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Here in Stump County we are still planning our annual Chitlin’ and Possum Strut (CAPS) in January. After I mentioned it a few weeks ago I got a bucketful of questions from city folks. It seems like the folks who like to laugh at us ig’nant hicks can be pretty ignorant their own selves.
Chitlins, according to the books, are really called chitterlings and are the large intestines of a pig. You’ll have to look up what they are filled with and what they do for yourself. We already know and wish we didn’t. Still, working folks have to eat whatever they have and once chitlins are cleaned and fried they are right darn tasty. Stump whipped, creek washed, fried chittlin’s are just bodacious.
First thing you do is kill the hog. I won’t go into details for the city folks ‘cause some of them still think meat comes from a store all wrapped up in plastic. Then you open him up and take the insides out. Right there is some mighty fine eatin’. You got all sorts of tasty bits other than the chitlin’s.
If this article was about cookin’ I’d tell you about souse and scrapple and brains and hog jowls and trotters and so on but all we’re talkin’ about is chitlin’s.
Well, I went down a rabbit hole on that- so back to hog killin’. Now that the hog is dead and bled and the insides are out, he has to be scalded. Now iffen you have never seen a hog face to face they have right much hair on them. Piglets are all pink and cute but a grown hog is as hairy as Cletus’ uh,uh, back.
So, while some folks are killin’ and gutting there is a big flat tank filled with steaming water. Now that water has to be a certain temperature and there are always some arguments on if it is hot enough or not.
The hog is put in the water for a while until the hair loosens and then it is scraped off. Here again there is always one old guy yellin’ that the hog is being left in the water to long and it is going to “set the hair” and then it won’t come off. Now in the history of Stump County nobody has ever “set the hair” on a hog but everyone has heard of it and doesn’t want it to happen to them. It may just be one of those old stories like hoop snakes and so forth but nobody is willin’ to find out.
While the adults are working on the meat the youngin’s are cleaning out the chitlin’s. They squeeze out the mess, wash ‘em in the creek, whip ‘em against a stump, wash ‘em some more, turn ‘em inside out and outside in, wash ‘em some more, whip ‘em some more, wash ‘em again and give ‘em to Granny to boil and then fry.
If you are anywhere near Stump County during CAPS come on down and join in the celebration.