What is a Half Pig Share?
We get asked this question a lot so lets take a moment to discuss what you actually get when you purchase half of a pig.
About 23 pork chops from a half pig, 2 roasts, 1 fresh ham, 8 lbs of fresh bacon slab, 3 lbs of spare ribs, 9 lbs of ground pork, etc totaling about 75 lbs in the freezer for the half pig pictured at the bottom. That was a little on the high side. Most pigs are between 60 and 70 lbs for a half share. This can vary with the individual pig as well as how thick pork chops are cut and such.
First note that a pig can be raised to the size you need. Some people prefer smaller pigs, others larger. As they get larger there is more fat to lean. A typical slaughter weight is between 250-300 lbs yielding about 190 lbs hanging weight. If you just take the prime commercial cuts that is about 120 lbs in the freezer. If you take the whole pig, nose to tail, that will give you about 160 lbs which includes great stuff like the hocks, soup bones, lard, liver, jowls (like bacon), head, trotters and other things. The pig is good to eat, end-to-end.
If you prefer you can specify custom cutting and they’ll follow your instructions. For example, perhaps you want more ground meat, no hams and no roasts. Or maybe you would like tenderloin and fewer pork chops. Or perhaps you want to reduce the bacon and go with more ribs.
Below is a chart showing the average "cuts" from a half pig share:
13 Pork chops 1"- Total of 23 pork chops (7 packs of 2 + 3 packs of 3)
3 Spare Ribs
9 Sausage (Ground meat in 1lb packages)
15 Fresh/Cured Ham (whole or sliced)
8 Fresh/Cured Bacon
10 Shoulder Roast
4 Butt Pork Roast
5 Stew Bones (good for dogs if you do not make stew or broth)
8 Fat (you can render this for lard or feed it to dogs/chickens)
75 Total pounds of cuts in freezer
In the end on average you end up with 75 total pounds of cuts in the freezer from a half share of a hog. A whole share would be double the half or an average of 150 pounds of cuts in the freezer.
The reason the pork chops are divided into 7 packs of 2 and 3 packs of 3 is that it is convenient for a family of two. If you are a family of four you can ask for four chops to a package, etc. The smaller pork chops near the end were packed three to a package to adjust for their smaller size, thus the two different package sizes. Total count of pork chops was 23 for the half pig. These were thick 1″ pork chops. Thinner 3/4″ pork chops would yield more chops from the same pig. A shorter pig would yield fewer, a longer pig more. There is some natural variation. Figure on the typical pig having around 20 pork chops per side – more is a bonus. Also note there may be an oddly sliced pork chop towards the end – small and great for a child or sandwich.
Hog Share Terms:
There are several different terms you’ll run across when talking about how much pig there is.
First, there’s the live weight, which, like it sounds, is how much the pig weighs when it’s alive. Since we don’t have a scale, when we judge the live weight, it’s based on a tape measure and a mathematical formula, which gets us in the neighborhood but isn’t exact. This is also sometimes referred to as “on the hoof”.
Another term is market weight. Market weight is a target weight for when the pigs go to the processor. Market weight for pigs is in the 225-300 pound range. Any more or less than that and the ratio of how much meat you get versus how much money you put in isn’t as ideal. I’m aiming for 250-300 pound pigs this year.
The hanging weight is the weight of the carcass after slaughter but before butchering. The blood has been drained, the intestines removed, and parts like the head and feet cut off. This is the weight that we charge by. 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.
For our pig orders we use a "hanging weight" price per pound. The average weight of a whole hog is 200-260 pounds live weight. You pay only for the hanging weight, which will be approximately 64-72% of the live weight. Prices do not include processing fees. We do charge a $30 delivery fee to the slaughter house. Please contact us if you are interested in purchasing pork. We do not process pork onsite.