Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Everything you always wanted to know about dead pigs but were afraid to ask

Folks often ask us...many things. Today's post will focus solely on questions of a bacon nature, i.e inquisitions related to buying pork by the half or whole.

Is there a waiting list ?

Yes, there is, Bad news for you as you have to wait but good news for us. People like our pork. We do take them to the locker every other month generally and on average our waiting list is about 3-6 months out. Right now our next group of unsold hogs will go to the locker in June. Your name does not go on the waiting list until we get your deposit (see below).

How Much is it?

The simple answer: $3.75/pound HANGING WEIGHT (be sure to read the hanging weight post)
The deeper answer: Far less than buying it by the piece

Here is the math. A whole hog weighs about 250 pounds. After all the bits and bobs are removed like intestines, bones and head, the hanging weight will be about 200 pounds and you will take home approximately 160 pounds of meat but you are charged for the hanging weight.

Processing is approximately 90 cents per pound or $162
Plus the amount due us or 200 x $3.75 =$750
Thus your total is $930

Now divide that $930 by the meat you will take home $930 divided by 160 =$5.81 a pound
Therefore you can see that you are paying far less than you would if you bought bacon for our going price of $10.49 or pork chops at $8.99  or Italian sausage for $7.99 etc...

How do I Pay?

We require $100 non refundable deposit due at the time you order your meat. This will of course be deducted from your total amount due but if you change your mind or forgot your ordered it, or remembered you had your rent to pay and cannot afford it because you are going on vacation ,we still keep your deposit. It costs us time and money to raise our piggies and if you pull out after ordering we are left scrambling to find another buyer.

You pay for the processing when YOU pick up your meat at the locker which averages about 90 cents per pound but Please call the Eureka Locker for exact processing fees at 309-467-2731

You pay us when you get our bill for the pork which we send out when the hog goes to the locker. Even though you might not pick up your meat right away please pay us as soon as you get our bill. The other piggies still need grain, or hay, or a nice slice of apple pie. We take checks, MO's or cash (Pay with cash in person please, can't prove you sent cash if lost in the mail)

Can I Pick My Own Cuts?

You Betcha! When the animal goes to the locker we will notify you and remind you to call them. They will walk you through a list of choices. Remember, THE MORE YOU TAKE HOME THE BETTER VALUE FOR YOUR MONEY. So you should ask for all the fat (make lard) the feet (soups and gelatin) the ears (dog treats) the bones (soups, broths) etc. Your processing costs will vary based on how much curing you have done and the type of wrap you desire. Most have it wrapped in plastic and then white freezer wrap but you can have it vacuum packed for an additional fee.

What is Organic Processing?

Since all of our meat is certified organic we recommend you ask the locker to process it organically as well. This means your meat will be processed first that day before non-organic hogs are processed. All cleaning components for the cutting table etc must be approved organic and all curing of meat is done with organic ingredients. NO MSG or Nitrates! And Eureka Locker does not use Celery salt for its organic processing.

What ingredients are used for organic curing?

Bacon and hams are cured with the following certified organic ingredients. Brown Sugar, Sea Salt, Pepper, Cumin, Sage, Cane Juice.

How Much room do I need in My Freezer?

We estimate for every 50 pounds of meat you will need one large cooler to carry it home. So with half hog you'll need 2 large coolers and a whole hog you'll need 4 large coolers.  In your freezer you'll need one cubic foot for every 30 pounds. So a half hog would need about 3-4 cubic feet.

Can I order 1/4 of a hog?

No. Sorry. Its too little meat, about 40-50 pounds, for us to deal with in this manner. So our hogs are only sold by the half the whole or in our farm store by the piece. If you don't need that much just put the half hog in your name and let a friend pay you for their share

Can I have my whole hog made into just bacon?

No you cannot. There is only so much bacon per whole hog, on average about 16 pounds . The rest of the cuts will come out like this (Approximately)
     25 pounds of pork chops
     8 pounds spare ribs
     8 pounds ham roast
     12 pounds bones
     23 pounds of sausage
     18 pounds of fat
     20 pounds of shoulder roast
     30 pounds fresh ham

 Remember, some hogs have more fat than others. While others never watch TV and take frequent walks around the pasture.

To Summarize the cuts and their locations I've attached this wonderful chart from Walter Jeffries at
Sugar Mountain Farm. I am not aware of any one other pig farmer who has done more to educate and promote pastured pork than he has. Please drop by his blog, you'll be very glad you did, and tell him I sent you. He knows me. I'm his number one stalker, I mean commenter.

                  Click on photo above for full size view


  1. This is very helpful, Donna, thank you. I ordered my half a pig from a sorta nearby farmer (about an hour and a half away). I have the nonsmoked meats, and am still waiting for the smoked portions to be done.

    I said yes to the liver, no to other organ meats (I know they're all good for me, i just don't wanna put on my big girl panties and eat them), no also to the head, although i know head cheese is a delicacy. Yes to lard, i think it's a wonder fat, and i've got some fat back. Unsure what i'm going to do with that, i know only of fat back and beans, but surely there must be more?

    If i lived closer, i'd be one of your June customers.

    1. Make lard from your fat if you haven't already and then use it in ALL your cooking .Best kind of fat for your body, And of course I make soap with it and laundry soap. Go Megan Go

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  2. We (I) used to 'dry cure' both the leg and the shoulder for making ham. A salt/sugar mix was used to cover the meat for about 30 days, before hanging in an airy spot for a further 3 months. This produced a 'Parma Ham' style product. Delicious. I do the same with bacon from the belly, but salt for just 7 days.

    1. On day Cro, when we are farming just for the two of us, I will be contacting you for more details. That Parma Ham sounds amazing!!!!

  3. You mention getting the feet however Eureka told us specifically that they don't give those out. No ears, head, tail or skin either. Were we told wrong?

    1. Yes you were as we get them (feet and ears) to sell in the farm store all the time. You do have to request those items as soon as the pig is killed and maybe I need to do a better job or telling folks that, I will call the owner Scott to discuss as also may have been a new employee who was misinformed. Either way if you'd like some feet and ears from our next pig that goes in (complimentary) please call me at 815-419-5692.

  4. When I read the title, I was not at all sure where you were going with this. Glad you took the better road! Every fall, we would have a huge freezer full of pork and beef, both from our farm. My grandpa would do the ham smoking, but stopped when he was old.

    I was afraid you would write about what my father would do with piglets which died. He burned them in a big bonfire. Smelled like bbq all around.

    1. Dead piglets do need to be disposed of but for us composting works well. After a year or so it can all be returned to the earth. Ashes to ashes just like your father did.