Curiosities about the pig slaughter in Spain

 
 

The slaughter of the pig.

 
 

La dehesa

La dehesa

The Spanish food and dishes are one of the aspects that make it popular throughout the world. Lots of their traditional dishes and products have a lot of history, conserve the same ingredients and are cooked as they were many years ago. These traditions and the huge variety of products that grown in Spain and are obtained there, make the Mediterranean diet, and more specifically, the Spanish dishes, one of the most prestigious food in the world.
 
One of the more popular products in Spain is the meat, and probably the meat that is more used and more traditional is the one of the pig.
 
Pigs are in the basis of the feed culture in Spain and there are a lot of products that stems from it. Besides, there is a saying in Spain, “we can make the most of the pig, even of its walks” (“del cerdo se aprovecha todo, hasta los andares”). That means that we can use it all, also his blood and skin.
 
 

Chorizo

Chorizo

The slaughter of the pig is a tradition in the country of Spain, and nowadays a lot of families do it with the old-fashioned way. In Spain the ancient families bought their pigs on February or march and feed them for about 10 months in order to do the traditional slaughter in winter and to obtain the products of the pig so they can eat it throughout the year.
 
Traditionally, during the 10 months of feeding, the farmers used to prepare cereals, vegetables and grass to feed the pigs until autumn. When September arrived they served remains of the harvest of fruits to the pigs. Country people had to calculate the number of pigs they would need to feed their families during the periods of harvest, if they did not do so they would not have anything to eat during that time.

A few days before the slaughter families used to get reunited and they invited a professional slaughterer to be with them during those days. They prepared the tools to kill the pigs and also they chose the perfect day to do it and it was always preferred a sunny day.
 
 
 

Making chorizo

Making chorizo

When the day arrived the families had breakfast early in the morning, and after the dawn, the slaughter began with putting the pig on a wood bench. The slaughterer caught the pig by his mouth with a hook and other men of the family held it with ropes from its legs. Women and children used to be the ones who collect the blood of the pig. When all the blood was collected they burned the body of the pig and when it was burned they removed the hair and skin and the burned meat. The next step was to open the body and remove the guts and they saved and washed part of these guts. Finally, they left the meat to dry.
 
 
 
 
 
 

The slaughter of the pig

The slaughter of the pig

That is the traditional process that nowadays is still practised by lots of families of the Spanish countryside, so if you want to taste these traditional favours there are many places in Spain where you can still do it many little villages.

Depending on the breed of the pigs, their feeding, and the conditions the farmers have the pig, we can find different flavours and qualities of meat. A pig that lives on a pastureland will be more valuable than a pig that grows in a farm; and the one fed with acorn will be more expensive and tasty than the one fed with commercial food or grain.
 
As we said, in Spain people use all the parts of the pork to cook, the face, skin, blood (to make blood sausage), meat, ham and also the fat; everything has its role in the Spanish cuisine.
 
 
 
 

What kind of popular dishes are made with pork?

 
 
 

Sobrasada

Sobrasada

Starting from the top, the oily meat of the face of the pork is used to prepare a delicious dish called carrillera, served with Spanish sauce made with wine and vegetables. This dish is easy to chew because the meat is really juicy.
 
Another curious and popular dish in Spain is the one made with the pig’s trotters. The trotters are boiled slowly and you can commonly find it stewed or in a soup. The meat is also very juicy and it favour will surprise you. This dish is very popular in Andalusia so you can taste it in almost every Spanish restaurant there.
 
 
 
 
 

The roast suckling pig

The roast suckling pig

There is another popular dish that is made especially in Segovia: the roast suckling pig (cochinillo asado). It is cooked in a special oven and only with little pigs (4 or 5 kilograms as maximum and not older than 3 weeks).
 
And of course you cannot leave Spain without tasting the delicious Spanish Iberian ham, pork chops, blood sausages, chorizo and sobrasada.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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