Turn on your freezers and fridges the night before
Just make sure everything is working in case you are going to need to urgently borrow or purchase additional facilities!
Get a good vacuum packer
It really pays not to be stingy when buying a vacuum packer. Sure you will only use it a few days a year, but when you do use it, you need it to work ALL day until that meat is packed. We used to pack some meat in freezer bags because they are cheaper, but the meat retains better quality in the vaccum bags, so its worth the extra expense for us (it depends how long its going to take you to eat all that beef). Our original vacuum sealer didn't work well last year, and looks like the sealing part is bowed, so I got a new Sunbeam VS780, so far I am very happy with it, but I did get the extended warranty just in case.
Spread the packets out flat so that everything packs neatly
After you seal a packet of mince (ground beef) you can then smooth it out flat so that it will stack neatly in the freezer. This also works with casserole meat. I try to keep the steaks flat too.
Prepare all your weird seasonings before the butcher arrives
Our butcher is used to us now, and knows that I prefer to make my own stuffing for the rolled roasts, and that we buy organic sausage mix and natural hog casings. We also need to respect his time, it does take him longer to make things they way we want, so we have to have everything prepared before he arrives.
Rolled roast stuffing "recipe"
Breadcrumbs (made from stale bread dried in the woodstove or BBQ)
Garlic granules (made by drying garlic cloves in the woodstove)
Mixed dried herbs (from the garden)
Other things from the pantry if I don't think I've made enough, including: sunflower seeds, chia seeds, hemp seeds, other nuts and seeds
I pulse everything in a blender to a suitable consistency, its really just a medium for conveying the garlic!
Sausages need to rest for a few days before freezing
That means you need some large dishes to store the sausages and plenty of fridge space. We have white butcher tubs that we use throughout butcher day, and they end up full of sausages right at the end. And we have a spare fridge which usually fits all the sausages (one year it didn't work and we had to emergency clear out the main fridge to make room - that is when butcher day is stressful!).
Keep your dog inside (away from the butcher), but if all else fails give her a bone
The butcher arrived at 7am, and we kept Taz inside for most of the day, but by 1pm I thought she might need to come outside for a wee. Of course she then had to check out what the butcher was doing, but she left him alone when we gave her a bone to chew on.
Let the chickens clean up
When the butcher was done, we let the chickens out and they picked up all the little scraps of meat in the car port, you never would have know the butcher was there!
Once again, we have plenty of beef in the freezer and we are starting to compare the two animals. So far the fat heifer is winning, but we've only tried rib fillets. Any tips and tricks for packing large volumes of meat? Whether you buy in bulk or homekill....