"Do I have to have a big chest freezer to store a whole or half hog?"
That is an important question to ask before committing to purchasing meat in bulk! The short answer is, a half hog will take about 3 cubic feet, and a whole hog will take about 6 cubic feet.
The average home refrigerator/freezer has about 5 cubic feet of freezer space. So chances are, you can make room for at least a half hog, even if you don't have a big chest freezer.
Some people get creative and go in on a hog together so that they can share freezer space.
But did you realize that you don't have to freeze the whole thing? And I don't mean just those few cuts you are going to eat during the coming week. I mean, there are things that you can do with cuts of pork that are better than freezing-thawing-cooking-and-eating.
A lot of people like the idea of having a pantry full of canned meat that won't go bad in the event of an extended power outage. You can pressure can (which is different than water bath canning) a large amount of pork and not rely on a freezer. It has the added convenience of storing your meat already cooked.
Or there's my personal favorite, Dry Curing, the long lost art of preserving meat with salt. Have you heard of prosciutto, cappicola, salami, spalla, speck, pancetta, Virginia ham...? Dry curing is a type of charcuterie, and is surprisingly simple compared to the gourmet result that it yields. Dry curing can be done without nitrates or nitrites, just salt and sometimes spices. It does require a cold space during the curing process, so unless you have a convenient place like a root cellar to store the meat in, it will take up a portion of your refrigerator for a few weeks. But seriously, would you rather make room in your fridge for moldy leftovers, or mouth watering cured meats that are bursting with flavor and melt in your mouth?
So if the average one-refrigerator/freezer-household planned it right, they could make room for a whole hog by curing some and freezing the rest of it. And they will get to enjoy succulent pasture raised pork not only as the centerpiece of many delicious dinners, but also as an amazing treat during the day when they need some high protein energy.
Almost makes you glad you don't have a bigger freezer so you didn't just freeze the whole thing. Right?
If this leaves you wondering if you can really do dry cure, don't worry! Next week's post is going to show you how easy it is and that anyone can do it.
Click here to reserve your whole or half hog!!