Real Food

Savor the flavors of everyday real food, fresh from the garden or stored on your pantry shelves.

Add to My MSN

Now What?

12/29/2011 10:13:50 AM

Tags: how to source meat, home butchering tips, Cole Ward

 OK – you’ve bought The Gourmet Butcher DVD, and you’re ready to start cutting. Now what? 

Well, guess you'll need some meat. As in, a half-beef, whole lamb, or whole hog. 

If someone is going to try to cut their first carcass, I advise them to get references from as many people as they can regarding the source of the meat. Far too many people I know have bought meat they weren't happy with because they didn't get references beforehand. 

Think about it. If you were planning to do business with somebody — say, a plumber, or carpenter or insurance broker — wouldn’t you check them out first?  I know I do.  And this is a product that actually goes into your body.  So do your homework — get online, or ask around.  I guarantee you’ll find that all meat, and meat purveyors, are not identical. 

As for where the meat was raised, not a big deal.  Personally, I don’t think city versus country makes a lot of difference. It's much more important to know the reputation of your source.    

What to ask for ?  A product that was raised humanely (why?  read my post on dark cutters), with no antibiotics, no growth hormones, and (if beef) preferably grass-fed and finished. 

carca 

As far as size goes, it depends on the animal you’re going to cut. If it’s a pig, a good size is around 200 lbs. For lamb, I like 40 to 60 lbs. Beef I like to see at about 500 to 550 lbs. That's a beef hindquarter above.

To transport and keep the meat cool depends on the time of year. If it’s fall or winter and the termperature is below 60 degrees F. – and if you’re transporting the carcass a short distance (no more than a one-hour trip) - paper wrapped is fine. Cheese cloth and bubble wrap is better. 

 pastic 

If the temperature is under 45 degrees F. you have a lot more time. Keep in mind that many places will deliver for a small fee, and delivery may be included in the cost of the animal. Verify first — ask. 

Storage space? If you’re serious about doing this, I would advise that you get a small to medium chest freezer and rotate the meat for the first few days to insure proper freezing. 

What cuts to focus on? This goes back to time of year. Is it grilling season? Or are you freezing your butt off in the dead of winter and feel like a nice hot beef stew? 

This is definitely a choice I can't make for you. But I'm here for advice. Just ask.  



Related Content

Track Products' Origins with Sourcemap

A new open-source website helps consumers track where their products come from.

How Do YOU Save Money on Meat? Share Your Best Tips!

Readers share their best ideas for saving money on meat and their recipes for almost meatless, flexi...

Home Butchering: New DVD Will Teach You How to Butcher Beef, Hogs, Lamb

One key bit of knowledge needful if you want to eat more locally grown meat is how to use the unfami...

Moving Tips for Homesteaders-to-Be

Pennsylvania mama Michelle has finally found a homestead! Get her moving tips on take-back programs,...

Content Tools




Post a comment below.

 










Subscribe Today - Pay Now & Save 66% Off the Cover Price

First Name: *
Last Name: *
Address: *
City: *
State/Province: *
Zip/Postal Code:*
Country:
Email:*
(* indicates a required item)
Canadian subs: 1 year, (includes postage & GST). Foreign subs: 1 year, . U.S. funds.
Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
Non US and Canadian Subscribers - Click Here

Lighten the Strain on the Earth and Your Budget

MOTHER EARTH NEWS is the guide to living — as one reader stated — “with little money and abundant happiness.” Every issue is an invaluable guide to leading a more sustainable life, covering ideas from fighting rising energy costs and protecting the environment to avoiding unnecessary spending on processed food. You’ll find tips for slashing heating bills; growing fresh, natural produce at home; and more. MOTHER EARTH NEWS helps you cut costs without sacrificing modern luxuries.

At MOTHER EARTH NEWS, we are dedicated to conserving our planet’s natural resources while helping you conserve your financial resources. That’s why we want you to save money and trees by subscribing through our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. By paying with a credit card, you save an additional $5 and get 6 issues of MOTHER EARTH NEWS for only $12.00 (USA only).

You may also use the Bill Me option and pay $17.00 for 6 issues.