Monday, December 27, 2010`s what`s for dinner

Howdy all! Let me get my various parts thawed and we`ll visit for a spell.

*Drops down into kitchen chair with steaming mug of java* Gracious but it is cold and snowy outside this morning! I nearly froze my yodel out there doing chores. As I promised the other day I have the pictures of our steer butchering ready to roll. For anyone who is squeamish now is the time to leave. I did not include anything graphic rest assured, but if anyone dislikes viewing meat being processed they shouldn`t read any further.

I have said that this is a working farm. Animals bought for meat end up in our freezer. It`s not always pleasant and despite knowing better I do get attached, but farming is farming. Hard at times for sure but rewarding in a way that many cannot imagine. This is a pretty heavy load of pictures, just so y`all know. Okay, let`s see how we went about processing close to five hundred pounds of fresh beef!


Thursday 12/23

This is my kitchen table and some of the various knives and cutting boards we used. We covered the table with clean plastic to help keep the mess down to a minimum.

Now the cutting begins in earnest. It took us two days working from 7 AM to 5 PM to take care of all the beef. Also the temps stayed at 20 and the wind blew steadily.

We now have the front shoulders and ribs removed from the carcass. Mister had all he could do to lug those ribs to our plastic-covered picnic table! All I could think of was Fred Flintstone`s rack of ribs at the drive-in!

Thankfully after we got the front shoulders and ribs cut free we could move back inside. On the left is filet mignon (It was mouthwatering!!)and on the right what will become corned beef. I`ll show you the process for making corned beef and pass along the recipe we`re using a little later in this post.

The filets cut and tidied. My friends, we had these for dinner Thursday and they literally melted in your mouth!

We move along some and see that we`ve gotten our steaks cut. We also saved some roasts and some cubed meat. I cooked the first roast for Christmas dinner and it was delicious!

Then we cut the ribs down into thinner strips with a saw.

While all this was going on Mister also placed a couple of leg bones into our wood stove for the dogs. Looks like they were a big hit but sadly some pooches have sharing issues, so everyday a different dog gets to chew on a bone for awhile.

Friday 12/24


My brother-in-law arrives at 7 sharp and the men wrassle the rear legs off and into the house. We also saved roasts and cubed meat from the rear legs. Anything not wanted for special cuts on both days was cut into chunks for the grinders.

Both the cooler and the 30 gallon tote are filled with meat for grinding. After packaging we had close to 200 pounds of ground beef to split with my brother-in-law. Tinker thinks things are smelling pretty darn good!

Two grinders running non-stop!

Poe`s turn with the highly coveted bone.

After all the ground beef was sealed up then I started making my brine for our corned beef. Here`s the recipe we used. I plan on having corned beef and cabbage for New Year`s dinner so I`ll let you know how it turned out.

Brine for corned beef

2 quarts of water
2 cups of Morton Tender Quick
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
2 teaspoons black peppercorns
1 teaspoon whole cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
Several trays of ice
3-5 pounds beef brisket, cut into two pieces

Heat the water with the Tender Quick, sugar and all spices. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the sugar and Tender Quick are dissolved. Remove from heat and add ice. Stir until the ice has melted. Place each brisket into a seperate 1-gallon freezer bag, half to each bag. We used Food Saver bags to ensure the brine couldn`t leak out.

Seal and lay in baking pan, put in fridge. Massage the bags daily and make sure the meat is covered with brine. That`s it! Simple right? My briskets are currently curing in the fridge. Recipes vary as to curing time but cutting the brisket shortens the time needed to cure. 7-10 days seems average, and I plan on cooking one of my briskets this Saturday.

I hope you guys enjoyed seeing how we processed one of our steers for the freezer. It was a ton of hard work and long, long days but in the end it was very well worth the effort.

That reminds me, I have to go massage my meat. I know, right? We`re such scamps!


Melodie said...

This was a great post! We have never done anything bigger than a sheep here at home! I am looking forward to hearing how the corned beef turns out,that is something I have been wanting to try doing myself!

Feral Female said...

Thanks Melodie! I will let y`all know how the corned beef turns out!

Texan said...

My honeyman would be in hog heaven with all that beef. Um I mean Beef heaven! That certainly looked like a big job.

Sharon said...

My ex used to do the venison, had the hogs/pigs whatever done at a butchers. We would like to have a side of beef. Yes, lots of work, but so much tastier to have home grown rather than those from a feed lot!

Big job, for sure, but so much worth it, I believe! Enjoy!

Brenda said...

Great post! I've processed deer, but never anything as big as your beef! You did a great job and will have lots of good meals from your hard work.

Nekkid Chicken said...

Excellent post!

I showed my husband because we too want to become more self sufficient. Thanks for sharing the recipe and information. Happy New Year

taylorgirl6 said...

Such a big job, and great pictures, too! Thank you so much for sharing the details. I'd love to learn how to butcher something bigger than a chicken, but that's a tall order when you live in the city. Where did y'all learn the different cuts? And is there any secret to which knives you use?

houndstooth said...

That looks like a huge job! Steak in the end is a pretty good reward, though, I'd say!

Nancy said...

Following you from Tonia's A Simple Life -- but I see a couple of my other bloggy friends here too -- Melodie and Texan. How cool!

We butchered 3 deer this past November, about 300 pounds of venison -- so I feel your pain, well, a little anyways.

Love your blog -- I live on a farm as well and can relate to much of what you say. :) Have a great day!

John Gray said...

could you do a step by step teaching blog on meat butchering?

small farm girl said...

Wow! I've never cut up one of our own cattle. Deer yes, cattle no. You are a better person than I am. That was a lot of work. I guess I could do it, but then the butcher would be out of a job. hehehe Job security.