A Half of a Pig – Jitrnice, liver sausages

portioning the meat

Our local supermarket had a special last week, promoting the sell of a half of pig. My husband and calculated how much room we had left in our freezer and decided to buy. When we arrived at the market, we saw that the pork meat was packed in a large box. It took two of us to load the box into our cart. We proceeded to the check-out counter. On arriving the cashier informed us that there was another box of the same dimension. The half of pig was cut into quarters. At this point I was beginning to think that we might have miscalculated the size of the pig and the space that we had in our freezer, but it was too late to change our mind. When we arrived at home we began cutting up the meat. My husband cut for a while and I bagged.

Cutting pork

Then I cut for a while and he bagged. The cat waited patiently for his share. The afternoon pasted into evening by the time we finally finished portioning the meat. I re-arranged the freezer, throwing out a few things that we had overlooked and re-packing the shelves with what remained. Carefully we packed the meat into the freezer with no room to spare. It was an exhausting day. I understand why a pig killing is a celebration in the Czech Republic. The gathering of family and friends make a difficult job a whole lot more pleasant.

Waiting Cat

 Many villagers still raise and slaughter pigs in the Czech Republic. Pig killings take place when the weather is cool. Preparations for the event extended over a number of days. Family and friends gather for the event. Each person is assigned a job. Duty and celebration are mixed into one event. The slaughter starts in the early morning and goes on till all is done. Men usually are in charge of the slaughter and cutting of the meat while the women wrap and pack the meat. Soup is made from the blood, sausages are prepared and kettles of water are put on an open fire to boil meat for dinner.

Happy Cat

As the work comes to an end the celebration begins. Soup and meat are taken to neighbors while others are invited to attend a feast. Beer and spirits flow, meat is consumed in large quantity. The celebration continues through the night until the guest are not able to eat or drink anymore.


Jitrnice –  liver sausages

Use the less valuable parts of the pig. Cook meat from head, skin, lungs, spleen, stomach and liver.


Add spices: salt, black pepper, ground allspice, marjoram, ground ginger, garlic and onions.

Jitrnice - liver sausages

Preparation: Cook head meat and skin in a large pot of boiling water until tender. Cut into cubes and pass through a meat grinder. Cook organs separately and grind. Mix together with meat. Grind raw liver and cooked liver. Pass garlic and onions through grinder as well. Squeeze excess broth from bread rolls and pass through grinder. Add spices and salt . Mix thoroughly in a large bowl or on a surface of a table. Add broth from meat as needed to get a thick mushy consistency. Slice casings to 8 to 10 inches (18 to 24 cm.) Immediately fill prepared casings. Stuff casings from both ends. Stretch ends of casing and tie in a knot. Traditionally, the casing ends are wrapped around a small wooden stick and tied.

The ratio of raw materials:

40% cooked meat (from the head, wattles and hips),

15% of the boiled lung, spleen, stomach

8% of raw liver,

10% cooked pork liver and broth,

27% White bread rolls, soaked in broth

Seasonings per 10 kg of sausage:

1 tablespoon (15 g ) ground black pepper ,

½ tablespoon (8 g) of ground allspice,

2 tablespoons (30 grams) , fresh garlic,

1 teaspoon (4 grams) of grated ginger,

1 teaspoon (3 g) marjoram,

½ cup (150 g) of salt.

According to the regional convention (somewhere adding ground cloves and occasionally raw onions.

To Cook: Place in simmering water or soup for 15 to 20 minutes.  Cook at low temperature or the casings will burst.