What’s in a pig?

Most family are used to purchasing their food at their local grocery store. But more and more families are choosing to buy locally grown fruits and vegetables. Have you ever thought about buying your meat form a local farmer? If you have though about it but are wondering how many chops, pounds of bacon and hams to I get when I buy a whole or half pig? Below is a typical breakdown of whole pig.


46 pork chops (can vary depending on how thick chops are cut and size of pig)

2 roasts

2  hams

16 lbs  bacon

6 lbs of spare ribs

16 lbs of ground pork


Don’t let the size of a pig scare you. Keep in mind pigs can be raised to the size that fits your families needs (large or small). Typical Iive weight is between 250 and 260 lbs yielding about 180 lbs hanging weight. If you just take the prime commercial cuts that are listed above that will yield about 120 lbs in your freezer. If you take the whole pig, nose to tail, that will give you about 160 lbs which includes hocks, soup bones, lard, liver, jowls (like bacon), head, and trotters. Remember that you paid for it all so you experiment with using it instead of leaving it behind.

Most butchers will custom cut your pig. For example, you may want more ground meat, smaller hams, ham stakes and no roasts. Or your family likes tenderloins and fewer pork chops and more bacon. If you aren’t sure, just ask for a standard cut for a family of 4. There are also two more decisions you will need to make sausage type (Plain, Sweet Italian, Mild Italian, Hot Italian or Breakfast) and smoking. Typically, chops, hams and bacon are smoked. Smoking will take another 4 to 6 weeks. Keep in mind that smoking meats shrinks the meat about 10% .

Once you get your meat home I suggest storing it a chest freezer. Because it will not all fit in a typical kitchen refrigerator. Chest freezers also do a much better job of freezing and keeping your meat cold than a kitchen refrigerator.