Homekill butchering

by Farmer Liz
The other week we had a butcher come out to Eight Acres to kill Bratwurst the Limousine-Fresian cross steer.   We had to use a different butcher because our last one had sold up and gone to work in the mines!  Fortunately we found another good one, he was punctual, clean, hard-working and friendly.  Last time I wrote some tips about preparing for a homekill, this is just a few notes that I thought of this time.

Pete had the Tuesday off work for day one of the butchering.  The butcher turned up around midday and Pete had Brat ready in a separate paddock so that the butcher could shoot the steer and then work on skinning, quartering and then hanging him in the mobile cool room.  I left the camera for him, but in the rush he forgot to take photos, the butcher uses a giant tripod to lift up the carcass, which is really quite clever, so I'm sorry I can't show it to you.  Maybe next time!

The butcher at work in our car port
more butchering
On the Thursday we both had the day off work and the butcher arrived back around 7am to begin the work of butchering.  The butcher set up in our carport next to the house, with access to water and electricity.  Pete stayed outside to help and observe the process, while I was inside bagging up the meat.

I had a bit more of a system this time, being our 4th beast, I've finally worked it out!  The butcher cuts up one quarter at a time, so I used freezer bags for all the cuts off one front and one back quarter, and then vacuum bags for the other front and back quarter, this way its about half half in freezer bags and half in vacuum bags (which of course make the meat last a big longer).  I had Pete write the labels, which sped things up, and he came in and helped when there was a glut of meat to bag.  We sealed all the good cuts (rib fillet and eye fillet) in vacuum bags and "wet aged" them in the fridge for over a week, as we had such a short hanging time.

freezer bagging some of the meat

vacuum sealing some of the meat

This time I asked the butcher to keep the liver and kidney, he sliced them up and we have small bags of the slices in the freezer.  The organ meats are supposed to be really healthy (see my posts on nourishing traditions), but I haven't worked out what to do with them yet!  I also asked the butcher to keep the big chunks of fat for me so I can render tallow.  All the bones were cut up to dog size as well, we have a separate freezer full of bones!  And we spread out the skin in the shed on the Tuesday and covered in salt, we will tan the hide (as we have done before) in a few months.  It doesn't smell at all if you put enough salt on it (and it seems to work better the longer you leave it like that).

We have already tried the Y-bone, T-bone and tenderised BBQ steaks, mince and a rolled roast, all have been very nice.  Not as tough as Murray, not as tasty as Trevor, but very nice beef.  We are looking forward to eating the rest of the 240 kg in our freezer!

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