Rosie the dexter cow was a sometimes cursed, always loved, member of our micro-farm family.
But last Thursday, Mark the mobile butcher paid us a call.
It was time for us to put our principles into action. To lovingly raise an animal and give it a happy life; then kindly despatch it without stress, fear or pain; and, finally, honour it by using every part of the animal.
Mark walked slowly into the paddock with relaxation – Rosie was curious and ambled over. He raised his rifle, calmly shot her between the eyes and she fell. He then walked over, efficiently slit her throat and she bled straight out. It was fast and humane and Rosie would have known nothing.
Mark then skinned and quartered her in the paddock and winched her into his mobile cool room on the back of his trailer, where she would hang for a week. Heifer hides are in demand by Blundstone, apparently, so that part of her will probably end up as boots.
Mark came back the following Thursday for the slice up.
We packed and labelled the meat in bags. And watched our chest freezer fill with 200kg of gorgeous beef.
We were salivating. We had never seen so much eye fillet, scotch, porterhouse, rump, t-bone…
Things we would do differently: next time, Joel and I will take a day off work following the butchering so that we can make fresh sausages and hamburgers to freeze – rather than freezing all the mince straight away. We didn’t have much choice this time because our fridge had died. I would probably also offer some fresh meat to friends at cost price and let them come out and pick it up on the day – because we didn’t do that, the chest freezer is so full that there is no room for anything else. Our cow hung for one week – it would be amazing to be able to dry age the meat for longer than that, say three or four weeks. So next time, we might look into hiring a cool room. We would also probably invest in a vacuum packer, rather than using the plastic freezer bags, because the bags leak somewhat, which meant we had to be very vigilant about unpacking and repacking the chest freezer during the freezing process to ensure the packets didn’t freeze together. Vacuum packs would also probably pack in more tightly, and travel better to friends places for BBQs.
It has been a fascinating learning curve – we were quite awed by the process. Now, I just can’t wait to get cooking.