We killed it and then we butchered it. I've not done anything like this before.
Our friend David is a self-taught home butcher, he taught himself from some online videos and has successfully butchered two of his lambs so it made sense to work with him on this, our first killing and butchering of a four legged animal. It's actually remarkably straightforward. I'm not sure why I was surprised by this. I guess because meat processing is such a hidden part of life for most of us in the west. That mystification promotes the notion that it is in the realm of the specialists. I think I might have liked to be a butcher in a different life. An artisan kind of butcher, kind of like this gorgeous guy.
The lamb was killed and hung. Then we skinned it. The animal was still warm. This warmth combined with the moisture of the fat amounted to a pretty amazing experience sensually. This awareness aided the process and enhanced my consciousness about what we were doing and the significance of taking this life in order that we would eat. The sheep was killed, skinned and eviscerated in the place it had lived its life. No stressful abattoir experience. In fact before it even knew what was happening, it was dead.
After we'd skinned it, we pulled out "the guts".
"Getting the guts out", as the kids like to say.
Our kids love talking about guts. Possibly because of the amount of animal gut activity they've seen this past year. I'm reluctant to rave about Olive and Oscar on this blog, mainly because everyone loves their children and thinks they're special and also because when parents rave about their kids I feel they're often really (consciously or not) talking about the product(s) of their supposedly superior parenting. Having said that, we felt very proud of how non-squirmish the kids were about the process. For them, it was just another part of life. They were fascinated and enthralled and full of questions, yet absolutely accepting. It became a wonderfully hands on real life biology lesson. The carcass was then left to hang overnight, with a bag of ice inside it.
The next day, we cut the animal into five, including the neck and from there it was really very obvious where it should be cut - Two legs, two shoulders, four shanks, many cutlets, backstrap, ribs, some random bits for dogs and some other bits for mince. Oh and the head had been removed the day before. Don't worry, it was in our freezer awaiting a special use. More on this at a later date. I loved the process of slicing and arranging and trimming. We took our time and ensured a careful job. This felt good.
|New mincer, what a success!|
|uber-delicious taste of the local|