(Using it!) What size freezer do I need for half a pig, whole or just a few cuts

pork chops for freezing
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Pig is probably the second most popular meat in the world. And because a pig is much smaller in size than a cow, it’s pretty convenient to buy it in bulk. Half a pig or even a whole pig isn’t as much meat as you’d think.

When considering freezer space, there’s a lot of variables, like what kind of pig. There are about five to ten different breeds of pigs, each of them weighing a different commercial weight. So some of them are bigger, some are smaller.

On average, however, a whole pig should weigh around 250 lb (113 kg).  So, how much space do we need in a freezer for it to fit a whole pig? 

 Chest freezer (cubic ft)Upright freezer (cubic ft)
Minimum size for 1/8 pig1 to 21 to 2
Minimum size for 1/4 pig33
Minimum size for 1/2 pig55
Minimum size for a whole pig8 to 109

How much pig (or hog) meat is that? It really depends on what you ask for.  A half pig should consist of pork chops, roast, fresh ham, bacon slab, some ground pork made from the less lean (but still delicious) meats, and maybe some spare ribs. All in all, it should be around 100 lbs, depending on the individual pig. 

What size chest freezer do I need for ⅛, ¼ ½ or a whole pig

Freezer size is always relative. A chest freezer (or deep freezer) is probably the most convenient for pork meat, and a standard-sized chest freezer should be more than enough to store even a whole pig, head and all. 

The chest freezer has a specific advantage over the upright freezer: it doesn’t have many separate spaces. In other words, there’s more open space for storing things that wouldn’t otherwise fit in a regular upright freezer. Take, for example, the pork head; it has a very irregular shape and doesn’t fit much anywhere. The rack of pork is another excellent example of a pork cut that’s easier to store in a chest freezer. 

Most standard-sized chest freezers (seven cubic feet or smaller) can store up to half a pig. For more than half a pig, you should look into bigger chest freezers—a minimum of 10 cubic feet. 

When I searched for my chest freezer, I always had in mind that I was buying around ¼ of a pig once a year, 1/4 of a cow every six months, and around 20 whole chickens every three months. So I decided on a 7 cu ft chest freezer with a 7 cu ft – 200 liters storage volume.

sorting meat in my chest 7 cu ft freezer

Searching for the best freezer to store pork meat can be a pain. I spend several hours browsing through forums, amazon comments and listings and narrowed down the selection for the best one. So if you are like me (I have three hungry boys) and buy lots of meat, simply check the best freezers below that fit your needs.

If you already know that you need a 7 cu ft chest freezer for half a pig I made detailed research about them in my other post best 7 cu ft chest freezer.


What size upright freezer do I need for ⅛, ¼ ½ or a whole pig

Upright freezers are usually much more efficient at distributing space. As a general rule, upright freezers can store more meat than chest freezers because they are more space-efficient than chest freezers. Upright freezers are great for storing several cuts of pig at once, mainly if they’ve already been chopped into individual servings.

Upright freezers tend to be bigger on average, which means that most regular upright freezers can store up to half a pig or even a whole pig. Six to seven cubic feet is more than enough for half a pig, while an entire pig needs at least ten cubic feet. 

Keep in mind that it isn’t very convenient to store bigger pieces of the pig in an upright freezer such as the head or a whole ham, although this might depend on the size of the pig. Some hams are way too big to store in an upright freezer, while some are small enough to store them whole. 


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If I am buying a lot of pig, which freezer is better, chest or upright

Experience dictates that a chest freezer is usually the best in this scenario. If you’re a person with a very meat-heavy diet, then a chest freezer might seem like a lot. We recommend that if you plan to eat the meat right away, and like to have cuts organized and on hand every time you reach the freezer, get an upright freezer.

But if instead, if you get larger cuts or debone meat yourself into larger pieces, don’t mind the chaos in the freezer, and want more space, a chest freezer is the best option. 

Then question of what other foods are going into the freezer also arises, when picking your freezer. The chest freezer is a phenomenal option if you’re only using it for meat, but not so much when other foods are in there. However, the upright freezer is much easier to organize and compartmentalize, so having a lot of different foods at once isn’t really a problem. 

Pork leg for freezing

Best way to organize your freezer when putting in lots of pork

This largely depends on what cuts of meat you asked for and what kind of freezer you have. 

For a chest freezer, the best way you can go about it is to keep large cuts to one side and smaller cuts to the other side. Be sure to also separate boneless cuts from the rest to avoid putting weight on boneless meat.

Upright freezers are quite easy to organize, and it will depend mostly on your individual preference. However, I recommend that you take special care with big cuts of meat like the ham, as they can dry easily if they spend too much time in the freezer. If possible, ask the butcher to leave the fat and skin still attached on cuts that will be kept in the freezer for longer, to preserve the meat better & longer. 

How much freezer paper does a pig need?

While it shouldn’t take more than about 20sq feet of regular freezer paper for a whole pig, it’s always a good idea to get much more than you actually need. You might tear some of it, or you will simply double-layer some cuts.

For this reason, instead of buying the small roll, it’s better to go ahead and get a 100 sq feet roll of freezer paper just in case you ended up needing more than you planned.

How much pork can you put in a freezer

As much as you can fit in it! But, in a more serious note, here’s a handy table to have as a guide: 

 How much meat will a whole chest freezer hold (package weight in lb)How much meat will a whole upright freezer hold (package weight in lb)
3.5 cubic feet98 lb98 lb
5 cubic feet140 lb - ? a pig150 lb - ? a pig
6-7 cubic feet196 lb200 lb
8 cubic feet224 lb - whole pig230 - 240 lb - whole pig
9-12 cubic feet336 lb340 - 360 lb
16 cubic feet448 lb - 2 whole pigs448-460 lb - two whole pigs
17-21 cubic feet588 lb580-620 lb


In conclusion, a standard-size chest freezer is a fine choice for storing a half pig. A small upright freezer does the job fine, too; but you might need to look for bigger freezers if you need to store a whole pig or more than that.


Rok Jurca

I am a kind of person that would sneak a taste out of grandma’s pot when I was barely tall enough to reach it. I grew up in kitchens full of love and liveliness and have spent my whole live learning, experimenting and succeeding in the art of cooking. At Pro Family Chef, every day is an opportunity for a new meal and a brand new flavor. I created this website to connect people that love to cook, with the products designed to make their cooking easier, hassle-free and rewarding every time.

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