The basics are the same. All animals of four legs have he same cuts in the same location basically, but with a hog I wanted to be more careful. With a deer, if I mess up a cut…oh well, it goes into sausage grindings typically anyway. With my hogs, I wanted the hams cut a certain way, the chops cut a certain way, and, of course, you do not want to mess up any bacon! I was much more careful about where I put the knife, let’s say. The skinning (we didn’t mess with scalding) was slightly different. It took a lot more knife work to separate the skin from the fat, as I wanted all of the fat I could on the meat so that I could choose how much fat was left on the cuts and because I both rendered lard and used it for deer sausage. The easiest way I found was to cut around the feet and then use a gut hook to run slits down the legs and down the body. Once I had that done, I went back up to the top and held the knife as tight to the skin as I could and just let the knife ride down the skin as I pulled. With a razor-sharp knife, this is pretty simple.
Overall, I was pretty impressed with how easy it was. The biggest obstacle was the size. I had built a meat pole with two stations and a hand winch for each station. Hand winches were fine for a 150 lb deer…they were not enough for a 400 lb hog. I will be upgrading to electric winches for the next time, even though I don’t have plans to ever get to 400 lbs again. I have a sub-compact Kubota tractor that I had planned on using to move the carcass from the kill area to the meat pole and it was very nearly outclasses by the 400 lb hogs. The bucket could lift them but rolling 400 lbs of dead weight into a bucket is not easy. So, instead I ended up tying them by the rear legs to the bucket and lifting them like that, which resulted in the heads not clearing the ground. It wasn’t that big of a deal, just not how I had imagined it going. The first hog I gutted laying on the ground…this is NOT the way to do it. Gutting a deer, you have a pretty clear path inside the chest even when laying on its side. With a hog, there is a LOT of fat that covers your view while working in there. When you get them up and then gut, you still have the fat to contend with but most of the things you don’t want to cut into fall down into the chest cavity and give you a better view. If I had it to do over again (which I will next winter), I would take the head off before gutting and then the guts will simply fall out of the neck when you cut it loose.
Anyone that has processed a deer can do a hog as long as they take into account the scale difference.