Humor At Hog Slaughtering Time

slaughtering hogs in appalachia

In the first post about hog slaughtering-I shared my funny story of being chased home by 2 big pigs. In Keith Jones’ guest post Hog Killin Day, he described a comical incident about his Uncle Blueford. After that-it seemed I kept hearing funny stories related to hog slaughtering.

One of the first I heard centered around Papaw Tony and his brother, Uncle Sam. The story also highlights 2 of the dangers that accompanied slaughtering day-boiling water and sharp knives.

Tony and Sam were both students at Haywood Community College. Sam had stayed home from school to catch up on homework, and their father, James, was going to slaughter a hog.

To aide in removing hair from the hog-it was common for folks to have a barrel buried in the ground at a slight angle. The barrel would be filled with boiling water-the pig would be ‘dipped’ into the water to scald the hair off and clean the hog as well. Although James had folks helping with the slaughtering, they called Sam out to help with dipping the hog. It had started to rain, and as they were handling the hog, Sam slipped and his foot went into the scalding barrel. As they tried to pull Sam’s sock off to see how bad he was burned-the skin came with it. Pig slaughtering was halted and a trip to the hospital was soon under way.

After returning from the hospital, it was decided that Tony should be called home to help finish the slaughtering job. When Tony arrived the process continued. As the hog hung from a tree, Tony held the hog open for James to clean out the innards. During the gutting-James’ knife slipped and cut Tony’s finger to the bone. Feeling horrible I’m sure-James said “come on and lets go down to the hospital and get it sewed up.” Thinking of Sam’s trip to the doc earlier in the day, Tony refused saying “I’m not going to the same Doctor for the same hog!” Tony fashioned a splint to hold the wound together. Both he and Sam recovered completely from their accidents-but that would be a hog killing day that no one in the family ever forgot.

Many of you left comments about becoming attached to hogs-only to have to part with them once slaughtering time arrived. The Deer Hunter had a similar experience.

His Papaw James bought 2 hogs to fatten up and slaughter for meat. From the beginning The Deer Hunter was warned not to become attached to them. From the beginning-he didn’t heed the warning. Ever chance he got he headed for the pig lot. Feeding the 2 pigs, petting them-in other words they become his best friends. I suppose the grown ups knew he would be upset when slaughtering day arrived-but after all they had warned him. On the big day-The Deer Hunter had a plan to stop them. He gathered a good supply of rocks and hid within easy throwing distance. As the men walked down to the lot-he began his rock attack. Not only did his plan fail-he said it was without a doubt the worst whipping he ever got.

I’ll leave you with one more funny story about hogs. It’s from Teresa in KY:

We were at my uncle’s house. He had 3 boys, each about our ages to match me and my sister and brother. When we’d get together with them, there was usually some mischief. We went out to the pen to see the piglets. Then someone decided to separate the momma sow from the babies so we could play with the little ones. All I remember was standing in the pen with a branch and trying to get between the momma and her babies. She turned and charged at me. She’d had enough!!! The next thing I knew, I was riding a sow, backwards, being jarred half to death as she trotted full-speed to the electric fence line, determined to get me, the enemy, out of her pen. I landed right across that weed-eater fence and it cut some good welts across both knee-caps. I went crying to the house and once the grown-ups realized how it happened, that was the end of our fun for the day. But I can’t help but smile at the vision of a 9-year-old girl riding a sow backwards at full speed, with my teeth rattling in my head. –teresa in ky

If you’ve got a funny story to add-please leave me a comment.


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  • Reply
    January 27, 2010 at 9:06 am

    Poor Deer Hunter.
    I’ll bet he still has nightmares about losing his best friends and getting a beatin’ for trying to save them.

  • Reply
    January 26, 2010 at 8:55 am

    Fishing Guy-of course I didnt think the burn or the cut was funny-it was what Papaw Tony said about not going to the same doctor for the same hogthat was funny.
    Blind Pig The Acorn
    Music, Giveaways, Mountain Folk
    All at http://www.blindpigandtheacorn.com

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    January 25, 2010 at 4:10 pm

    I remember that day, one scalded and one cut. It was both terrible and funny. All those problems added a day to the pig processing time. Once begun there is nothing to do but work till it’s done. I helped as much as I could.
    That was some day!

  • Reply
    Fishing Guy
    January 25, 2010 at 3:21 pm

    Tipper: The story of the scalding and the cuts where not that funny to me. I have had both of them happen to me under different conditions and they were not funny. Riding the sow backwards was funny.

  • Reply
    January 25, 2010 at 1:27 pm

    Have you ever seen the Red Green Show? It and pig raising got me in a lot of trouble recently. But I still say it was funny, Dirt laughs but still carries a the scar of a poorly stitched wound he got from a fence post that the pigs shoved around. When Dirt went for stitches I had to drive him and so I sat in the room with him while the doc stitched him up. Doc asked Dirt how he got the wound, Dirt told him pigs messed with fence, he tried to fix it quick like and just ended up running steel fence post into his palm instead. This caused Doc and Dirt to trade farm stories, Doc, a nice looking young guy, said that many of his doctoring skills came from learning to be handy on the farm. So I said, “well you know what they say on the Red Green Show, ‘if the women can’t find you handsome and least they can find you handy.’ Well heck, that nice lookin’ Doc thought I was calling him not-handsome and what should have been about three more stitches in Dirt’s palm turned into one poorly done one and a hasty retreat out the door. Pigs seem to cause a lot of trouble.

  • Reply
    January 25, 2010 at 11:22 am

    Enjoyed reading. As a child I also got attatched to the hogs and my parents would tell me that they traded a hog that I loved to the farmer down the road for one of his hogs. I never knew till later that we were eating my beloved hog. Blessings,Kathleen

  • Reply
    January 25, 2010 at 8:18 am

    you have such a great writing style – its always a pleasure to read when the writer is so fluid….I grew up around butchering – we had sheep, chickens, goats, cows and and the occasional pig.

  • Reply
    January 25, 2010 at 7:09 am


  • Reply
    Patty Hall
    January 24, 2010 at 8:18 pm

    I remember my older bro’s and sis’ talking about a hog they use to ride. It’s name was Arnold. I don’t rmember it so I guess I wasn’t around yet. Did you see the article in the Citizen-times about the hogs in the Smokies?

  • Reply
    January 24, 2010 at 2:53 pm

    I think that’s one hog slaughtering day they won’t ever forget. I remember Dad slaughtering hogs, but I never had to help, thank goodness.

  • Reply
    January 24, 2010 at 1:31 pm

    I grew up in the country too and was told from day one..DON’T NAME THE ANIMALS. Did I obey that rule, heck no and cried my eyes out every butchering season.

  • Reply
    Vicki Lane
    January 24, 2010 at 12:26 pm

    We were never industrious or brave enough to deal with the heads but usually discarded them along with the guts. Once a neighbor’s dog managed to get one of the heads and drag it home where he left it on the porch. I can only imagine our neighbors’ comments.

  • Reply
    January 24, 2010 at 11:51 am

    Thanks for the stories Tipper. Doings hogs can be quite dangerous by the sounds of it. Like me field dressing a deer, I can never do it with out cutting myself at least once.

  • Reply
    January 23, 2010 at 8:29 pm

    Those hogs sure do have personality! These were great stories.

  • Reply
    January 23, 2010 at 8:10 pm

    I remember;My Daddy shot a hog,cut his thoat,and, as he was putting it in the hot water barrel,the hog jumped up and ran away!!We chased him for “awhile”
    he then died,and we finished our job.That was the last time I helped!Meat was good tho.

  • Reply
    Chef E
    January 23, 2010 at 1:41 pm

    Here is a story my mother told about my grandmother- When it was hog killin time on their farm, my grandmother and her sister would have to help from an early age, and they hated it. The worst part for them was to take the feet, snout, and ears from the carcass and clean them, boil them up and make my great grandfather his favorite dishes. One day when they were teenagers, but not sure exactly how old, they decided to go and hide the parts. They would bury them out in the woods and tried to think of a good story to what happened. They forgot and went about playing. When it was time for dinner their father asked if they had done their chores and they answered yes. He never questioned them. When it came to bed time they got ready and pulled the covers back to climb in. Well evidently he saw what they had done, gone and dug it all up and put it into their covers. They said they never disobeyed his wishes again after that.
    I remember thinking how gross that must have been climbing into the covers with that mess! -E

  • Reply
    January 23, 2010 at 1:12 pm

    One year we went together with a cousin and bought two hogs, someone told us that one wouldn’t do well alone. Anyway, we fed them on table scraps, oats, and outdated dairy products. That’s right, my husband made weekly rounds to several grocery stores, and they gave him outdated milk, ice cream and such.
    Fall came, and with it time to put the pigs in the freezer. We didn’t have anything to scald the hogs in, so my husband and his cousin decided to skin them. They shot them in the head, hung them from the rafters in my father-in-law’s garage, gutted them out, and were surveying the job at hand when my father-in-law came out to help.
    He took a good look at his son and nephew, both left-handed, holding carpet knives and preparing to skin the hogs. He put a bottle of whiskey down on the workbench with a flourish, and said, “That’s all I will have to do with this project!” and retreated to the house.
    The pork was great, and the story remains!

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