hot water for about 30 seconds to raise the glass temperature a little bit and reduce the risk of cracked glass, due to thermal shock. 

Monday was a late night for all involved in this. We actually wrapped the day during Tuesday wee hours 😉

Part III would follow with smoking the sausages and fat bacon (slanina).

Wednesday

Wednesday started with talks about how smoking the sausages would go exactly. Dad decided on a homemade plan, rather than take his friend’s advice to go over and use his smoker.

By 8pm, it was pitch black outside and dad gave up, slowly, on the idea of smoking the sausages. He decided to wait until the next day to tell me the news.

lo and behold! 9:30pm rolls around and the phone rings off the hook. It was his friend. He called to let him know that another friend is coming over to smoke some sausages and he could come too! Last call! Dad thanked him for the call and off he went to get it done. He later told me he truly believed nothing in this world is coincidental…

The sausages were at his friends house smoking for 2 days – on and off for a few hours during the day.

Friday

The day I got the sausages back from my dad they smelled magnificent!! Dinner was covered 😉

They tasted just as good as they looked and I was very happy that we were able to smoke them too. During our original testing, they were good too, but smoking added its own flavour to the meat and it complemented so nicely the spices we used.

 

And when you think it all started with a late night phone call…

 

nov8thsunset

 

Update: December 23rd

From halfway around the world, mom sent me these pictures. She was so excited to learn about our experience, that she purchased a quarter pig too and got busy with preparations for the Christmas Holiday.

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3 Thoughts on “A great weekend

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