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Celebrating Our Pigs

April 21st, 2014

Yesterday we celebrated Easter with our neighbors and their family.  Both of our families are a long ways away in Ohio, so we are thankful to be included in their celebration.  This year, we provided the ham, which came from one of our pigs.
Since we slaughtered them ourselves here on the farm, I was in charge of curing the hams myself, which was a little scary to say the last. I used the Cider Cured Ham recipe from the The River Cottage Meat Book. Our hams all weighed in at 25lbs or higher (our scale only went to 25 lbs and some topped it off).
pig butchery 5
It’s been hanging on our back porch since I took it out of the brine back in January (one went into the freezer for later). We took it out and boiled it on Saturday night for a few hours to reduce the saltiness, then we coated it with brown sugar and cider reduction and hot smoked it for 4 hours with apple and cherry wood. Needless to say, it was AMAZING. If you’re lucky enough to raise and slaughter your own pigs, I highly recommend this recipe, it’s not cheap, but it’s FANTASTIC and so easy.
easter ham (1)
We were super nervous as we took the ham to it’s final destination. I had never cured a ham before, we had never smoked a ham before, we had no idea what it would taste like. The yearly Easter meal isn’t really one you want to mess up with a bad ham. We had faith in the recipe, but were still nervous. That was until Mr Chiots tried the first bite when they were carving it.  Needless to say, it was a hit and I’ll definitely be using this recipe for future hams.  We’re scheduled to pick up piglets in about a month.

Do you celebrate Easter? What foods do you use to celebrate?

9 Comments to “Celebrating Our Pigs”
  1. Adelina on April 21, 2014 at 7:23 am

    Kept it simple this year and roasted a chicken. After looking at your ham picture, I kind of wish we had a ham this year. It looks so good.

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  2. amy on April 21, 2014 at 7:37 am

    Congratulations….that ham is gorgeous! Usually we have ham….but this year I got all wild and crazy and went the burger, brat and met route;) Happy Easter by the way!

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  3. DebbieB on April 21, 2014 at 8:36 am

    Wow, it looks fantastic! Well done, you did great justice to your piggos. Hugh would be proud. :)

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  4. Sara on April 21, 2014 at 9:09 am

    That looks fantastic! I know that feeling, there are a lot of things I make that I haven’t tried (or sometimes even eaten) before and it’s always a leap of faith. But a 25 pound ham for guests, THAT’S a real triumph. Do you think the new piglets will feel different this time around? Last time you knew they were for eating, but this time you’ve experienced the entire process–I wonder if you will look at them a little more like future ham, now that you know how good it is? :)

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    • Susy on April 21, 2014 at 9:24 am

      It probably won’t be too different. We were always talking about the future bacon/ham/sausage when we had our previous pigs. I don’t think the slaughter will be any easier, but I will be able to eat pork much sooner than I was able after this past year. I’ve never been much of a pork eater b/c I’m allergic to the conventional stuff from the store. We’ve certainly enjoyed being able to eat sausage frequently.

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  5. Jill on April 21, 2014 at 10:29 am

    That ham looks wonderful! We had a roast chicken with Newfoundland dressing, salt beef and all the fixin’s. It’s called a jigs dinner. Scrumptious!

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  6. Joy on April 21, 2014 at 11:25 am

    So I have been raising pigs for the first time and our one little piggy has been giving us troubles. We got 2 to start with we named them pork chop and Bacon so the kiddos would know they are food and not pets. pork chop is our problem piggy. He has scabby looking skin and then yesterday we went out to feed him and noticed he has a prolapsed rectum. We are a little freaked out and not sure what to do. There are many posts on the internet about this issue. I was just wondering if you have read about this or have any sources to direct me into what to do? We have seperated him from the other pig so he will be safe. Washed him up and put iodine and gave him antibiotics thus far. I just started found your blog and really enjoyed listening to some of your podcasts.

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  7. BJ on April 21, 2014 at 11:18 pm

    The ham was AMAZING! You and Brian did a great job…what a team! O always look forward to the food that you prepare…I have yet to be disappointed. The leftovers are going to be AWESOME too, I can’t wait.

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  8. Nebraska Dave on April 22, 2014 at 9:30 am

    Susy, I’m glad your ham turned out to be delicious. I kind of knew that it would. Holidays are the best when celebrated with family or friends. Traditions were big when my wife was alive but not so much now. My daughter did not inherit the desire for family gatherings. We just go to the Easter buffet at the restaurant now with all the other hundreds of people. It’s not a bad thing but I kind of miss those family traditions. My mother in law can’t tolerate the crowds any more so I bring her a dinner from the buffet and play some cards with her. Other than dressing up more than usual, Easter has been reduced to just another Sunday for my family.

    Have a great Easter memory day.

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This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.

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