Read on if you’ve ever wanted to know:
- What choices do I get with a 1/2 or whole hog?
- How much meat will I get?
- How does the process work?
- How much freezer space do I need?
- How much does it cost?
- How how long will my meat last?
- Why would I do this instead of just buying pork when I need it?
What choices do I get with a 1/2 or whole hog?
When you buy a 1/2 or whole hog, you get to choose exactly what you want and customize your order so it’s perfect for you. You can choose:
- Bacon and spare ribs. Or, you can choose fresh belly slabs or side pork if you don’t want smoked and cured bacon.
- Pork loin and pork chops. Loin and chops come from the same section, so you can choose to get some of each or get more of the one you like best. If you get boneless loin or chops, you may also get baby back ribs and the tenderloin cut.
- Pork roasts. You can choose the size of your pork shoulder and butt roasts and ask for bone-in or boneless. You can also get pork steaks from this section.
- Ham. Choices include large or small cured hams; fresh ham roasts; cured ham steaks for the grill; or ground ham. Some lockers also offer deli ham.
- Ground meat. You have tons of options with your ground meat, including ground pork, sausage, Italian sausage, bratwurst, and burgers.
- Hocks and lard. Hocks can be left fresh or smoked and cured. Lard is fantastic for baking, frying, and pie crusts.
- And more! Lockers offer other options, like country-style ribs, smoked chops, tenderized loin, different flavors of sausage and bratwurst, and more. And, if you don’t want some of the cuts listed above, you can opt to have them ground so you can get more ground pork, burgers, etc.
How much meat do I get?
It varies! We raise small batches of heritage hogs outdoors, and they naturally grow at different paces and vary in size. It also depends on your choices; for example, if you get bone-in cuts, you will take home more total pounds than someone who chooses mostly boneless.
- A rough estimate for a smaller hog (250 lbs.):
- ½ hog: 50-60 lbs. of meat for $375-$425 total
- Whole hog: 100-120 lbs. of meat for $750-$850 total
- A rough estimate for a larger hog (350 lbs.):
- ½ hog: 75-90 lbs. of meat for $550-$600 total
- Whole hog: 150-180 lbs. of meat for $1,100-$1,200 total
To give you an idea of what this could look like (though there are endless variations!), here are two examples of ½ hogs customers recently took home from larger hogs:
Example 1/2 hog #1
Bone-in cuts; no curing, smoking, or extra ingredients. 84 pounds of meat, total cost: $510.
- 13 packages of side pork (13.5 lbs.)
- 3 pork roasts (12 lbs.)
- 7 packages of 3/4” pork chops (16 lbs., 4 chops per package)
- 5 fresh ham roasts (16 lbs.)
- 19 packages of ground pork (19 lbs.)
- 2 packages of fresh pork hocks (7.5 lbs.)
Example 1/2 hog #2
Cured bacon and deli ham, mix of boneless and bone-in cuts, seasoned sausage & links. 77 pounds of meat, total cost: $560.
- 14 lbs. bacon
- 3 pork roasts (~9 lbs.)
- 9.5 pkgs. boneless chops (~7.5 lbs.)
- 5 pkgs. deli ham
- 18 lbs. ground pork
- 9 lbs. Italian sausage
- 5 lbs. sausage links
- 2 pkgs. spare ribs (~8.5 lbs.)
- 1 pork tenderloin
- 1 container lard
These examples both came from larger hogs, so this is on the high end of what to expect for cost and yield. If you have a preference for a larger or smaller hog, please just let us know and we will do our best to accommodate! Remember these are just examples; actual costs and yields vary.
How does the process work?
It’s easy! Here’s what you do:
- Order your 1/2 or whole hog from us. You can message Natasha at 319.325.5097 or firstname.lastname@example.org or you can order online.
- We will deliver your pig to the locker and send you instructions on how to place your processing order. You call the locker and walk through your choices. They will ask you questions to guide you, so you don’t need to know what you’re doing or exactly what you want. Ask them (or me) any questions you have!
- When we know the hanging weight of your hog, we will send you a bill for the total due to us.
- The locker will call you when your meat is ready. You pick it up from the locker and pay the locker directly for processing. And that’s it! You take your meat home and have exactly what you need, ready when you need it!
How much freezer space do i need?
Here’s an example of a 1/2 hog in a small 7.5 cubic foot chest freezer. The meat would take up less space if unpacked all the way (i.e., if some was not still in a box).
A 1/2 hog would likely fit in a regular refrigerator freezer if needed, but we recommend storing your meat in a deep freezer/chest freezer if possible for the best long-term storage. Frozen meat retains its quality longer in a deep freezer because they run so cold and your meat won’t partially thaw and refreeze over and over.
How much does it cost?
There are two costs involved in buying a 1/2 or whole hog:
- Buying the hog from us. You pay the farm a per pound price based for the hog based on its hanging weight. Hanging weight is the weight after many of the non-edible parts have been removed but before your meat has been processed into final cuts. Check out our ordering page for current pricing information.
- Paying the locker for processing. The locker has some set costs that apply to every hog, but the costs will also vary depending on your choices. For example, curing, tenderizing, seasoning, and things like making patties or bratwurst incur an additional charge.
Your total costs and take home meat will vary depending on the processing choices you make and the size of your hog. Check out our ordering page for details on current average total prices.
How long does it last?
Frozen meat should stay safe to eat as long as it stays properly frozen, so what you’re really thinking about is quality. Typical guidance says frozen pork stays at optimal freshness for 6-9 months in the freezer, with longer cuts maintaining peak quality even longer than cured items or ground meat products. When we keep meat for our own use and keep it in the packaging from the locker until we are ready to use it, we have found it retains excellent quality for over a year in a chest or upright freezer.
Why would i do this instead of just buying pork when i need it?
There are lots of reasons this is a great option if you have some freezer space, including:
- All of the costs are less, so it’s significantly cheaper than buying individual cuts—usually 15-20% savings or more over individual cuts (PLUS you lock in your price!).
- You will have the meat you want on hand, which makes meal planning easier and cuts down on needing to remember to order in advance or running to the grocery store at the last minute because you forgot something.
- You can customize your cuts to be perfect for your household, making it easy to pull just what you need out of the freezer. Whether you only like to fire up the oven for a big roast or only need two bratwurst for a meal, you can have everything cut and packaged so it’s right for you.
- You get a great variety of cuts and options, which makes for fun cooking and grilling!
Originally published April 3, 2021. Updated March 9, 2023.