Sunday, February 24:
Yesterday was the Day of Destiny for the two pigs up at Barry’s. They were two of the four we got from F., and they hung at two-hundred thirty and two-hundred fifty pounds, split. The guys got them on hooks in about three hours on Friday afternoon; on Saturday they started around seven o’clock, and with three of the Fallon boys had both hogs cut and wrapped by three o’clock. The sample sausage that Barry brought in and fried was of surpassing excellence; tonight we will grill pork chops.
The hams and belly from the black hog the boys killed last week have been brining for a week in a black pepper/brown sugar cure. To hold them at forty degrees we put them out in the cave on the east side of the house where we store pumpkins, winter squash, and potatoes. Three times the bacons were brought in, massaged, turned in their brine and put back out in the cave. The hams require a week longer in the cure, and only had to be checked to make sure the brine wasn’t turning ropy, a sign that bacteria have taken hold. Today we took the bacons from the brine and washed them; later we will set up a fifty-five gallon drum and smoke the belly for seven or eight hours. Not wanting to wait that long for a taste, though, we cut a few rashers after Mass and fried them up for breakfast; they were delicious.