Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Hacking It Up

Warning: Do not read this post if you are ill, squeamish, currently suffering from morning sickness or sea sickness, easily grossed out, generally unstable, or just plain annoyed by crazy nutcases. Because that's what we are. Crazy nutcases. No one here but us chickens.

You have been warned.

Now, wanna see what we did today?

(You should say "no".)

You sure?

You asked for it.

(You were afraid I was going to post pictures of puke, weren't you?)

What you are looking at (or trying not to) is a hind quarter of a cow.

Not a nice meaty, grain-finished steer, but rather a dairy cow. A retired dairy cow. An old, retired dairy cow. An old, retired dairy cow who is now residing in my freezer.

And yes, like the crazy nutcases we are, we bought the quarter and processed it ourselves. Because we're crazy, do-it-ourselfer, back-to-the-land, cheapskate nutcases.

Thankfully, Nathan did not sling it on the table and tell me to "have at it." He did the hacking and sawing and bulk trimming, and I did the chunking and trimming and grinding and packaging and freezing and canning.

(That bright yellow fat, by the way, is the result of the fact that this is a dairy cow of a yellow-fat sort of breed (one of the reasons people like Angus so much: white fat. Cow racists.) that lived on grass most of her life.)

I'm so glad for this power grinder that we borrowed for the job. I can't imagine double-grinding those 25 pounds of burger with one of those little hand grinders or even a grinder that fits on a mixer. I shudder to think of it.

As it is, we spent several hours cutting and grinding.

He cut...

...and I ground.

I'm tired.

And now, I'm working on canning up some of it with my finicky pressure canner, and I have more meat in the fridge that needs canning and freezing for stew meat, after Nathan gets back with some more freezer paper. (Talk about foresight: Yeah, we're going to process some beef, and I somehow didn't think to get more freezer paper and bags... I ran out of paper after the first few roasts, and only barely managed to scrounge up enough bags for the most of ground meat.)

It is a gorgeous beautiful day outside --56 degrees!-- and I'm inside canning. I'd go out for a walk, but I'd be afraid my canner would blow up my kitchen... But hey. My freezer is bursting with meat, and that's saying something. We don't usually get to be so fortunate as to actually have much meat to eat. Even if it is an old cow.


  1. So are you going to make soap from the cow fat?

  2. For someone who grew up on Costco burger, Nathan, I'm impressed!

    Where do you guys get all that energy? You gonna replace your stove with a woodburning cook stove now too?

  3. old cow? Is old cow good to eat? Did she die of old age or disease? You think you can get to me girl? I might not be a do it yourselfer back to the lander but shoot fire I am a nurse!! Seeing all that old nasty yellow fat inside of people, now that is something to warn the squeamish about.

  4. Hm, soap-- not a bad idea. But I'd have to learn how to make lye from my woodstove ashes and I'm not sure if I'm quite that crazy yet...

    No way in hay I'm giving up my gas stove. I may be crazy, but that would be just plain stupid. And I don't have the energy. Just insanity.

    I'm hoping old cow is good to eat-- she might taste a little strong, though, I'm thinkin'. She was a perfectly healthy old cow, though. Retired intentionally. And hmm, I can't say I've ever seen the old nasty yellow fat inside of people... :-)

  5. Well, I think I'll let you keep that cow, and that work. Ugghh...

    Need meat? There is a store for everything, which I bet that meat tastes better then old milk cow.

  6. My cow butchering post trumps yours. Way more disgusting.
    And ol' Bessie's meat is going to taste like rubberized leather- if it tastes anything like the milk cow I ate that one time.
    Also, regarding yellow people fat- watch "Fight Club" for an education on that.

  7. Lyssa-- "store"? What is this "store" of which you speak?

    Kristin-- No thanks on the Fight Club offer. That's just a little more than I can take. I'm making a meatloaf with the old bag of bones right now-- maybe the onions will offset the leather.

  8. Mmmmmm... onions and leather! Did you keep the liver and make tripe?

  9. I love it! There's more to be complemented here than commented. Way to go and I'd like to know what "store" as well.
    You know your old bag o' bones wasn't soaked in any formaldehyde or any other toxins, and you know that no foreign body parts were cut up along with it. Even if it's a bit tough, I think it's way worth having food you have seen processed than the mystery ingredients and process that go along with meat you find in most grocer's stores! And I say "most" not all.

    Good work!

  10. Holy Cow!

    Okay, just where do you get the butcher paper? I would be willing to process our pigs if we could get a nice person to come over and do the initial killing.

    I don't like the taste of our ground pork at all, but I mix it in with beef and everyone eats it. So, if you don't like the taste of old milk cow you could always try mixing her in with a lot of other stuff.

    I think that grinder is something to covet.

  11. Oh, sorry didn't realize I was Anonymouse, this is April from April Showers.