Buying a whole pig is how some people fill their freezer with local meat. Buying the whole animal is an easy way to get good quality meat, stock up and have pork on hand for breakfast, dinner or any other meal. Bacon, pork roast and ham are only a few of the meats derived from pork, and recipes for many pork dishes are easily found in cookbooks or online. Buying a pig for meat is often less expensive than buying smaller cuts of packaged pork in stores, and will cut down on time spent at the butcher shop or supermarket.
Find a local farm involved in raising pigs. Asking your local butcher for information to find a pig for meat is another option. The classified section in local newspapers often has listings for farms selling meat directly to the public.
Ask your local butcher what options are available for the pig you are buying for meat. Each butcher has his own individual recipe for sausage. How he cuts meat and which cuts he offers for sale is also particular to each butcher. Depending on your family size, the amount of pork required and how you choose to have it processed, the weight of the pig you want to buy will vary. The butcher will be familiar with how much meat different cuts will yield, as well as the bone-in weight of the meat compared to the weight of edible pork after the pig has been cut and deboned.
Choose a young gilt — a female pig — or a castrated male weighing between 180 to 250 pounds, live weight. Pigs at higher weights have a high fat percentage and pigs at lower weights are usually not as economical. The pig should receive water only for 24 hours before slaughter. Some, but not all, butcher shops or slaughterhouses follow this rule. Talk to whoever will be butchering the pig to learn about how the animal will be prepared for slaughter.
Buy half a hog from a hog farm if it is available and the amount of meat fits your needs. You do not get to choose a particular pig in most situations anyway, so this is usually done by phone. Your role in the process is to buy the pig, tell the butcher shop how you want the meat cut and packaged and pay the butcher for processing when you pick up the packaged meat.