What is Hanging weight of pork
The hanging weight is the weight of the carcass after slaughter but before butchering. The blood has been drained, the internal organs removed, and depending on what abattoir you use the head and feet may be cut off.
This is the weight that the processor charges by, and the weight that I’m using for charging people this year.
Other words used to describe the hanging weight are dressed weight and “on the rail”.
Cuts are the products you get from the pig. This includes meat cuts, like sausage and pork chops, plus bones and fat. Since it’s not all meat that you take home to your freezer, it’s more accurate to say cuts than to say meat when talking about what you get from a pig.THE MATH
I’m aiming for roughly 250 pound pigs, but the price to the customer is based on the hanging weight, so some math gets involved in predicting how much people will owe. Then there’s the weight of what goes into your freezer, which is another number. It’s also important to keep in mind that all these numbers are just estimates. Different breeds of pigs turn out different numbers, each particular pig is different, and the style of the processor also matters in the final number.
It’s common for sites to give the hanging weight as a percentage of live weight and then the cuts as a percentage of hanging weight. If you’re trying to figure out how much you’re going to have in your freezer based on my estimate of 250 pound pigs, this can get confusing.
Amongst the sites I’ve looked at, hanging weight is given as anywhere from 64-85% of live weight and cuts given as 68-90% of hanging weight. That’s a lot of numbers and quite a range. For my goal of 250 pound pigs, these numbers give a hanging weight of 192-200 and the cuts weighing in at 120-175. This would make the cuts 43-76% of the live weight. But 76% is way too high there. Most sites quote cuts as 48-65% of live weight. Besides, I’d like to give my customers a bit more certainty on what they’re getting for their 250 pound pig.
Instead of looking all over and combining everyone’s numbers, I’ll go straight to my two favorite authorities on this topic on the web. These are american websites but have great information. One is the The Meatman. I recommend checking out his site since it’s just a lot of fun to browse around. The Meatman has processed a lot of meat, and he gives an average of 104 pounds of cuts from a 215 pound live weight pig, which makes the cuts about 48% of live weight. Then I head over to Sugar Mountain Farm to hear from Walter Jefferies. Walter says hanging weight is about 72% of live weight and the commercial cuts 66% of hanging weight or 48% of live weight. Since Walter and The Meatman agree, that’s definitely the number I’m going with!
So, from my 250 pound pig, I can expect about 200 hanging weight and about 132 pounds in the freezer.THE CUTS
The next question everyone wants to know is exactly what they’ll end up with in their freezer. Again, this is only a calculated estimate, since breed, individual pig, and processing choices will affect the end result.
Here are some examples I found of what you might get from a whole pig:
- 18 lbs pork chops, 4 lbs spare ribs, 12 lbs sausage, 24 lbs ham, 20 lbs bacon, 12 lbs shoulder butt roasts, 14 lbs shoulder picnic, 16 lbs bone/trimmings, 30 lbs fat = 150 lbs
- 7 lbs pork chops, 8 lbs sausage, 24 lbs ham, 20 lbs bacon, 17 lbs pork roast, 16 lbs picnic and shoulder butts, 7 lbs misc cuts, 5 lbs salt pork, 31 lbs fat = 135 lbs
- 23 lbs pork chops, 6 lbs spare ribs, 18 lbs ground sausage, 30 lbs ham, 16 lbs bacon, 20 lbs shoulder roast, 8 lbs butt roast, 10 lbs stew bones, 16 lbs fat = 147 lbs
- 23 lbs pork chops, 6 lbs spare ribs, 9 lbs sausage, 28 lbs ham, 23 lbs bacon, 9 lbs boston butt, 12 lbs picnic roast, 23 lbs fat = 133 lbs
My last pig that i slaughtered was 200 pounds hanging weight, I got roughing 140 pounds of cuts, 25 pounds of fatSPACE NEEDS
The final thing I want to cover here is how much space you need in order to have a whole pig on hand.
The first consideration is the coolers needed to pick your cuts up . My last pig slaughtered filled the equivalent of two 2 cubic foot boxes
A full pig would need twice as much space, of course
The second consideration is your freezer space at home. You need a chest freezer if you’re getting a whole pig. If you only got a half pig, you might be able to fit it into your regular freezer, but not much else would fit in there.
The Meatman estimates that you need one cubic foot of freezer space for 30 pounds of pig. That means I expect people who have me raise their pig this year will need about 5 cubic feet of cooler space and freezer space.
In the end, all numbers aside, you get a lot out of a pig, and it’s all really tasty ! It’s hard to go wrong, and I’m really excited to get started this year.