COOPERATIVE EXTENSION WORK IN AGRICULTURE AND HOME ECONOMICS
(Acts of May 8 and June 30, 1914)
Agricultural Extension Service, University of Florida,
Florida State University and United States Department of Agriculture, Cooperating
M. O. Watkins, Director
R. L. REDDISH
Associate Animal Husbandman
A. Z. PALMER
Associate Animal Husbandman, Agricultural Experiment Station
Highest grade pork is produced from young, well-fed, meaty
hogs that weigh from 180 to 225 pounds. The meat-type hog
should have full, plump, meaty hams, a strong back and straight,
smooth sides. Fat should be firm, evenly distributed, and not
more than 1.6 inches average thickness over the back.
right kind and size for the home pork supply.
Young meat type hogs that are fed and managed properly
should grow and gain enough to weigh 200 pounds at 51/2 months
The pig in Figure 1 was 6 months of age and weighed 226
pounds at time of slaughter.
Fig. 2.-The animal held in the proper position for sticking.
HANDLING PRIOR TO SLAUGHTER
Keep animals off feed for 12 to 24 hours before slaughter
time, but allow them free access to water. Fasting the animal
makes slaughtering easier and more sanitary. Handle hogs
quietly and calmly, because exciting, overheating and running
prior to slaughter result in poor bleeding. The keeping quality
and appearance of the meat is lowered when blood remains in
TIME TO SLAUGHTER
Slaughtering hogs on the farm in Florida should be done in
the early morning or late afternoon. If the air temperature is
above 400F., then slaughtering should be postponed until the
weather is cool enough. The hog carcass should be placed in
a refrigerated storage room (34 360F.) immediately after
slaughtering. It is better to slaughter only a few hogs in 1 day
Fig. 3.-The back of the knife crowds the under side of the breast hone.
A downward cut splits the forked veins and arteries.
so they can be placed in refrigerated storage shortly after
TOOLS AND EQUIPMENT
1. Hot water thermometer.
2. Hog hook or hay hook.
3. Singletree or hog gambrel.
4. Skinning knife, boning knife or small butcher knife.
5. Bell hog scrapers.
6. Sharpening stone.
7. Sharpening steel.
Fig. 4.-Scrape in the direction of the hair.
Hogs should be stuck without stunning or shooting. The
hog is placed squarely on his back and the sticker bears down
on the hog's chin with his left hand (Fig. 2). A short incision
is made in front of the breast bone squarely in the center. The
back of the knife is permitted to slide underneath the breast
bone, after which a downward cut is made. The downward
thrust is continued almost to the vertebrae (backbone) and the
veins and arteries are split. Hoisting the hog before sticking
aids in removing blood and keeps the carcass cleaner.
Fig. 5.-Split the breast bone by cutting about %1 inch to one side of the
center. Loosen the tongue and esophagus.
Temperature of the scalding water should be approximately
150F. Wash the hog with cold water to remove blood and dirt.
Scald the head and front portion of the hog first so that the
hind legs can be used to turn and pull the hog from the scalding
water. Keep the hog in the scalding water only long enough
for the hair and scurf to come off easily. When the water is
too hot and the hog is left in too long, the hair may set and be
Fig. 6.-Cut through the skin on the hind legs to lift the tendons. Cut-
ting on each side of the tendons will loosen them. Be sure to loosen the
upper and lower tendons.
Fig. 7.-Be sure to insert the gambrel under upper and lower tendons
on both legs.
hard to remove. When the hair comes off easily, turn the hog,
insert a hog hook in the back of the lower jaw (but not through
the tongue) and scald the hind end.
After scalding the hog, place it on a scraping table and re-
move the hair with bell scrapers (Fig. 4). The legs, ears and
head are usually the most difficult to clean; therefore, scrape
Fig. 8.-Cutting between the hams. Splitting the pelvic bone or aitchbone.
them first. Hair may be removed from the legs, ears and tail
by a twisting and pulling motion.
Rinse the hog with some of the scalding water and shave
the remaining hair from the head, legs, ears and body with a
sharp knife. Hand blow torches can be used to a good advantage
in singeing to remove hairs remaining after shaving.
t. \' Y i-~
Fig. 9.-Two ways of locating the pelvic bone: (1) split white membrane,
(2) feel for center of pelvic bone.
Cut exactly between the hams until the pelvic bone is
reached. The center of the pelvic bone can be located by:
1. Following the center of the thin white membrane which
extends through the flesh (between the hams) to the pelvic bone.
2. Cut a small hole in the center of the stomach on a line
about as far back as the hip and feel for the center of the pelvic
Fig. 10.-Removing the vulva and anus.
Split the pelvic bone with a knife, in young animals, or with
a saw in older animals. Do not cut into the intestines. In
barrows cut off the penis and sheath by cutting around the
sheath and loosening the penis from the ham.
Fig. 11.-Cut a small opening along the midline, insert the hand with
the knife. With the point of the knife out and the cutting edge down,
continue to cut to the split in the breast bone, pushing away the intestines.
Remove the stomach, intestines, heart, lungs and liver.
Fig. 12.-Wash the tongue, heart and liver with cold water and
chill them promptly.
Fig. 13.-Remove the gall bladder from the liver.
Fig. 14.-Remove the head by cutting on each side of the jaw bones and
then cutting behind the ears to separate the head from the backbone. It
is easier to remove the head before the carcass is chilled.
Quickly and thoroughly chill the carcass as soon as possible
after slaughter to insure keeping quality and to enable easier,
more attractive cutting. A 24-hour chill at 34 to 360F. usually
will cool the carcass enough. Chilling rids the carcass of its
animal heat. If not done, meat will spoil, because the harmful
organisms are active at the higher temperatures. Hang the
carcass to chill, apart from other carcasses, in a place free of
undesirable odors and where there is good circulation of air.
Improper chilling practices result in poor curing, canning and
freezing qualities, and possibly in complete spoilage.
The hog shown in the carcass pictures (Figs. 15-19) had
the following vital statistics: live weight, 226 pounds; dressed
weight, 1631/2 pounds; dressing percent, 72.34; fat back thick-
ness, 1.60 inches; carcass length first rib to aitchbone, 307/
inches; USDA grade, Choice I.
The authors wish to express their appreciation to Dr. Hervey Sharpe,
Assistant Agricultural Editor, Florida Agricultural Extension Service,
for making the pictures.
Fig. 15.-Scrape up and down the carcass after it has been washed.
Fig. 16.-Split the carcass in half by splitting the center of the backbone
from the tail to the atlas joint.
Fig. 17.-Loosen the leaf fat or kidney fat to permit more rapid chilling.
Fig. 18.-Wash the carcass thoroughly inside and outside. Remove all
traces and stains of blood.
Fig. 19.-Clean hog carcass ready for the cooler. Note that the head
and leaf fat have been removed and the carcass has been split down the
back, all of which aids in more rapid chilling and easier handling.
U.S.D.A. MARKET GRADES
BARROWS AND GILTS
U. S. No. 1.-Slaughter hogs with the near minimum finish
are required to produce high quality pork cuts. Carcasses have
a relatively high ratio of lean to fat and usually yield more than
50 percent of their weight in the major lean cuts of hams, loins,
picnics, and Boston butts.
U. S. No. 2.-Slaughter hogs slightly fatter than necessary
to produce high quality pork and yielding cuts that require con-
siderable trimming. Carcasses normally yield 47 to 50 percent
of their weight in the 4 trimmed lean cuts.
U. S. No. 3.-Slaughter hogs that are decidedly overfat and
produce carcasses with a low proportion of lean and a high pro-
portion of fat. Many cuts have large amounts of internal fat
remaining even after heavy trimming of external fat. Yields
of the 4 lean cuts are usually less than 47 percent of the carcass
Medium.-Hogs which are slightly underfinished and produce
soft cuts with little or no marbling or other desirable quality
characteristics. Although yields of lean cuts are relatively high,
the ratio of total lean and fat to bone is slightly low.
Cull.-Hogs which are decidedly underfinished and produce
cuts very inferior in quality.
YIELDS AND CUTTING PERCENTAGES OF A U. S. NO. 1 AND A U. S. No. 3
MEAT TYPE HOG*
U. S. No. 1 U. S. No. 3
Cut % Yield % Yield
H am s ......................... .............................. 13.1 11.7
Loins ........ -................- ....................... 10.0 9.0
Picnics ............. ......... ....... ......- ...... 6.8 6.2
Butts ............................................. ............ 5.4 4.8
Fat for lard ............................................. 11.3 15.9
B ellies ............................................................ 10.2 11.2
M miscellaneous ............................................. 11.2 10.2
Total ....... ............-- ....-.---- .... 68.0 69.0
Standardization and Grading Branch, Livestock Division, Agricultural Marketing
Service, U. S. Department of Agriculture.
WEIGHT AND MEASUREMENT GUIDES TO GRADES FOR BARROWS AND GILT CARCASSES. (EITHER CARCASS WEIGHT OR LENGTH
MAY BE USED WITH BACK FAT THICKNESS AS A RELIABLE GUIDE TO GRADE.)
s W t or C L Average Back Fat Thickness (Inches) by Grade
Carcass Weight or Carcass Length ___ ___________________
U. S. No. 1 U.S. No. 2 U.S. No. 3 Medium Cull
Under 120 pounds or under 27 inches ............ 1.2 to 1.5 1.5 to 1.8 1.8 or more 0.9 to 1.2 less than 0.9
120 to 164 pounds or 27 to 29.9 inches .................. 1.3 to 1.6 1.6 to 1.9 1.9 or more 1.0 to 1.3 less than 1.0
165 to 209 pounds or 30 to 32.9 inches ..-....-.-. 1.4 to 1.7 1.7 to 2.0 2.0 or more 1.1 to 1.4 less than 1.1
210 or more pounds or 33 or more inches ..--... 1.5 to 1.8 1.8 to 2.1 2.1 or more 1.2 to 1.5 less than 1.2