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Cuts of Pork from a whole hog

You did it! You ordered your first whole hog. Now the anxiety sets in about how you’ll know what to order to fill your freezer with your very own, customized bulk pork. This post will alleviate any worries and ensure you know exactly what cuts of pork from a whole hog you should be asking for! If you want to skip all the decision making, see the standard cut outlined at the bottom of the post!

When your whole (or half) hog is delivered to Wanders Farms, the processor in Otley, Iowa, they will call and ask you how you’d like your hog processed. Below we’ll outline your options for a whole hog, and if you ordered a half, assume half the amounts described below. If any of these cuts have you saying, “No, thanks!” Just say that on the phone and you’ll enjoy more things from the “trim” category.

Please keep in mind, the locker does charge based on the weight of the hog, and what “work” you have them do. If you wanted your entire hog made into brats– the bill would be more! We’ve found that a “standard cut” is about $350 and the bill is closer to $500 if you wanted all fancy cuts. Our YouTube channel has examples of both!

Shoulders

Shoulder is describing of the hog. Mix and match these options

  • Roasts- usually 4 roasts. Grocery store cuts would be called “pork butt” or “pork shoulder.”
  • Steaks- usually 4 steaks per roast. This is NOT a pork chop.
  • More trim
Traditional barbecue pulled pork piece of Bosten butt torn to bits as close-up on board

Loins

These are cuts you can get from your hog’s loin. Mix and match however you’d like, and choose how many you’d like in a pack.

  • Boinless Loin
  • Bone-in Loin
  • Iowa Chops
  • Boneless Chops
  • Tenderloins (approx. 12 per loin)
Roast pork meat with herbs and spices on black stone table. Top view with copy space.

Ribs

Yes or no? How big of a package do you want?

Hams

Hams can be cured or kept fresh, meaning no cure added. You can also choose to smoke them. If you want a ham for Easter or such, typically people do smoked and cured. Be sure to say what size of ham or roast you’d like. Typically there’s 6 made from a whole hog.

  • Roasts
  • Ham (meaning cured and/or smoked)
  • Ham Steaks (4 to 5 per ham)

Sides (BACON!)

If you want your bacon like the store (ONLY BETTER) most will choose to cure and smoke. If you’d like what’s known as “pork belly” let them know you’d like your bacon “fresh.”

Many of our buyers are into smoked and curing their own meat. You can definitely tell the locker you’d like your side left whole, bring it home and cure/smoke it on your own!

Trim

Every time a hog is processed, there are some bits and pieces that just aren’t part of your cuts listed above. This is known as “trim.” If you take all the cuts above, there would be about 10 pounds of “trim” you can choose what to do with. We always say “No thanks!” to some of the cuts so we can enjoy more of these delicious options below. One of the BEST things about this locker is they can do patties, links, or tubes– all customized to how big of a package you’d like. Need 2 pounds to feed your tribe? No problem!

  • Ground Pork- loose ground, patties or links
  • Italian Sausage- loose ground, patties or links
  • Breakfast Sausage- loose ground, patties or links
  • Skinless Brats or Brat Patties- plain, cheddar, hot pepper or hot pepper cheddar

Other

There are a few other things you may be wondering about with your whole hog. Below are some miscellaneous things we think you may or may not want.

  • Leaf Lard- If you’ve wondered how to make delicious fluffy biscuits or pie crusts, leaf lard is the answer. Ask the locker to give you your leaf lard. Connect with us if you are unsure how to use it when you get it back!
  • Back fat- Great for frying so you can save that leaf lard for the pies.
  • Organ meat. It’s all yours if you want it, but it’s okay if you don’t!

Ordering a whole hog for the first time may sound overwhelming, we want this to be a fun experience and provide you with cuts of pork you can use without needing to run to the store. Please reach out with any questions you have!

The Standard Cut

If you still feel overwhelmed, below is a standard cut option. Many will choose this for the first hog they order, and once they know which cuts they loved, they will customize it next time.

  • 3-4 Shoulder Roasts
  • 26-28 3/4″ Thick Pork Chops
  • Spare ribs
  • 2 Cured and Smoked Hams (4-5 Ham Steaks and 2-3 Roasts)
  • 16-20 Pounds of Cured and Smoked bacon
  • 1/2 Fresh Ground Pork, 1/2 Breakfast Sausage

Our whole and half hog options fill up quickly, so be sure to pay your deposit now!

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Whole Hog Example #3

This family with 2 young kiddos was happy to fill their freezer with delicious pork– so happy they placed an order for a half hog worth the brats and bacon the day after picking up this hog from the locker! 

Hanging Weight: 160 pounds
Price paid to Pleasant Grove Homestead: $320 ($2 per pound of hanging weight) 
Price paid to Wanders Farms for processing and seasoning: $276
Pounds of meat in freezer: 135 
Price paid per pound in freezer: $4.41

  • 12 #1 packages ground pork (no seasoning)
  • 12 #1 packages ground sausage 
  • 6 ham steaks
  • 11 small hams 
  • 17 packages Iowa Chops (2 chops per pack) 
  • 17 packages bacon
  • 1 package bacon ends
  • 7 shoulder roasts
  • 2 packs spare ribs
  • soup bones
  • 4 pounds leaf lard

For an incredible value, this family is well-stocked in pork for quite some time! Remember, if you see something you don’t like, tell the processor you’d like more ground for your favorite brats or breakfast sausage!  

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Buying Whole/Half Hogs Pork

Where to buy a Whole or Half Hog

Finding where to buy whole or half hog can seem overwhelming, but we are here to help you find the best pork in Iowa! In this post we cover who to pay and the cost involved with buying a whole or half hog!

Pleasant Grove Homestead (PGH) offers high quality whole and half hogs. Raised outdoors, PGH pork is a sure-fire way to fill your freezer with tender, tasty meat! We are proud to work with an amazing processor, Wanders Farms in Otley, Iowa to have your meat prepared how you want! Now let’s outline how this all works!

Custom Processed Pork

In Iowa, custom processing is the term used to describe a processing facility/locker that works with local producers to process meat for families. Custom processing means that the buyer purchases a live animal and the processor will cut and package it how the buyer wants. Custom processed meat involves two payments. One payment is made to the producer (in this case, Pleasant Grove Homestead), for raising and caring for your tasty tender pork. The second payment is made to the processor (Wanders Farms) for cutting a packaging the pork exactly how you’d like it! Where you buy your whole hog does not matter, typically it is still processed in this matter. Though, we have lots of reviews on our pork. 🙂

Meat from a custom processed animal is intended for home use, and not for resale or restaurant use.

See the bottom of this post for more definitions if you come across unfamiliar terms.

Buying a whole or half hog

We price our hogs based on what’s known as the hanging weight. This is the weight of the animal, minus the skin, head and innards (so, the stuff you don’t eat).

As of 9/12/2022, our price per pound of hanging weight is $2.25.

This price covers the cost of feeding, housing, caring and transporting for hogs.

We collect a deposit of $225 for a whole or $125 for a half hog in advance of the appointment, and then collect the remaining balance before you pick up your meat.

Order your pork how you want it!

PGH has dates scheduled with Wanders Farms to have whole and half hogs processed. When you place your order, the website will tell you when your hog is scheduled. Once the hog arrives at Wanders Farms, it is in your name and we provide them with your phone number. A staff from Wanders Farms will call you to ask how you would like your hog processed. If you are familiar with the process, you can fill out their cut card below– or they will help you!

You have probably already thought about getting bacon, maybe some pork chops, but you may also be feeling lost at this point. Don’t worry! They make the process really simple, and we are here to help!

You will pay Wanders Farms when you pick up your meat & cost is based on which cuts you selected.

Standard Cut Hog

Here’s what a “standard cut whole hog” looks like:

3-4 Shoulder Roasts
26-28 3/4″ Thick Pork Chops
Spare ribs
2 Cured and Smoked Hams (4-5 Ham Steaks and 2-3 Roasts)
16-20 Pounds of Cured and Smoked bacon
1/2 Fresh Ground Pork, 1/2 Breakfast Sausage

If you see something on this list that you don’t particularly like, you won’t order it! Below are some other options, or you can get more roasts or ground pork. (Sorry, bacon only comes from the belly area, you can’t get your whole hog as bacon!)

Other Pork Options
Pork Steaks
Iowa Chops
Hot Pepper Cheese Skinless Bratwurst
Cheddar Cheese Skinless Bratwurst
Plain Bratwurst

links

Keep in mind, the more “work” a custom processor does with meat, the more it will cost. Wanders Farms charges based on the hanging weight of the animal and there is a fee for any seasonings or smoking they do. For this reason, items like bratwursts add extra to your bill, but we personally still have about 10 pounds made because we value the quality! On a budget? We’d recommend splurging for cured and smoked bacon, but getting the rest of your meat fresh!

So, what’s the price?

If we add the payment to Pleasant Grove Homestead and Wanders Farms together, it’s typically a range between $550-$600 for a whole hog. It’s been easiest for our clients to fit this into their budgets by paying Pleasant Grove Homestead early for their hog, usually 4 months in advance. This splits up the two payments a bit to make it more manageable.

As mentioned above, the price can vary based on the animals size and the cuts of meat you decide to put in your freezer. We’ve got some sample orders here, including exactly how many pounds went into our customer’s freezers. On average, meat has came out to be about $4.21 per pound by the time the meat makes it to your freezer!

Additionally, if this applies to you, you can also pay for both processing and your hog with an Iowa EBT (Food Stamps) card! This is because both Pleasant Grove Homestead and Wanders Farms participate in the Iowa EBT program. Not every farm or processing facility participates– it’s just luck that we both do!

How much freezer space will I need for a whole hog?

The average rule is 1 cubic foot holds 35 pounds of meat. Therefore, a half hog will fit inside a standard freezer/fridge combination, if it’s mostly empty. A whole hog would fit into 4 cubic feet. We have a 7 cubic foot deep freeze that was less than halfway full after our pork came back. One of the things we love about Wanders Farms is that they use a vacuum seal for all of their meat. This makes it pack into a freezer seamlessly!

Definitions:

hanging weight: This is the weight of an animal after the skin and guts have been removed. This weight is what processors use to determine the cost to process meat. The hanging weight will not match the number of pounds in your freezer because bones and other matter still needs removed.

Fresh: Just plain ol’ pork with no seasoning or salting. It’s 100% pork.

Iowa Chops: Them delicious bone in chops.

Brats: The brats are skinless, and delicious!

Ham: A roast that’s been cured and smoked. Think of your Easter dinner!

Roast Size: You will choose the size of roasts you want. If you have a large family, this makes it a great option to use larger cuts of roasts for your crockpot! Small families, don’t worry about leftovers, choose small roasts!

H (Heart) L (Liver) T (Tongue).

FYI: Most of your store bought bacon is cured (salted) and smoked.

You can also request lard if you’d like it for cooking! Most of our clients have the lard ground by the locker and then they render it at home. Stay tuned on our YT channel for how to do this!

Curious how some people filled their freezers? See this post!

Learn more about where to buy a whole hog!