Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Pig Roast, Butchering and Stone Weapons Test

This is a very late post. This event actually took place at the end of May. My brother organized a pig roast at my place the week before his wedding. We had never roasted a pig before but my brother researched how to do it online.

We started Friday night by digging a pit in my backyard in the rain. With three of us it didn't take too long. We then lined the pit with scrap stone counter top slabs and added additional rocks to the bottom.

Early Saturday morning we started a fire in the pit. We let it burn for 2-3 hours to make sure the rocks were red hot.

While we monitored the fire, our friend Jason acquired the pigs. They were freshly killed and cleaned that morning. The pig we bought for roasting weighed about 80 lbs.

We stuffed it full of meat and vegetables. On the right side of the picture there is a chicken stuffed with a Cornish game hen stuffed with garlic. We also had squid stuffed with carrots and bison sausage. Other people put hot rocks inside the pig to help cook it thoroughly, but I think they might be wasting space where other food can go.

After we stuffed it, Jason sewed it up and then we wrapped it in foil and chicken wire. The foil was mainly to keep it clean and moist. The chicken wire helped keep it in one package when moving it.

Once we had it all prepared, we shoveled some dirt on the fire to put it out and create a level surface to rest the pig on.

Then we laid down freshly cut grass as another barrier against dirt. On top of that we laid the pig.

More grass on top.

Then we shoveled dirt on top to seal in the heat. We continued to add dirt where ever we saw steam escaping. We allowed the heated up rocks to cook the pig for about 7 hours.

When we removed it, we were very pleased with the results. The pig was completely cooked. Because there was no direct flame and all the moisture was trapped, the meat was very tender and juicy.

The other meat and vegetables inside were also pretty well cooked.

A slice of squid stuffed with carrots and bison sausage.

While the pig cooked for 7 hours, we butchered a 330 lbs pig. We strapped its legs to a long pole and four of us carried it over our shoulders like you would see in a movie. We rigged up a tripod with some long logs and hung it for butchering.

Before we started butchering it we tested some primitive stone weapons. My brother wanted to test the effectiveness of the Macuahuitl he made. A Macuahuitl is a wooden sword lined with flakes of obsidian. According to written accounts by one of Cortes's men, an Aztec warrior cut off the head of his horse with one.

Because the way pig was situated, he had to kneel to take a swing. He also had to be careful not to hit the tripod. Despite the less than ideal positioning, his first swing cut through to the bone. A few more swings and some sawing removed the head. The Macuahuitl is truly a deadly weapon and I imagine it could decapitate a man without too much trouble.

Next I gave it a thrust with my obsidian spear being careful not to damage the precious bacony parts of the animal.

Despite the tip being dull it penetrated pretty deeply without too much effort.

Andrew K shot my dacite pointed arrow and to his credit struck home on the first try despite the low quality of its construction.

Like the spear, the arrow penetrated pretty deep.

After our weapons testing, Jason led the crew in butchering the pig. Most of the meat went towards making bacon. Since then I've tried a few slices and it is delicious. There will definitely be more pig roasting and butchering in the future.


Tim Noble said...

Looks a great way to cook up a pig. I'll have to try that.

NWpodcast said...

very cool. can you post pictures and details of the arrow, spear, and Macua... construction?

my sons and i just finished making arrows with arrowheads made from moose antler. they work very well and we were suprised at how well they shoot. ( we'd like to try the obsidian/stone work next.


Sassmouth said...

@NWpodcast: Details about the spear construction are in the hyperlink in the post text. I posted about the arrow a bit too, but only explained the materials I used here:

As for the Macuahuitl, my brother made that. I imagine he shaped the wood with rasps, files and sandpaper. Each side had a deep groove where he inserted obsidian flakes and held them in place with pitch. Making the flakes is a challenge. It requires a different skill than making and arrow head. I don't have much experience in that.

NWpodcast said...

Ah, now i see the links for the spear and arrowhead. very nicely made. thanks!

Darren said...

I'm either going to have to become a vegetarian when we have to start hunting for meat again or make myself very, very, very important to you so that you will feed me after utilizing your sweet weapons. Now, then, what would a guy have to do to be that important to you? ;)

Great site. Just found it when looking for some instructions for yucca cordage. I'm excited to start following and catching up with all I've missed. I'm going to go kill a zucchini for the grill right now. Challah!

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