|Butcher day is Cheryl's favourite|
Butchering tips and tricks
Home butcher vs meatworks
Even better than just being prepared for the basics, you can actually plan to make sure you get the best possible meat, both by the way you raise the animal, how its killed and how you handle and store the meat. Learn more in this post.
Cooking and eating all that meat
When the butcher is finished you'll be left with 200-300 kg of beef, but much of it will be cuts that you're not familiar with. As well as the tasty steaks and sausages that are easy to fry, and roasts to be roasted, you will also have a huge amount of delicious casserole meat and stock bones. I recommend that you buy a slow cooker (even a very cheap one will do the job) as it makes it easy to use up all this meat, I tell you all about my slow cooker in Real food in a slow cooker.
I also wrote more about eating meat in Should you eat animal products?. Its a bit late now if you just had a steer butchered, but you might be interested to see that current research shows that meat is not bad for your health and when raised for home butchering, its not terrible for the environment either.
The other tricky new cut of meat you will find is organ meats. Personally I'm not a huge fan, but Emma explains why you should eat organ meats and I did make a nice beef liver pate. Unfortunately the rest usually goes to the dogs. They also get the larger bones.
|a beef rolled roast in my slow cooker|
If you remember on the first butcher day, ask your butcher for the kidney fat, and you should get a nice big slab of pure white fat. I also ask him to set aside any particularly large chunks from the rest of the carcass. We cut these up and put them in the freezer to be rendered, as described in this post - Rendering tallow in a slow cooker. Tallow then keeps at room temperature in jars in our pantry, and we use it to make soap, with recipes in this post - Making tallow soap (with other soap recipes here).
Don't waste the hide
Sometimes the butcher will take the hide, but our first butcher wouldn't take it, so we decided to try tanning it. We found it very difficult to find out much about tanning, so I recorded our method in these posts - Tanning a hide (with updates here and here). We ended up with a usable rug from the first attempt, and an even better rug the second time. We haven't tried it again because our current butcher will buy the hide from us, so as least it isn't wasted, but its good to know that we can tan a hide if we ever need to again.
|OK this looks gross, but the finished rug was worth it|
We usually have to dig a hole to dispose of the feet, head and a bit of fatty meat that's not good for tallow or for sausages. This has become a very fertile corner of our yard! I prefer burying the waste to burning it as the nutrients stay in the soil (and it doesn't stink).
Have you tried homekill butchering? Any tips? And questions?