ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

A Pure Southern Tradition: Hog- Killing

Updated on January 24, 2020
kenneth avery profile image

Kenneth, born and raised in the South, resides in Hamilton, Alabama. He enjoys sharing his unique perspectives on life through his writing.

Bearded hogs.
Bearded hogs. | Source

When Did Hog Killing Start

well, the nearest I can tell is during the early days of the Plantations that reigned in the south, but hog-killing was not completely indigenous to the rich Plantation-owners. No. Not hardly. Most of the hog-killings were always located at the homes of neighborhood farmers and any friends who wanted to participate in this yearly-event.

If you have noticed this or not, I am doing my best to spare you the bloody, gory scene about killing a few hogs in order for the farmer, his family and friends to have a good supply of fresh meat that went great in the cold winter months. Note: at the age of seven, I had the scary moments of my very-first hog killing and to my knowledge, did not attend another one.

Hog-killing, honestly speaking, was bloody, scary, and a sense of sadness could be seen on the faces of the few sensitive faces that were in the crowd who showed-up to help kill and dress the hogs and then the farmer had the awesome task of sharing the bacon, pork chops, ribs, with those who helped with the annual happening. I can tell you from listening to my dad tell me about what it was like to help kill and dress hogs when he was a boy, that there was not one person who dared to complain about having to help kill hogs—due to the fact that the southern economy was not the best in the world, so there was no complaints about the work or being paid with fresh meat.

To Be Completely-Honest

with you, (no exaggeration), my dad as well as most farmers who threw hog-killings always “did the deed” in the coldest winter weather that God would send them. And when I say cold, let me tell you that the weather was so cold that “only the tough survived.” Not just the burly men and boys, but their wives and daughters. To make the cold weather even worse was the northern winds that blew against us and made us feel like freshly-sharpened butcher’s knives. I caught myself standing in awe of my dad and mom with their friends “dress” the hog, and yes, these people never complained whatsoever.

What do I mean by the term, “dressing the hog?” Okay. I will delicately-explain. After the hog(s) were killed, they were laid on the ground and an iron wash pot had already been filled to the brim with cold water, but the water was now hot enough for the hog-killers to do an operation called, “dip and scrape” the hogs before the sun, if any, would shine and the meat would be ruined.

To prove to you how our local economy was not the best, I have already told you about the people at hog-killing’s using sharply-honed butcher knives, well, my dad and mother, used not only butcher knives, but pieces of glass with sharp edges and I noticed how the people scraping the hair off of the hog were so dedicated that the sharp winter winds did not phase them whatsoever. Me? I wasn’t so brave. I spent a lot of time near the black, iron wash pot where the boiling water was held.

Now for the gory side of hog-killing. Note: if you have a weak stomach, you may turn away and read another hub about planting flowers. After the hog(s) are terminated, they are hung-up by their hind legs so their entrails are removed and the hog-killing pro’s do this to help cut the tasty cuts of meat that goes so well with people who love pork.

Then, in my dad’s case, he took his share of our two hogs and after he shared all of his hog meat with the rest of our neighbors (for helping) and he took the bacon and hung it up in our originally-built smoke house and he built these small fires and laid Oak chips on the fires to start that great-smelling smoke to fuse to the fresh meat.

In some cases, some of the meat was taken to my mother’s Salt Box where the extra meat that would not fit into the smoke house and sprinkled with pure brine or salt. Now do not faint. I can tell you that in my younger years of 1960 through 1963, where my dad made our living by share-cropping, salt was NOT the salt that hurt people (blood pressure) in the modern years.

My mom, always the caring homemaker, did take the hog’s inner parts and fried them into something called chitlins, or spelled correctly chitlings. People loved them. When family and neighbors would drop in to spend a cold winter evening by playing cards, chess, or just sit by the fireplace and eat parched peanuts and those delicious chitlins’.

Red pigs.
Red pigs. | Source

Hogs Did Hogs Secure a Notable Place in History

because I happen to find a short list of well-known hog-related phrases. You might remember these.

  • as fat as a pig. - very fat. ...

  • buy a pig in a poke. - to buy something without seeing it or knowing anything about it. ...

  • cast pearls before swine. - to waste something on someone who will not be thankful or care about it. ...

  • eat high on/off the hog. ...

  • go hog-wild. ...

  • go whole hog. ...

  • in a pig`s eye. ...

  • live high on/off the hog.

  • happy as a pig/hog in a new mud hole . . .

  • happy as a hog laying in the sunshine . . .

  • “pigging-out,”-- to overeat your favorite food and love it . . .

  • being pig-headed…

  • Ground Hog Day. . .

  • Hog-tied ...

  • bleeding like a stuck pig . .

  • cut like a hog . . .

  • eat like a pig . . .

  • even a blind hog finds an acorn once in a while . . .

Of course there are many, many more words and phrases about hogs and pigs. You see? I did show these fine animals my undying respect for just how much that they have given to us by way of our dining room table. Should I mention the tasty bacon, sausage, and ham? Naaaah. I think that this hub will suffice.

January 24, 2020_________________________________________________

Pigs bred to find truffles.
Pigs bred to find truffles. | Source

© 2020 Kenneth Avery


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • kenneth avery profile imageAUTHOR

      Kenneth Avery 

      18 months ago from Hamilton, Alabama

      @Bushra . . .you are right, sir. And the culture about eating pork may be (in some circles) be frowned-upon, but what do people do IF there is NO food whatsoever? I mean. This may be extreme, but altogether, a realistic scenario and what would we do if we had ONE choice and that a pig or two? Would be starve to death or eat one of the pigs? Then I think that Our Creator, has said in His laws that "life is more precious than man-made laws."

      I go by that and try not to worry about what mankind does.

    • Bushra Iqbal profile image

      Anya Ali 

      18 months ago from Rabwah, Pakistan

      @Kenneth: i understand: in any culture or society, any one thing is usually bound up with a lot of other things.

    • kenneth avery profile imageAUTHOR

      Kenneth Avery 

      18 months ago from Hamilton, Alabama


      Marie and Raymond:

      I was just answering a comment from Bushra, and got worried that I had not answered your comments, so if I overlooked you, if was not intentional.

      Love you all.

    • kenneth avery profile imageAUTHOR

      Kenneth Avery 

      18 months ago from Hamilton, Alabama

      Bushra . . .I agree with you about the intelligence of pigs. And while I agree that (we) abstain eating them, I also have to see the industrial side of this rather-painful event.

      Fact is: in our country, the USA, if the bacon and sausage corporations and all involved were to go out of business, the nation's economy and the unemployed rate would go through the roof to say nothing about the G&P percentage.

      But know that I am a sympathizer, I do not eat pig as much as you think.

      Thanks for coming by.

    • Bushra Iqbal profile image

      Anya Ali 

      18 months ago from Rabwah, Pakistan

      Pigs are as intelligent as dogs, so I wish people wouldn't eat either. Thank you for a well-written article - you certainly brought the whole scene to life.

    • Marie Flint profile image

      Marie Flint 

      18 months ago from Jacksonville, FL USA

      I'm not sure howl "purely" Southern this is, Ken. I watched my dad butcher more than one pig in my time and helped make sausage by washing out the pig's intestine.

      As the little neighbor boy observed with a pointing finger, "Piggy sweeping." My dad responded, "Piggy sleeping, all right."

    • raymondphilippe profile image

      Raymond Philippe 

      18 months ago from The Netherlands

      i enjoyed your recollection of this old southern transition. To be honest i never associated the south of the US with cold winters. I’m learning new stuff all the time!


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)