Hitting the road early to beat a bit of the heat had us in San Antonio, a tiny town just outside of Yuty, early. We biked there to spend time with our friend Elva, her beautiful baby Nicolas, and her friendly family.
We lucked out that a relative was butchering a hog that day. I was secretly glad we arrived after it was already killed, skinned, and hanging in a tree. It was huge!
We still got to see a lot of the action, like the removal of the head. You can imagine that some pretty awesome photos soon followed. Wait, I’ll show you so you can do more than imagine.
Next we saw the hog get opened, drained, cut apart, and weighed. During all of this we sat back and shared ice-cold tereré with family members.
Eventually, though, we jumped in to help. We took turns cutting the layer of fat that was removed from just under the pig’s skin into little squares to make chicharón.
To make it, the fat gets cooked through and then tossed in toasted corn flour. Though one could argue it’s not the healthiest choice, a few pieces are quite tasty.
We also dug in, literally, to help make the blood sausage. I’ve eaten it before and it just takes like a super tender sausage, but I didn’t know (nor want to think about) how it was made. Well, now I know. You boil the pig’s skin until tender, chop it finely, and mix it with spices (salt, pepper, and cumin) and the blood that you drained out of the pig.
Then you take the intestines from a cow (or hog) that were cleaned and dried in the sun to use as casing for the sausage. Dip the casing in water so it’s flexible for filling.
Using the top half of a plastic bottle as a funnel, you scoop the bloody filling into the casing until full and tie it shut with a string. Now it’s ready to be cooked.
It was fun to be a part of the pig processing and see how they use or sell nearly every part of the animal.
The pretty pig head even got a clean shave in preparation for it to be boiled and the meat to be eaten out of it.
In the afternoon when we said it was time for us to head home, we were sent on our way with a bag full of food that we had a small hand in preparing and many requests for us to visit again soon.
It seems we’re always learning new things. It’s great to have connections to families who are so welcoming in letting us outsiders take part (and photos!) of experiences that are exciting and new to us while they are simple routines for them. I like to think that in fielding all our questions or seeing our faces light up with new knowledge, they look at their typical task with a fresh eyes, even if just for that day.