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|Pigs turn out to be fun to raise from weaned piglets to succulent pork on the dinner table. They are really amazing animals. Very active, they love to dash around their pen, playing hide and seek like kids. They also dig better than a tiller. We've actually used them to break up sod in areas we wanted to garden, and they also turn fresh sheep bedding and manure into incredibly fertile compost in just a couple of weeks.
Just like our lamb, we raise our pork completely free of chemicals from the day we get them from the breeder. They live outdoors, in the sunshine and fresh air, with a house built to provide shelter from rain and heat. Their manure helps enrich the ground, where we plant turnips for the sheep to graze after the pasture is finished for the year. As always, our animals are healthy, fed no chemicals of any kind, and given no medications. Your satisfaction is fully guaranteed.
Your deposit of $25 will hold your choice of a whole pig, a half pig, or a package of pork. The meat will be available late October. If you're interested in pork for next year, let us know by January to we can get our order for piglets in to the breeder.
We arrange for the pick up of the pigs by the processor, Dowker's Meats in Gaylord. We will pick up the finished meat and deliver within a 50 mile radius of our farm, or you can pick up the pork yourself if you prefer.
You can buy a whole pig, a half pig, or a package of cuts we put together. In each case, the cost per pound of cut meat starts at $2. You then pay a processing charge of $35 for a whole pig, $20 for a half, or $10 for a package. The wrapping charge is 35 cents per pound for paper wrap, 75 cents per pound for plastic vacuum wrap. Your final expense is 50 cents per pound for smoking. We highly recommend Dowker Meat's smoking--the thick-sliced bacon and fresh smoked ham are deliciously memorable, to say the least!
A whole pig will yield approximately 150 or more pounds of wrapped meat. The cost starts at about $400 depending on the amount of meat. Half a pig will be about $200 for about 75 pounds of meat. If that seems like a lot of meat, it is! You can arrange to divide a whole or half pig with your friends if you wish.
A share of pork, ideal for those without a lot of freezer space, will be about 25-30 pounds and include:
- One ham, smoked, 5 or more pounds
- Two one-pound packages smoked bacon
- Five one-pound packages your choice sausage or ground pork
- One boneless pork roast, 3-4 pounds
- Five two-pound packages pork chops
Cost per pound of finished cuts in a pork share is $3.50, plus the processing charge of $10/package, bringing the approximate total to about $100, depending on the precise weight of the package.
Our pork practically cooks itself, it's so tender and juicy! Here's some family favorite recipes to start with.
Hungarian Goulash Soup
There seems almost no end to the wonderful food we ate in neighborhood gasthauses and nice restaurants in Germany. One of our favorites, Hungarian Goulasch Suppe, seemed to be a bit different in each eatery. This recipe combines memories of several delightful soups, from areas as diverse as Frankfurt, Heidelberg, and Munich. Of course, it's not wholly authentic unless served with traditional 'semmel' or 'broetchen' rolls. The lackluster Kaiser rolls in the US can't begin to compare with these breads, so soft inside, so crunchy outside. The next best thing is fresh-baked individual loaves of Italian- or French-style breads.
- For best results, use fresh homemade ham broth for the liquid in this soup. Germans have a different type of ham, but homemade ham broth tastes similar.
- Thaw and cut into cubes a boneless pork roast.
- Toss cubes with flour and brown thoroughly, a few at a time, in hot butter or bacon grease, in a Dutch oven or other large pot. Remove cubes from pot.
- Chop and brown 1 onion in the remaining grease. Add a chopped green pepper and stir until it's cooked.
- Peel and chop or put through garlic press one full bulb of garlic.
- Put meat in pan with vegetables, add garlic and 4 tablespoons mild paprika (add 1/8 tsp hot hungarian paprika for a bit of bite), and stir very briefly.
- Add 1 6 ounce can tomato paste and 2 quarts of water or ham broth. Bring to boil, cover, and simmer 1-2 hours.
- Near the end of cooking time, add 2 potatoes, cubed, per person, and cook until tender, about 30 minutes. Sliced carrots are a nice addition as well.
- Just before serving, add 1 tsp marjoram.
- Serve over spaetzle noodles or simply ladel into bowls and serve with crusty rolls.
We were stationed in Germany quite a few years, and brought home memories of delightful, simple, filling food. Here's our absolute favorite, Schnitzel, a coated and fried cutlet of pork tenderloin.
- Thaw a pork tenderloin roast--2-3 days in the refrigerator.
- About 2 hours before serving, cut crosswise into 1/2 inch thick slices. Trim any fat around edges. Plan 2-3 cutlets per person. We go ahead and fix the whole thing so that there are leftovers for sandwiches.
- Tear a long piece of plastic wrap, about 48 inches (or two 24 inch pieces if that's easier). Double the wrap by folding in half or layering two pieces.
- Lay a cutlet centered on one half the doubled plastic wrap. Fold the other half over the cutlet. This will prevent bits of raw meat and juice from spattering over your kitchen.
- Using a meat mallet (wooden is best; metal ones tend to tear the meat too much), pound each cutlet until very thin, about 1/8 inch thick. Don't use so much force that you tear the meat. You shouldn't quite be able to see through the cutlet when held to the light. Feel the meat with the flat of your hand as you work to make sure it's being pounded evenly. Set aside and repeat with remaining cutlets.
- Prepare 4 dishes for breading the cutlets:
- First is a wide, shallow dish with milk--I use a pie plate.
- Second is a dinner plate with plain flour.
- Third, using another pie plate, mix 1 egg per 4 cutlets, lightly beaten, with about as much milk as egg.
- Finally, another dinner plate holds plain bread crumbs. I make mine by allowing the heels of sandwich loafs to dry thoroughly, then I use a food processor to break them into fine crumbs.
- Coat the cutlets:
- Dip the cutlet into the milk, wetting both sides thoroughly.
- Lay the cutlet on the flour, pour a little more on top, and make sure both sides are completely coated.
- Dip the floured cutlet in the egg-milk mixture, again wetting thoroughly. There should be no dry spots visible.
- Last, lay the cutlet on the breadcrumbs, and sprinkle other crumbs on top, pressing them in, turning and repeating, until the cutlet is completely covered with crumbs.
- Lay on a rack so air can circulate on both sides of the cutlet, and repeat with remaining pieces of meat.
- When all cutlets have been coated, let them sit a little while to dry a bit. You can refrigerate them if you like, but make sure air can circulate around both sides of each schnitzel.
- About 15 minutes before serving, begin frying cutlets in hot oil over medium heat in a frying pan. I start one cutlet, then when the first side is nice and brown I turn that one and add the next--usually two schnitzels will fit in my large frying pan. This should take less than 5 minutes per cutlet--if the meat is thin enough, the coating will be brown and crisp just when the meat is cooked through.
- For best dining experience in the true German fashion, serve the schnitzels the moment they're done cooking--don't wait to finish the whole batch, as the coating may become slightly soggy. If you must hold them before serving, place them in a warm oven, on racks.
If you haven't made your own ham broth to use in soups such as potato or split pea, you just don't know what you're missing! Just as with lamb broth, it's timeconsuming but surprisingly easy to make, and incredibly tasty.
- Using bones from hams you've saved in the freezer, and ham hocks, place bones in a large pot, cover with water, add an onion and some carrots or other vegetables and plenty of peppercorns, and bring to a boil. Simmer, covered, at least 3 hours.
- Strain broth to remove bones, vegetables, etc, and chill the broth. I put the broth in a pressure canner, snug the lid on, and set it outside overnight when the weather is between 35 and 40 F.
- Bone the meat, then discard the bones and vegetables, saving the meat for soups.
- When the broth is thoroughly chilled, skim off and discard the fat.
- Pressure can the broth and meat following instructions with your canner, or freeze meal-sized portions of broth for future use.
- Use as a fast and flavorful base for potato soup, split pea, or potatoes au gratin.
A ham smoked by Dowker's Meats in Gaylord is a real treat. It is fresh, however, and must be cooked before eating.
- Thaw ham 3 days or more in refrigerator, depending on size.
- Place a piece of foil large enough to completely wrap the ham on a roasting pan. Place ham, studded with cloves or pineapple if desired, on foil, then wrap the foil around it and fold it to seal in meat juices. This is necessary because our pigs are much more lean than commercially-raised pigs, and the ham can be dry if baked the usual way.
- Bake at 375 F until internal temperature registers about 140 F, about 20 minutes per pound (more for boneless hams). Juices should run clear--check several spots.
- If desired, peal back foil for last half hour of baking to crisp the outside.
- And of course, leave a little meat on the bone and freeze it for ham broth!
Hungarian Pork Chops
This recipe serves 3-4 and takes about 90 minutes to prepare. Inspired by Hungarian Goulash Soup, the flavorings are almost the same.
- Thaw a one-pound package of pork chops.
- Pour about 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil into a frying pan, and heat over medium heat.
- Dust pork chops with flour and brown in hot fat.
- Meanwhile, peel and chop one small onion, chop 1/2 green pepper, and peal and mince several cloves of garlic.
- When meat is completely browned, remove from pan and set aside. Brown chopped onion in remaining fat, then add green pepper and brown. Finally, add garlic and stir briefly.
- Add 2 tablespoons sweet Hungarian paprika. If desired, add 1/8 teaspoon hot Hungarian paprika as well.
- Replace chops and add 2 cups water.
- Cover and simmer 1 hour. Check once or twice and add water as needed to keep chops nearly covered with liquid.
- Remove chops from pan and keep warm.
- Shake about one cup cold water with 1/4 flour. Pour slowly into pan, mixing well. Add salt and pepper to taste. Can also add marjoram. Simmer until thickened, stirring constantly.
- Serve pork chops with gravy on the side and enjoy!