Immediately within a couple of minutes after he had stunned the hog, the farmer stuck and bled it. Many claimed that they could bleed out a hog better if they did not stun it first, but rather just stuck it. For this reason, and for the non-religious objections of the German-Russian Mennonites to guns, many bypassed the stunning process and instead killed the hog by sticking it. Roger Nelson said that they released their stabbed hog to run about the lot as long as possible so that it would bleed out better. The farmer stuck the animal for proper bleeding either after stunning or as a combination of killing and bleeding.
The adept farmer knew how to accomplish this part of the slaughtering operation. Using a special long, sharp stabbing knife, he carefully hit the jugular vein. He quickly and expertly thrust
7. Butchering knives of Adobe House Museum, Hillsboro
the knife into the hog about two inches ahead of its front legs along the throat line. If the hog was not bleeding out correctly, that is not having a large pulsating squirt, the farmer then used a twisting motion to stick the hog a second time. The knife was stuck deep enough and in the right place, if an abundance of blood could be seen immediately squirting out. The farmer carefully watched so that he did not stick the knife too far into the crest cavity and thereby ruining the heart, or worse yet prematurely stop the heart from pumping out the blood. He also avoided sticking too far to the sides, because the made the shoulder meat bloody and ususable. He stabbed on a slight angle to avoid hitting the esophagus. If he accidentally hit the esophagus fluids from the animal’s stomach ran out and tainted the meat. It took five to fifteen minutes for the animal to completely bleed out.
Though the animal usually drained adequately lying on its side, many thought that they aided the bleeding process if they hoisted up the hog with its head hanging down. Marie Klima remembered pumping the legs and shaking them to aid in the bleeding process. During this time the animal seemingly would come back to life and kick with all its might, but that was only its last big kick for life. The limp carcass usually gave this final shudder or quiver at the last moment before death. The animal was done bleeding when the blood flow was reduced to only a dribble.
So that the farmer could age the hog’s meat properly he took special precautions to correctly bleed out the hog. By incorrectly bleeding out the animal, the farmer allowed the blood to stay in the animal’s small veins and the meat then got a bad odor. Many called this souring. Sour meat or meat with blood in it was the first meat which spoiled. Bloody meat was spotted with dark color. The farmer wanted to avoid bloody meat because he did not want to throw any meat away, and he did not want his meat to spoil quickly. Tension also caused the not to bleed out properly and caused the meat to spoil.
Many farmers save the to use in the making of blood pudding, or blood sausage or even to drink as “warm milk.” The German-Russians, who were of the Mennonite faith considered the saving of blood to be against their religious belief. They cited the Bible in Genesis 9:4, “But flesh with life thereof, which is the blood thereof, shall ye not eat,” as their reason for not saving any of the blood. They just left the run out on the ground. Those that saved blood were usually able to save about a gallon of blood. They prevented the blood from immediate of irregular clotting and from getting lumpy by adding some salt, small amounts of water, and even some flour. They then vigorously whipped and stirred it. The blood resembled “very thick, firm gravy of soggy meatloaf.” The blood was placed in a cool place until it was need later for their cultural dishes. The Czechs made blood pudding be adding barley, milk, and breadcrumbs to the blood. George Stromberg said the blood pudding looked like dark bread. To eat it, they sliced it and fried it. The Czechs called their version of head cheese Jaternice. They added heavy garlic spices, cooked barley, or three to four loaves of water soaked homemade bread to the meat mixture. The Czechs had light Jaternice, and if they added blood to it they had dark Jaternice of Jelita. The wooden spoon the Czechs used to stir the blood pudding was called a vareka.
Once the farmer had completed the bleeding out of the animal, he next removed the unwanted hair, by either skinning of scalding the hog. There were numerous advantages and disadvantages to both methods and the farmer decided which method suited his needs at that time.