Posted by: A Part of the Solution | September 20, 2010

Whole Hog Sausage

It’s that time of the year. The leaves are crisp underfoot and taking color overhead. Geese fly overhead, deeper into the Potomac Watershed, every day now.  Squirrels and pigs gather up acorns–squirrels for later, pigs with instant gratification foremost in their intentions. Peppers and tomatoes and squash hang bright and heavy in the garden. In a word, autumn is upon us. It’s my favorite season. And this year will mark our first autumn on the property. I can hardly wait, as the season is shaping up so nicely.

Just in time, we got our three-not-so-little pigs out of the barn and into their woodland piggery. There they can root for grubs and snout up acorns and beechnuts and hickory nuts to their hearts’ content. It is for shaded foraging that pigs evolved as they did. And it was for those traits that we selected heritage breed pigs suitable to gambol, frisk and grunt in the trees and under-story of our forested land.

Not a moment too soon, we made an appointment for our Gloucestershire Old Spot to go to the USDA inspected meat locker the first week of October. There he will be processed down from livestock to dead weight to packaged flesh and other matter. He won’t have lived a long life, but we’ve done everything in our power to make it a good one.

I have my heart set on rendering my own lard from the fat encasing our Old Spot’s kidneys. This fat is said to make the best of all possible lards for pie crust. I am in a state of pure-D anticipation over that little treat. We want at least one of his legs for a ham. We want one side of his belly for the bacon. I’m definitely toying with the idea of producing a classic New Orleans Boudin with various bits of his offal (out of respect for the life of the animal in question, I’d rather he were used thoroughly and as much of him as possible didn’t go to waste).

Another idea we’re working on is whole hog sausage. Pretty much, it is what it sounds like it is. Although I am powerfully fond of the various individual and unique parts and portions of our friend the pig, I cannot shake the joy of sharing all of him with anyone who cares to get in on the purchase of him as a loose sausage.

Since we have lots of discretion in the spicing of the sausage meat to come, I have all my fattest and most antique cookbooks off the shelf and spread open to pages detailing the proper proportions of this herb and that spice to produce traditional sausage from all over Europe and America. Spicy is desirable, but not so spicy that many people wouldn’t be able to enjoy it. Then there are more delicate questions. Juniper berries? Allspice? Coriander? What volume of fennel to pepper flakes? Bay leaves? Mace? And where would I get it? Green herbs like parsley, basil and the like? Black peppercorns exclusive of green or white or red?

Feel free to put your two cents in before he goes to meet his doom!



  1. I vote for your making a spicy one! But fennel and sage are fantastic with sausage. And please do make the boudin – it’s going to be fabulous!!

    • I’m thinking there’s enough of Bobby that I could reasonably make more than one kind of sausage with him. And since we’re in an experimental phase, it’s more than likely that I will go for more than just one form of whole hog sausage.

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