Our latest food experience here at Olive Tree Farm, proved to be quite a challenge. We have already learned how to prepare our own chickens, ducks and rabbits for the table, but this time, the challenge was quite a lot bigger.
We have three female adult mini pigs and one cross wild boar. After having our first litter last year, we attempted to sell them whilst young, but there were no takers at that time and we ended up keeping the two males up at the farm.
They aren’t particularly big, but have still take a lot of work over the past year, cleaning, housing and feeding. We weren’t sure really what to do with them, but after much discussion it was decided that we would bite the bullet and prepare one for the family to eat.
Luckily a few months ago, we were invited by a friend to take part in the slaughter of a huge pig, and learnt how to clean, gut and butcher one. We took lots of photos of the events that took 2 days and included making the Spanish style blood sausage. It wasn’t a nice experience at all, but was definitely something from which we learnt a lot.
With this knowledge safely tucked away, we then faced the task together. The pig was safely and surprisingly calmly, killed, and cleaned. We were all quite shook up at having done this, but we quickly got to the task of cleaning off the hair and top layer of skin which revealed the white colour that you would expect form shop bought pork. It was then hung and gutted. Altogether it took 5 of us around 4 or 5 hours before we were happy with the now clean carcass, and it went into the refrigerator ready for the following day weighing in at 10.5 kg.
Our plan was to cook it over an open outdoor fire, using olive wood. The lads found various pieces of wood and also some metal frames. They made hooks from wire from which the main skewer which would run through the carcass, could hang, and then set the fire on the floor. The fire initially was set at either end so the larger leg areas would cook through properly. The middle fire was to be set a little later on, so as not to dry out the rib area too much.
Meanwhile in the kitchen, the girls prepared a selection of vegetables including potatoes, tomatoes, celery, carrots, mushrooms and onions, plus olive oil, salt and black pepper and a generous sprinkling of parsley.. The huge olive wood skewer was run through the middle poking out at each end. The vegetables were pushed in and around the cavity where the rib cage is and then we sewed it up using more wire. The carcass was then rubbed liberally with salt and olive oil, and after the flames on the fire had died down, and was smoking nicely, it was taken down to the cooking area and hung on the wire loops. All we had to do now was wait.
Despite having read numerous articles on the time it should take to cook, we actually had it roasting away for a further couple of hours, so whilst we were hoping to be tucking in by about 8.30pm it was actually almost 11pm before we had removed the vegetables from the rib area, and cut some of the meat off.
The verdict….. delicious! It was much darker than shop bought pork, in fact it resembled beef in colour…. the flavour was a delicate smokey taste, and the texture was firm. All in all after such hard work we were pleased with the end result and felt accomplished. We have another ready to go, but are thinking about possibly removing the skin and hair all at once, jointing it, and having a go at salting some…. we will see!