A Suckling Pig For Dinner – Warning: Graphic Images

Meat is a pleasure, but meat is also a responsibility. When we eat meat and I do with some frequency, I believe that it is important to respect the animal and to eat animals that have been respected in life as well as death. The process of taking a live animal to provide meat is not a pretty one, however. I’m fortunate to live in an area with some great farms that treat their animals with care and respect. The photo slide show below contains graphic images, but I believe that it is important to recognize the process. Meat is wonderful, but the animals should be acknowledged and not taken for granted. My friend had some young suckling pigs that he was selling from a litter born on the 21st of May. These were a cross of several heritage breeds. On the Fourth of July, I went to his farm to pick out a piglet, purchase it and butcher it. Piglets are cute. It was difficult to actually decide the fate of one of them, but I did. I chose one of the smallest. He was twenty-five pounds. My friend quickly dispatched him by hanging him upside down and slitting his throat. We collected the blood, shaved the hair from the hide and then singed the hairs, which were then scraped from the hide. My friend then gutted the animal and removed the intestines and bladder. In larger pigs, the bladder can be useful as a cooking vessel, but for this piglet it was too small for such a practical use. It, along with the intestines and lungs, which I would not able to use, were discarded. I kept the remainder of the offal including the blood. The carcass was washed in cold water and I took it and the offal home in a cooler. I cooked the suckling pig whole over a bed of potatoes, onions, peppers and chiles in my Big Green Egg for about two and a half hours between 400-500ºF.  The suckling pig was delicious – one of the most delicious things I have ever cooked. I was happy that I had honored the young animal’s sacrifice by doing it justice and using as much of it as I could. I cooked the offal the next day for lunch and the blood I used to make a Sanguinaccio, Italian blood and chocolate pudding. The photos in the slide show are graphic, but their purpose is not to disgust or to titillate. They are shown to portray the reality of the process in a good, healthy, small farm with healthy animals and a respect of the process of raising them and then slaughtering them for food. Meat does not come from a package in a supermarket. It comes from an animal that was once alive. This was a process in which the animal was respected in its life and again in its death.


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