Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Filling the Freezer

Since I spared you all from the step-by-step photo journal of the actual butchering process, I figured I could at least show you what the hind & front quarters look like going into the oven.  There are cuts of meat that look “worse” in the grocery store, so if this grosses you out, I’d hate to be with you at the meat counter in the store.
These cuts of meat aged for a day & a half.  Not as long as I’d have liked it to hang, but I had an opportunity for some uninterrupted butchering time (i.e. Grandma was over watching Rhiannon….thanks Grandma!) and took advantage of it.  I seasoned them with a basic seasoning salt, garlic & onion powder and wrapped them up in foil to keep it moist. 

They slow cooked in the oven for about five hours at 300 degrees just until the meat falls off the bone.  I got two pounds of meat and one pound of dog / kitty treat meat.  It doesn’t sound like much, but the 2 pounds for us is just meat – no fat, no bones, nothing but pop-it-in-your-mouth tender goat meat.  I could have been pickier about it and got more meat out of it but it was getting late & I was getting tired. 
Today I’m going to cut out the tenderloins, ribs and neck and wrap them up for the freezer.  As much as I like the tenderloin cuts, I’m really looking forward to a rib dinner.  Visions of a meat goat herd is filling my head again.
I often wonder what my reaction would be if somebody came up to me 15 years ago and told me that I’d be raising, eating and enjoying goat meat.  Although I suppose “exotic” meat wouldn’t have really freaked me out even when I was a kid thanks to my adopted grandpa, Bernie.  I have him to thank for so many things, one of them being how to skin & butcher an animal.  I vividly recall being called into the garage one day after school to find a dead raccoon hanging from the rafters and given a lesson on how to skin an animal.  Same went when deer hunting season came.  And the parties at Wilma & Bernie’s house were awesome; beaver tail, bear, goose, moose, elk……you name it, we ate it and loved it.
Now this may not seem like anything special to most country folk, but at that time I was a pre-teen living in the suburbs and attending a well-to-do Catholic grammar school.  I don’t recall if I had any conversations with my classmates about my “strange” grandpa, but can you imagine how it could have sounded?
Schoolmate: “So, what did you do this weekend Carolyn?  My Dad took us skiing at Villa Oliva.”
Me: “Well, I learned how to gut, skin & butcher a raccoon, although we didn’t actually eat this one because it was too old and it was basically for practice.”
Schoolmate:  Stares at me wide-eyed, jaw agape.
Me:  “Bernie said we could eat the next one as long as it’s fresh.  Maybe I can bring some in my lunch and share it with you.”
I’m not sure if Christine received the same “training” as I did or not.  But given her aversion to most meat products, and her ability to only eat meat that doesn’t look like what it was before being butchered, I suspect not.  But who knows.  Maybe she’ll chime in & let us all know.
My adopted Grandparents, Wilma & Bernie. 
We miss you very much!

1 comment:

  1. I was "lucky" to NOT have to get the lessons on skinning and gutting (Thank God). I was probably inside with Wilma eating Pac-Man sandwiches or watching Tom & Jerry :) Although I do (vividly) remember seeing the dead animals hanging in the garage. The one that sticks out the most in my memory was the one deer hanging with it's tongue sticking out at me...glossy eyes and all. Scared the bejesus out of me! I was like only 7 or 8 years old.