Iberianature Forum

La Matanza - home-based pig slaughter and processing

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Offline Ian

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« on: February 27, 2011, 14:16 PM »
My partner Luis and his family still carry on the age old tradition of the Matanza, every year in December and January. They slaughter 4 pigs in total and process the meat, offal and fat into many products. Luis has recently written about it on our personal blog if you are interested.

Note to mods: not sure if you would prefer the post to be copy and pasted here?

Anyhow, here it is - he is more than happy to answer questions, provide recipes and take general comments.



Offline lisa

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« Reply #1 on: February 27, 2011, 20:18 PM »
Very informative Ian, and welcome back! I like the sensible, down-to-earth approach  :)
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Offline Waste-Dweller

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« Reply #2 on: July 22, 2013, 09:14 AM »
Yes. I'm vegetarian and nearly-vegan, but if you do eat dead animals, it's much better, in every way, to kill and butcher it yourself, instead of being cowardly and squeamish and eating animals who have been raised in concentration camps, stuffed with GM soy and devil-knows-what, sent in tightly-packed lorries on hellish journeys of up to 36 hours, usually with no water and often desperately wounded or trampled by ypour friends, then queueing to be killed in ways which aren't at all humane (for "humane" read "hidden") and don't always work, so the poor animal may then be skinned or plucked alive.. ..then machine-butchering, "recovery" (see Pink Slime on Youtube) apcking in toxic plastic, more joruneys in refridgerated lorries, warehourse, supermarket.. It's revolting as well as cruel and ecologically destructive.
The other day I visited a house in a very steep village and across the alley, just below, was an empty house that had been the village butcher's. It had a room for slaughtering and anoither room that was the shop and it was right in the village, among other houses, so the pigs' shrieks weren't muffled and the village dogs must have loved it there. In the upstyairs room of the house I was in, there was a big, shallow, stone sink, with a spout, and that where the owner's parents used to put the dead pigs or parts of pigs and collect the blood from the spout for black pudding. In just one generation, from slaughtering in the village to statins, deodorants and shiny silver motor-cars!

Offline Technopat

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« Reply #3 on: July 22, 2013, 13:53 PM »
Here in Madrid, you still, very occasionally, come across sangre frito in bars that cater for the older generations. Although I could never bring myself to try it (the cubes always looked pretty stale, you know that curling-up-at-the-edges look tapas often/sometimes have...) I remember it was pretty common. Most casera recipes seem to include onion, which reminds me of me mum frying liver and always serving it with fried onion (sweetness of the onion to hide the metallic taste of liver/blood?).

Here's a recipe from Seville:
http://www.apoloybaco.com/tapeosevillanosevillarutassangre.htm – "El tapeo sevillano: Ruta gastronómica de la sangre encebollada" Asociación Apoloybaco

Cold- Hot-blooded-in-Madrid regs.,
Technopat's disclaimer: If this posting seems over the top and/or gets your goat (Sp. anyone?), please accept my apologies and don't take it personally - it's just my instinctive tendency to put my foot in it whenever/wherever possible. See also:

Offline quentin

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« Reply #4 on: July 23, 2013, 20:57 PM »

I'm not a vegetarian but I do not eat meat at home because my other half has been a vegetarian for over 20 years and does all the food preparation. Sometimes I will eat meat (usually chicken or fish) if, on the very rare (no pun intended) occasion that we go out to eat there is no decent veggie option. I agree whole heartedly with, er, Waste-Dweller. Conditions for most animals that are slaughtered for meat are far from ideal and the environmental and health implications for human consumers are equally poor. I'm sure the world would be a much better place if people ate a lot less meat.

However, (there is usually a however with me) I have attended one Matanza and found it remarkably acceptable. The pig was led into the village and within minutes it was dead and being prepared for butchering. There was no noise. No horrible, blood curdling squealing. Until then the pig had been living a pretty good life for a captive animal. Fed, watered and safe. OK I wouldn't want to swap my existence with it but there is no denying that animals do tend to eat other animals. Pigs included.

I've attached a link to a photo, one of a sequence taken as the pig was transformed from a pig to something to eat.



Offline Bob M

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« Reply #5 on: July 23, 2013, 22:18 PM »
The only one of these that I've ever attended was ghastly.

A pig was brought out all trusting and curious and then jumped on by five big blokes while another one slit its throat so that it bled to death.  It seemed to take about a quarter of an hour with the pig screaming at the top of its voice and struggling all the time while buckets of blood were drained from it. (Quite possibly it was less time than that but it felt like forever.)

Then they brought out the second pig. While the first pig had acted like an interested observer before the knife came out, the second one had heard the screaming and could smell the blond and was terrified from the beginning.  It really knew bad things were happening. At this point I'd had more than enough and tried to find a place where the screaming wasn't so loud.

Offline quentin

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« Reply #6 on: July 24, 2013, 00:22 AM »
That's exactly how I thought it was going to be. I was very nervous and didn't think I'd be able to stay long. I must have been lucky. There was no squealing. Either from me or from the pig.

Watching anything die isn't something that I enjoy but what I witnessed is a part of local life and added "flavour" to my time here. Enjoyment of flavour is subjective and, dare I say it, something that can "grow on you". The event that I witnessed happened regardless of my presence. If the final five minutes of an otherwise presumably "reasonably" good life ends in blind terror then that is surely better than living your life in a confined, overcrowded, filthy environment only to die in blind terror after being transported many miles .

A pig is killed. Maybe more than one. But at least the people who kill and butcher the animal before eating the meat (as well as seemingly ever other part of the animal) get together on the day and enjoy themselves. If something has to die to satisfy man's desire to eat meat then this is surely a better way than selecting pre-packed, cellophane-wrapped, anonymous, plastic-trayed, homogenised giblets from a supermarket shelf while avoiding eye contact with everyone around you before going home and cooking up the said giblets and serving them to innocent and ignorant children. Innocent and ignorant of what the significance of eating meat really entails*, that is.

You could also be pretty sure that you were eating pig and not horse (what's the difference if you eat meat?) if you saw the pig killed and prepared in front of you.

For me I think the answer to the unasked question revolves around sustainability and quality of life. Traditional Alpujarran village life versus Tesco supermarket. Mistreatment and cruelty are always wrong and it's going to take a few generations for us as a race, to reduce our habit of consuming too much meat.

As much as I would love to live for today the future is where you and I are going to be.


* I resisted writing "entrails" here.