How to Buy a Whole or Half Pig
* Post updated July 2, 2017
Our buying window for custom pork orders will open in October 2017 on a first come, first serve basis.
BUYING A SIDE OF PORK FROM MONNETT FARMS
One of the most economical ways to buy meat is in bulk, direct from the farmer. Not only do you get to know the farmer and how the animal was raised, but you have the advantage of getting the meat butchered the way you want. At Monnett Farms, we sell sides of beef and pork as well as whole lambs and goat.
We often get questions about ordering sides of beef and pork, so we thought we’d take a little time and answer a few commonly asked questions and offer advice for folks looking to buy a whole or half hog.
BUYERS GUIDE FOR WHOLE (OR HALF) HOG
There are are various reasons why people buy a whole hog – in some cases it may be for a pig roast, which requires a smaller pig, typically around 30 to 40lbs. We generally do not have small pigs available, this may be something we look to do in the future. What we mostly market at Monnett Farms are finished hogs that have a live weight between 200 and 300lbs. We sell whole pigs or sides of pork.
How Much Does a Side of Pork Cost?
We charge $4.50 per pound for a whole hog and $4.75 per pound for a side of pork. The price is based on the hanging weight of the pig, which is the weight after the head, feet and organs have been removed, but before it has been butchered into usable cuts. We estimate that the hanging weight of a side of our pork will be between 70 and 90 lbs. That equates to about $400 for a side of pork and between $600 and $800 for a whole hog.
How Much Meat Will I Get From A Side of Pork?
The hanging weight is not the same as the yield weight after the meat is cut up to your specifications. Depending on the cuts you select, you can expect to get 70 to 80% of the hanging weight for your freezer.
WHAT CUTS SHOULD I GET?
Buying pork in bulk can sometimes be confusing, especially if you’ve never bought your meat this way. You want to think about what cuts of pork you and your family like to eat. In the Spring, you might be thinking about grilling meats, but remember to think ahead to the fall and winter when you might cook more roasts and stews. Our pork is vacuum packed and will keep in the freezer for a year or more.
Cuts of Pork
There are five specific sections to a hog, two of each section if you’re buying a whole hog, or one of each if you’re buying a side:
The loin section runs along the top of the ribs. You can choose to have this as a loin roast, specified as bone in or boneless and desired size of roasts (average is 2 to 3 lbs). Alternately, you can have the loin cut into chops (bone in) or steaks (boneless) and specify a thickness (average is 1″). From a side of pork, you can expect to get about 24 – 28 pork chops.
The belly (a.k.a. bellie or side meat), is where the bacon comes from. This is typically cured and smoked. Our butcher offers two types of curing/smoking: regular brine with hickory smoke OR no nitrites brine and hickory smoke. Instead of having the side meat cured and smoked, you could choose to have it fresh or added to your ground or sausage meat. You can expect 5 to 8 packs of bacon of medium thickness cured and smoked from a side of pork.
What are nitrites? What is fresh bacon?
Nitrites are a preservative commonly used in cured meats. A natural preservative is used as a substitute in the no nitrites brine. This is a personal preference, we typically order ours with the no nitrites brine to sell at the market. Bacon will keep longer in the refrigerator after the package has been opened if it has been preserved with nitrates (but who’s got bacon left over, really?).
Fresh bacon, also known as pork belly, can be prepared any number of ways. You can cure it yourself, slice it into pancetta or braise it.
The ham is another section that can be either left fresh or cured and smoked. You can leave the ham whole, have it cut in half, cut into roasts or steaks. The most popular way to cut the ham is center cut ham steaks and leave the ends as roasts. The ham can also be ground.
The shoulder is located in the front section of the hog and the area from where the Boston Butt and Picnic Roast are located. The shoulder can be left whole, cut in half as a whole Boston Butt or Picnic or ground. The Boston Butt and Picnic can be further cut into roasts or steaks.
The most popular way to have the ribs cut is “spare ribs”, which are basically the whole ribs. You could instead have smaller portioned pieces, known as short ribs, or have the rib meat ground.
Ground Pork & Sausage
Any meat that you specify or whatever is not included in the cuts you’ve selected can be ground and left as ground pork or used for sausage. Our butcher has a 15lb minimum per flavor to season sausage. The amount of ground pork will vary based on the cuts you’ve selected from above. The sausage flavors we offer are:
- Sweet Italian
- Hot Italian
You can choose to have your sausage as bulk sausage, breakfast links, breakfast patties or grillers.
Special Cuts and Organs
There are additional cuts and organs that you may be interested in, please let us know. Our butcher can generally provide whatever you are looking for.
IS YOUR PORK ORGANIC?
No, our pork is not organic. We purchase weaned piglets from a local farm in St. Mary’s County. They’re raised and finished at our farm until we take them to the butcher. We keep them on pasture, in an open, outdoor area surrounded by an electrified fence. They have a house for protection and a water fountain. Pigs are omnivores and require a protein source. We purchase our pig feed from a local Amish mill. The feed contains corn and soybeans along with other small grains and minerals. We do not give them any hormones or antibiotics.
CAN I ORDER SIDES OF PORK ANYTIME?
We only offer 2 – 3 opportunities a year to purchase a side of pork. Because the availability is limited, we generally sell out quickly. To be placed on our waiting list, please email us: firstname.lastname@example.org.