Sunday, April 19, 2009

More Bull

Farmer Trent Hendricks, my butchery and charcuterie enabler, has been steadily increasing his stock of cattle over the winter months and now has a pretty healthy herd of grass fed animals whose ultimate fate is to become food. Almost all of the animals have been bought or traded into the farm as heifers, while a smaller number were born on the farm. He's raising black and red Angus, Devons and Limousin bulls (see slideshow below).

None of the males are castrated (i.e. there are no steers) so they are more or less free to have their way with the females. It is a hoot to watch the three huge angus bulls in the field just below the kitchen window vying for dominance and not at all unlike watching a trio of high school football players playing smackdown in front of a bunch of cheerleaders.

To date we have butchered about a half dozen bulls and cows. This week we are taking apart a Limosin (pronounced more or less as Lim-ou-zan) bull that came back from the slaughterhouse weighing 1070 pounds. Once the bones are removed and turned into beef stock, we will be left with about 650 pounds of meat (maybe more) for roasts, steaks, sausage, hamburger, biltong and dog chews.

Yes, that's right, dog chews.

A few weeks ago I realized that the tendons and other tough trim that would not got through the grinder and were not especially useful for stock, could be fashioned into treats for dogs. So I am now proud to say that I can add pet food manufacture to my curriculum vitae.

Life gets curiouser and curiouser.


Bob said...

Edgar Al Poe would be rolling over in his grave if he new you were making your own dog food :-)>

Chris said...

I'm jealous of the amount of butchering practice you are getting. To date I've done 2 deer and a pig. I wish I had a farmer like Trent.

Cameron Siguenza said...

My dog scout - a golden lab and alaskan sled dog cross heartily approves of this new direction you are taking. Don't forget to use the "dizzle" as it is called in the dog chew scene. I learned that word a few months ago. Also "pizzle" is another word for it. It is usually braided and smoked / dried for maximum chew / flavor. Although I suspect most people use liquid smoke :)

Jennie/Tikka said...

Rocco will be soooooo jealous! ;)

Ben said...

Well, I won't throw you under the bus on this one. You did say "dog chews", not "dog food".....I know you wouldn't waste good food on the hounds. But nothing gets wasted, and our best friends deserve a treat every once in a while.

Kevin said...

Your career is headed straight for the dogs.

craigkite said...

It is not enough that the bulls are giving up their lives for your dinner, but they are now a source of entertainment. Teen angst is a heavy burden for any species. At least they are getting laid!

mirinblue said...

I noticed that you also slaughter the females. (I wondered about that-thought maybe all the "girls" were kept for dairy).

My question is..if you closed your eyes and were fed a bit of male and then female meat...would there be a marked difference?

Also-as an aside-can you freeze anchovies?


Bob del Grosso said...

We slaughter females that have outlived their usefulness as dairy cows.

I'm not sure if I could tell the difference with my eyes closed but all other things being equal (breed, age, diet) the males have a stonger beef flavor.

Sure you can freeze anchovies. As a matter of experience I find that oily fishes do much better in the freezer than lean fishes. Moreover, if you are referring to salted anchovies and not fresh, the low water content of the salted fish assures that there will not be much difference in texture when you defrost them.

ntsc said...

I had a friend in the 70s who was an Ass't Professor of Agronomy at Purdue, i.e. he ran an experimental farm.

He was of the opinion that the best beef was a 2 year old grass fed bull that had had access to corn for the last six weeks. He sold all he could raise both on his farm and Purdue's to a steak house in Brooklyn, but I don't know which one.