Sturkie Family History

Hog Killin' Time
By Kathleen E. Sturkie Powell

When I was a girl around 12 or 13 we lived on a farm down from Proctor, Texas. My dad was a farmer who raised chickens, hogs and milked 3 or 4 cows.On the first cold spell of the winter, usually in November, it was hog killin day.The temperature for killing hogs should be 32 degrees, or else the meat would spoil. Some farmers paid attention to the signs of the moon before killing hogs but Dad did not believe in the moon signs. My dad would call in some of my uncles and they would pick the fattest shoute, which was a young hog. They would shoot it with a rifle and hang it up from a tree to let the blood drain. This part I never did like to see. Next they would dip the hog in a tub of hot water to loosen its hair.Then they would scrape the hair off. After the hog was fairly clean, they would slit it down the belly and all the guts would fall out. After which they would section it off by cutting the legs and upper thighs.The head was removed and set aside.Fat cut away from the intestines was later made into lard. From the legs, were cut hams and shoulders. Tenderloins were then cut and often cooked for breakfast right away as we had no refrigerator to keep them. (Nothing better than hot biscuits, pap gravy and fried tenderloin.).

The scraps were separated for sausage. Sausage was ground and Mama would makes sacks out of flour sacks and stuff the sausage in. They would then be hung in the smoke house to keep cool. Dad would cure the hams in his special sugar cure. I don't know what it was, but it wasn't real salty like some home cured hams.

W. D. Sturkie's Sausage Recipe:

1 tsp salt to 1 lb of sausage meat
1/3 tsp sage to 1 lb of sausage meat
1/4 tsp pepper to 1 lb sausage meat

The fat was trimmed from the meat and cooked very slow in an iron kettle. It was my job to stir the fat and not let it burn. Cracklins formed and the lard was put in cans.The head was used to boil and make souse. Some used the brains, tongue and jowls.These parts were soaked overnight and then cooked until tender. Dad hardly ever bothered with the head and souse as he did not like it.