|Weight about||Price||per lb.|
|Cut through side nearest the shoulder||12||1||0½|
|Corner of gammon||4||1||0½|
|Back and ribs||9||1||0½|
The best and most humane way of killing pigs is to strike them with a heavy hammer between or just above the eyes; the pigs drop down senseless, then the butcher inserts his knife into the chest, piercing the heart of the pig, which very quickly bleeds to death. The hair is removed in two ways, either by so-called scalding, i.e. immersing the body of the pig into water of a certain temperature, or by placing a bundle of straw round the carcass, setting fire to the fuel and burning off the hair; this last plan is not much followed, save in Somersetshire and two or three adjacent counties. The followers of this practice assert that the flavour of the meat is improved. The scalding is certainly far the cleaner plan, and is in more general use. The best weight for a bacon curer's pig is about 220 lb. alive. The loss in dressing a fat pig varies with the age, size and degree of fatness of the pig; small porket pigs will dress from 70 to 75 per cent.; fat pigs weighing above some 220 lb. will lose about 23 to 25 per cent. of their weight in dressing, whilst very fat and old pigs will sometimes dress as much as 85 per cent. of their gross weight.
The system of bacon curing has completely changed of late, as has the cutting up of the pig for curing; now the pig is merely divided down the back, the head is cut off, the shoulder bone taken out, and the backbone and the major part of the lean meat is taken off. When the side of pork has brine or pickle forced into it by means of what are termed force pumps, the sides are then packed on each other, a layer of salt, etc. being used between each side. The sides are thus left for about a fortnight when the curing is finished, and are baled and sold on the large markets, whence country bacon merchants purchase, smoke and retail them to the provisioner. At most of the bacon