'A Hotop tradition'

For the Hotop family, hog butchering is a decades-old tradition passed down from generation to generation. Paul Hotop said his late father, Rueben Hotop, taught him how to butcher and his father taught him. “It’s something our dad did whenever he was young, he taught us to do it and now I’m teaching my boys to do it,” Paul said. “Not many people do it anymore. We like to know where our meat comes from.” Paul’s brother Allen Hotop of Apple Creek, Missouri, said the family always picks the same weekend, the one before the Super Bowl, each year to butcher. This year was no exception as numerous family members gathered Jan. 25 to butcher seven hogs on a farm in rural Perry County, Missouri. “Back when we was going up, we kind of had to do it cause mom and dad had 13 kids so it was, you know, anything we could do to keep us from going to the meat store is probably why dad did it,” Paul said. Allen said the hog butchering was done before he was born in 1960. “I would say everybody used to do it out of necessity and now it’s done as a novelty,” Allen said of the butchering. “This is a Hotop tradition.”