Thursday, August 4, 2011

Hog Skinning -- or Adventures on the Kill Floor

In a slaughterhouse, the area where an animal is bled out and skinned is known by the very fancy name of "kill floor". Many slaughterhouses that do a large number of hogs will have a unit that dips the hog carcass in scalding hot water. The hairs on the hide can then be scraped off or tumbled off. Some cultures even prefer their goats to be done in this manner. This leaves the skin on, much like a chicken would be prepared.

With my hogs, I chose to skin them. I relied on my student assistant/adopted son Big Al to aid me in removing the skin. We placed the pigs in a "cradle", which holds them elevated on their backs. This allowed us to take the hide off the legs, and reflect the hide off of the stomach region. From there, we raised the pigs up on a hoist to allow us to cut the hide off the back. The next step is hanging the carcass on a "gambrel": a large hanger that holds the animal during evisceration.

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