But what does that ½ pig mean?
A 250lb pastured pig goes to the butcher.
After slaughter and cleaning, the full animal yields a hanging weight of about 180 lbs - YOUR price for a half pig is then based on half of that “hanging weight”. This includes full animal after cleaning including head, skin, feet and tail on. This is how butchers have worked for hundreds of years. Because this is the standard - this is how most farms price their “per pound” for meat - based on the hanging weight.
If you were only going to consume commercial cuts from the pig you can assume that there will be about 120 lbs available (that’s about 60# for 1/2 a pig). Those standard commercial cuts are things you see in the typical grocery store like pork chops, sirloin, tenderloin, ham, shoulder, belly, bacon, ground, etc.
The difference in hanging weight and commercial cuts is where you can be more sustainable and adventurous. If you cook like the farmer you can get a yield more like 90% of the hanging weight by also using the oddments (liver, heart, jowels, etc) - or make your dogs very happy! The more of the pig you use - the less the cost is per pound of meat… and since you are paying on the hanging weight you should make the most of it!
What’s included in a 1/2 a pig?
This is a rough estimate… each pig is a little different but this is a “typical” 1/2 pig:
Pounds - Item
13# - Pork chops 1″ – total of 23 pork chops, 7 packs of 2 + 3 packs of 3
3# - Spare Ribs – Ask for my recipe if you need one
9# - Hamburger/Sausage ground meat in 1 lb packages
15# - Fresh Ham – easily brined or sent for smoking
8# - Fresh Bacon Slab – brine & slice or send for smoking
10# - Shoulder Roast
4# - Butt Pork Roast
5# - Stew Bones – good for dogs if you don’t make soup or stew
8# - Fat – you can render this to use in the kitchen
75# - Total pounds of perfectly wrapped cuts in your freezer
This is too much meat for me, what do I do?
If you want less meat, find a friend or family member to split 1/2 a pig with. That means a 1/4 of a pig is about half this (35 pound or so) - and may not contain a ham, but a roast. Where there are large single cuts - you can only have 1 to split on a side which is 2, 1/4 pigs. i.e. the Ham is the rear leg - there’s only 1 rear leg on 1/2 a pig. But, since you are getting to work with the farmer on the cut sheet - you and your friend can find a way to split that 1/2 pig however you want!
How long will 1/2 a pig last?
Generally - two adults that eat pork with any frequency will easily consume 1/2 a pig over the course of a year
How much freezer space do I need for 1/2 a pig?
1/2 pig - will “typically” fit inside a 14”x22”x11” (inside dimensions) cooler (with some ice) - and the ham and bacon will be left out of the cooler (so they require more space). If there was no ice in the cooler - you might be able to mush it all in there… maybe… In your home, a small chest freezer is MORE than large enough to accommodate 1/2 a pig. All cuts together are about two to four cubic-feet depending on packing in the boxes.
What’s the cost of 1/2 a pig?
The price for a half pig is $5/lb based on final hanging weight at the butcher after slaughter. A typical 1/2 pig hangs at 80-90 lbs so the pig cost is typically $360 - $450 or for the meat.
There is also a fixed cost added on to the weight of the meat. These are set by the butcher, not us. There is a USDA humane slaughter fee of $40 and the butchering (cutting & freezer safe vacuum packaging) is $70-$90. There is also a charge to smoke the hams, bacon and hocks. Should you choose smoked products, there is approximately an additional $30 fee for that, depending on the final weight of the items to be smoked.
Final round up of what your cost estimate is: $5.00/lb X 90lbs =$450.00
427.50 + processing fees of $130 = 580
If you want smoked products (ham, bacon etc) add $30 for a final price estimate of $610
Again, final pricing will vary based on the actual hanging weight of the pig and your cut options.