This year we decided that processing three of our cull cows would be enough. I'm lucky that dad and Eli do the vast majority of the actual slaughter work. Ben and Jackson love being part of the skinning etc,
but I'm just happy to go to work when the beef is 'hanging'. And plenty of work there is to do.
Mum is near an expert butcher so we mostly follow her lead as she take the choice cuts off. All the rest is cut into fist sized chucks to be put through the grinder. As these are older cows and not 'prime beef', the backstraps and other good cuts are labeled as 'pot roasts'. We try and get every scrap of useable meat off the bones (enough that even the ravens are giving an evil eye!) and then the grinding begins.
Jackson and Ben are an important part of the team!
This year we had quite a production line, with three people helping with the grinding, two wrapping, one taping and one labeling and boxing. Although we didn't weight it, I'm sure we would have been close to 500 hundred pounds of hamburger done, in a relatively short time. (We have a commercial grinder.)
We stopped packaging the hamburger but finished grinding all the meat the first night and went in for a delicious rib dinner.
The next morning started early again with the sausage making. I started mixing spices and organizing tubs of hamburger by weight, there were two mixers, one person regrinding and then the ongoing stuffing and packaging line again.
This time we did both sausages in casings, and plenty just wrapped as though for normal hamburger. The sausage in casing is handiest for trail riding and hunting, but I love the loose sausage as well. As it is already spiced, it is perfect for meat sauces, hamburgers, breakfasts wraps or whatever else your imagination can come up with!
Nearly 350 pounds of sausage ought to get us through the next season hey?
Photo credit to Magalie.
I really need to get back in to photography as I can already hear several of you grumbling at me for not taking many/any photos...... I'm really going to miss Magalies picture taking! (She leaves us all too soon now. I have a feeling getting back to the 'real world' is going to be a bit of an unpleasant shock for her! She already told me that 'it is weird to think about going riding without a specific purpose!'
The whole production really didn't even take that long (good crew!) and McGee brought his big pressure washer so we had the shop cleaned out in a jiffy.
And ready for Grandpa's big SIX OH birthday party. Even managed to keep it a surprise!
And fun was had by all! Always so nice to see so many friends and family gathered in one place. Although we are small town, we sure seem to scatter out, so everyone enjoys a good visit when we finally take the time to gather up. Especially great to have my brothers around right now, that is a treat.
I've taken some of the backstraps to try 'beef bacon' and some round roasts for my first attempt at 'corned beef'. I have some experience with making the bacon before, but I'm excited to try a friends recipe this time, and on better cuts of meat than in the past. It's always a fun experiment, but hopefully it works out as I'm 'practicing' on more than 50 pounds of meat! (If it works out as I hope I'll see if I can get permission to share the recipes...)
I actually 'borrowed' this photo from 'smokingmeatforums.com' Mine looked exactly the same except I used a better cut of meat.
I also smoked some round roasts again, and cooked a little one tonight, seared in butter and garlic and then covered in pepper. Deliciously divine. Sandwich meat extraordinaire! Mum likes to slow cook a smoked one with a 'plain' one.....the gravy is amazing. (They are just smoked for a few hours during the day, then wrapped and frozen with all the rest. A bit of something different for once in a while.)
Oh, and regarding my last post about canning meat. Why do we do it?
1) It is delicious. I'm not really sure how it turns out so amazing, but you can literally eat it right out of the jar. Perfect for a quick stew or 'beefing up' a meal when unexpected company arrives. Eli loves to add a bit of onion, garlic and taco seasoning for an amazing lunch wrap.
2) It keeps for a very long time. As long as the seal does not break, you can store it for as long as you like. Years even.
3) It is totally healthy, just pure meat and a tiny bit of salt. Absolutely nothing else.
4) As it keeps so well and is not effected by temperature, we use it for the extended mountain trips. While packing the glass is heavy, it is well worth it as then we don't have to even consider fresh meat getting too warm in hot weather. Makes a delicious stew or stroganoff.
Alright, until next time.......