There’s an old saying that some things, like sausage, are best appreciated when you don’t know how they’re made.

But on the Berea College Farm transparency is one of our goals.

Our pastured hogs are processed nearby at Marksbury Farm Market – a USDA-inspected facility.

Some of the cuts are packaged for retail sale, while other parts are returned to the Farm Store where they are turned into a wide range of products, including house-made sausages, like hot dogs.

While it might appear to be a messy process there is certainly growing interest in butchery and charcuterie.

For hot dogs we start by cutting the pork trimmings to size and mix in the spices and curing ingredients by hand.

Next, the mixture is processed through an electric meat grinder.
And then it is emulsified with a buffalo chopper, giving it the consistency of a batter.

A stuffer is then used to fill the natural casings, which are linked by hand, and hung on a rack. This is all done in the farm store’s meat processing room, which is visible to the visiting public.
The loaded rack is rolled into the smoker for cooking under precisely controlled temperature and humidity.

The cooked hot dogs are then bagged and vacuum-packed for retail sale in the College Farm Store.

And at the Saturday farmers market you can usually find them grilled out front and ready to eat.

A truly local hot dog.