Agrarian group

Meat Terms

Hanging Weight

The weight of the meat after harvest and initial processing. Initial processing can mean different things - for instance some farms keep the skin on for hanging weight and some don't. Here at WDR our hanging weight is calculated after gutting, skinning, and removing the head, feet, and tail.

Custom Exempt

This is a designation that the butcher shop meets the State of California and their county's cleanliness and health standards and is allowed to process meat. Custom Exempt meat will be marked "Not for Sale" as it cannot be sold as individual cuts. By contrast USDA Inspected is the designation required to sell individual cuts of meat from an animal. Many shops actually can process both custom exempt and Inspected meat - the difference is in how the whole animal comes to them. It must come from a USDA Inspected slaughter facility to be processed as USDA Inspected and the cut and wrap must occur under the supervision of a USDA inspector.

Curing and Smoking

Curing is the process of preserving meat and transforming it into things like bacon or ham. Using salt (nitrates) is one of the most common ways to cure meat. Meridian and Country Butcher do use nitrates in their curing process.

Smoking adds flavor to the meat. Both fresh and cured meat can be smoked.

If you use your own cut and wrap facility and want bacon and ham be sure to ask them if they offer curing and smoking. Some don't and thus cannot make bacon...and what is the point of eating pork if you cannot get bacon?

Hog Cut and Wrap

When you get a whole or half hog from us you get to choose how the meat is cut and wrapped. For each section of the hog you get to choose the type of cut it is turned into like a roast, chops, or ground. You also get to choose whether some sections are smoked and cured. There are a couple options available for the cut and wrap.

Taking the Meat Uncut
You could get your meat uncut - meaning the whole or half animal at hanging weight - to take to your own butcher or roast whole in a deep pit or to do the cut and wrap yourself. Many of our customers have learned to do the cut and wrap themselves as it saves a little money and they enjoy smoking the bacon themselves.
Sending the Meat to Meridian Meats or Country Butcher
Most people want the meat cut and wrapped for them and for this service we introduce you to Meridian Meat Market in Meridian, California and Country Butcher in Marysville, Ca. If you want a shop to cut and wrap your hog we will haul the meat to and from the shop we are using at that time at no charge as part of our service. You will be responsible for the cut and wrap shop's charges which we will collect when you pay for your meat - so you only have to write one check. These shops charge by hanging weight with an extra weight based charge for those portions you want smoked (see their form for exact prices). Please be aware that if the shop has slight price fluctuations you will be responsible for the exact amount they charge.
How much meat is half a hog?
The final packaged weight of meat is dependent on the hanging weight of the hog, the amount of waste meat and bones, and the cut options you choose.

The decisions you make such as whether to remove the bones from certain cuts determine the final packaged weight of your meat. If you choose cuts that are all "bone-in" then you will have the least amount of weight loss from hanging to packaged weight. With all "bone-in" options the waste is a small amount of trimmings that were not suitable for ground meat and the front shoulder and leg bone. We encourage you to have the bones packaged as they make great soup and broth.

The cut and wrap form we have developed in collaboration with these shops gives you an overview of the sections of the hog and the most commonly requested cuts for those sections. When you want to utilize the cut and wrap shop we have you fill out this form with your order. Currently we are using Country Butcher for hog cut and wrap.

If you have a special request or don't see an option on the form that you want please feel free to give us a call - or just write it on the form that you turn in and we will email you if we don't understand what you want.
Can I get the organs and other offal?
Organs can be saved for whole pig orders and most half pig orders by request. If both parties splitting a pig want the same organs will will allocate them as evenly as possible. However, we will not cut an organ in half. We will save liver, heart, kidney, and tongue at the ranch and freeze them until your meat is ready at Meridian.

We will also save feet and ears upon request. Please note they will have the skin and hair on them since we skin our pigs instead of sending them through a scalder. That hair is not easy to remove.

If you don't want the organs or other offal rest assured that they are not wasted. Linga (tongue) tacos are great and I am learning to make a pretty decent pate out of liver. And our dogs love frozen pig ears and feet!
Can I get the leaf fat (body cavity fat) or back fat?
The leaf fat can also be saved upon request and will be frozen at the ranch until your meat is ready from Meridian. The abdominal membrane will still be attached but is very easy to remove with a filet knife.

Our hogs usually don't have enough back fat to package separately. Any back fat trim is usually put into the sausage. This is due mostly to our Heritage breeds of hogs as they accumulate most of their fat intermuscularly. By contrast, commercial breeds of hogs were developed to accumulate their fat under their skin and not in their meat. Originally this was to make it easy to separate the fat from the meat to collect their main product - lard. Their meat was a by-product and is marketed as "lean". In our opinion that loss of intermuscular fat also means commercial pork is pretty tasteless.
How long does it take before I get my meat?
We butcher hogs every four to eight weeks depending on when they are ready. When you reserve a hog we will let you know approximately when the butcher date for your hog will be.

If your meat is being taken to cut and wrap their processing time is between 3 to 6 weeks to complete the cutting, smoking, and wrapping.

Sometimes ordering meat this way can be a little frustrating due to the uncertainty of when you will get it. We might have a butcher day postponed due to rain or due to the cut and wrap shops being booked. Or at other times the processing time is on the long end of the range because they don't have enough meat to put into their smoker. A lot of moving parts have to come together to provide this custom service - so please allow enough time.
What is the final cost?
The final cost is based on the hanging weight of your hog plus the cut and wrap's charge (if utilized) plus delivery fee (if any).

Final Cost = (Hanging weight * per lb charge) + Cut and Wrap fee + delivery fee

A common hanging weight for half a Berkshire hog is 80 lbs. With that size hog the cut and wrap fee with typically smoked portions is somewhere in the $85 - $95 range. Using that as an example you can expect the price (excluding any delivery fees) to be somewhere in the neighborhood of:

$570 = (80lbs * $6/lb) + $90 for cut and wrap
How do I get my meat?
When your meat is ready you can pick it up at the farm or have it delivered on one of our delivery days. For delivery options and fees see the delivery page.
How do I get started?
Contact us via phone or email about availability and then fill out the cut and wrap form: cut and wrap form.

We do not require a deposit. You pay when you receive your meat.