The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 79, July 1975 - April, 1976 Page: 183
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A "Hog-Killing Good Time"
readily separate from the hog hide, Papa would then almost ceremoniously
announce that the scalding was finished.
Conditions were now right to hang the hog. Generally, you had to have
a block and tackle, attached to the gambling stick, to pull the big "crittur"
up. The horse and the men all pulled. With the hog once suspended straight
up and down, the men and such of us kids as were big enough would start
rapidly scraping off the hair. If the "scald" had been good most of the
hair could be scraped off easily. Frequently, however, there would be places
where you would have to dash more scalding water on the hide to finish
loosening the hair.
After the hair was all scraped off, the hog carcass was washed clean,
and things could slow down to a more natural pace. Long butcher knives
had been especially sharpened and a whetstone and grindstone were nearby
to keep them that way.
With movements just short of ritualistic, Papa would choose a knife and
start opening up the hog, cutting with precise care so as not to puncture
the intestines. As the butchering proceeded, the vital organs could be seen,
and certainly hogs are "fearfully and wonderfully made." A proceeding
which you might have expected to be gruesome and ugly became, under
Papa's skilled hand, awesome and curiosity arousing. No wonder the smart-
est Greeks were mystified by animal "innards" and 2,500 years ago slaugh-
tered animals and examined their intestines hoping to predict favorable or
unfavorable circumstances of the future. The hog's "innards" were of
beautiful contrasting colors, compartmentalized, and extremely clean; and
Greeks, hogs, "guts," or no, the form, colors, arrangements, and cleanliness
of the inside of these animals were always fascinating and a wonder to see.
As the opening was slowly and steadily extended further and further
down the vertical middle of the hog's belly, the entrails would begin to hang
out until, finally, we would have to bring a large galvanized wash tub and
catch them as the lungs, bladder, intestines, and all were finally cut from
the rest of the carcass.
Papa would cut off some dark red part of the "innards" and say, "Here
kids is the melt!"
We would slice it up a little bit, pull a flat rock from the fire and then
turn the "melt" over and over till it was roasted, then we would eat it up.
It was a tasty morsel-a definite highpoint in the overall day's excitement.
The hog killing would have been going on for an hour or so by now,
and by this time some of the neighbors' wives would have shown up. Mama
and the other women would carefully go over the "innards," cutting off
this edible part, trimming that, and slicing another place, carefully saving
Here’s what’s next.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 79, July 1975 - April, 1976, periodical, 1975/1976; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101203/m1/215/: accessed April 28, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.