HOG KILLING TIME IN EAST TEXAS

By Dovie A. Satterwhite Kaupke



Mother and Daddy lived at Pleasant Grove, Wood County, Texas in 1940 when these memories were made in East Texas. The people mentioned were close neighbors that lived in the community.

When did you kill hogs?  After frost and when it had turned cold enough that it would not warm up again.

How?  Daddy always shot them and cut their throat to let them bleed good.

How many?  We killed 1 or 2. Sometimes in January we would kill again.

The neighbors gathered in the early morning (about 7:00am) after milking and other morning chores were done. Mother and Daddy always got up about 4:30am to milk the cows.

Several hogs were killed. The neighbors brought hogs to kill too. The fatter the better. Since we rendered our own lard we needed plenty to see us through the winter.

Huge drums had to be put in the ground at an angle so when the hogs were killed, they could be strung up with block and tackle and maneuvered into the drums where a fire had been built to get the water scalding hot. The hogs were then dipped in the water , worked up and down to soften the hair on the hide so the hogs could be scraped. Our barn had a large shed on the side where you could be in out of the weather for this activity.

The hogs were gutted, scalded and scraped. The entrails were all saved. The small intestines were used to stuff sausages. All scraps from the hog were used in the sausage. What proportions did you use in the sausage: Whatever we had. Mother said she made bags out of muslin to stuff the sausage in before she learned how to scrape and stuff the small intestines. At first we used salt, red and black pepper to season the sausage. Later on we bought our sausage seasoning.

The hide was trimmed with 1" fat to render. After it was rendered the remains were called cracklings. Sometimes these were used in making cornbread. We would try to find crunchy ones to eat.

The head was split open with an ax and the brains were retrieved to be scrambled with eggs for breakfast the following morning.

The women cooked lunch. Most of the time the liver was eaten for lunch the day of the killing.

The large intestines (chitterlings) were cleaned, soaked in salt water for several days, boiled until tender, rolled in corn meal and then fried. In the south this was considered a great delicacy.

The head was cleaned, eyes taken out and it was boiled for mincemeat and head cheese. Mother said the head makes the best mincemeat. We would play with the eyes and stomach. The ears were cleaned and the snout cut off. We used one head for mincemeat and the other one for souse meat (head cheese).

When did you render the lard?  As soon as possible. Usually the first or second day.

How long did you feed him out?  Daddy had a floored pen. They were fed corn and water for 1 month.

Did you skin the head? No.

Did you use kidneys and heart?  No, Why not: Grandma & Grandpa Whinery said those were life giving and you were not suppose to eat them.

The tongue was cooked, peeled and eaten. We did not use the stomach. Sometimes the feet were cleaned and pickled. We burned the toes off in the fire, scraped , cooked and then pickled them in vinegar. The hams were cured and smoked along with the bacon. The sausage was also smoked.

The ribs were cooked by frying pretty quick, usually the first night.

Big black wash pots were used to render the lard. We also use to send ribs and backbone home with the people that helped.

Who were the neighbors that usually helped?  Alphus and Net (Alphus and Nettie Collins King), Mr. and Mrs. Julian, Mr. and Mrs. Jude Wilson. Sometimes Dewey and Opal Garrett. Opal would come to our house to get milk. One time when Brother, John Hulet Satterwhite, was very small, Opal came to the house to get milk and Brother said to Opal: " We are not giving you any more milk because you won't give us any meat." Daddy had helped them kill hogs, and they had not done the customary thing of giving some meat to take home. Of course, there was conversation to that effect and Brother set the record straight. I asked Mother if Opal ever came back to get milk and she said "No."

Mother and Daddy also helped Aunt Maybelle and Uncle John kill hogs.

Mother made lye soap after we killed hogs. I thought that stuff was awful. We, Patsy, Brother and I always thought it was great fun when hog killing time came around. For the adults, it was a very hard day.


Barn at Pleasant Grove, Wood Co., TX


H. C. Satterwhite tore down two houses in Harrison Co. to build the barn about 1940.


This story is based on conversations with Alta Marie Whinery and Hulet Clifton Satterwhite September, 1995.



Comments, suggestions or corrections should be directed to Betty Teal Miller and/or Betty Pickens Phillips


Last updated 20 March 2008.