I Met My Meat

meet your meat
Monday morning a week or so ago marked butcher day. I left home early and drove about two miles to meet up with Dan and Ted.
Dan’s family has been in this area for over a century. His family owns a lot of grazing land in the area which he leases to area ranchers. Dan’s land is particularly good for grazing because he has water rights to the area creeks and diverts the water to his pastures so that his land is green when everybody else’s land is tan or brown. He owns a few head of cattle and calls me when he has an extra. I purchased a steer from Dan to help stock our freezer.
Ted was already there when I arrived on Monday, driving his white truck with the license plate “dead cow,” towing a trailer with the beef industry bumper sticker.
Ted is a freelance butcher who slaughters two to three animals a day.
I hired Ted to slaughter the steer and deliver it to the meat locker for processing.

Beautiful morning
The morning was spectacular and the steer against the hills of green would have looked idyllic had I not been preparing mentally to watch the slaughter.
“It’s almost done. You’ve just about missed it.” Dan said. “I wondered if you would be too squeamish to see this.”
“Dan, I was a Future Farmer of America.” I didn’t mention that rugged mountain women can take anything.
Ted directed Dan on where the steer needed to be, Dan placed a container of grain in that area and we all moved away to let the steer find his way to the grain. Ted shepherded him around the corral, gun in hand.
When the steer found the grain and began to eat, Ted took one shot and the steer dropped to the ground. The steer quivered and then lay still. Ted sliced his throat. Ted and Dan worked with the winch on Ted’s truck and dragged the steer close to the truck bed.
Now a carcass
Ted skinned the steer’s head, sliced the head away from the neck, and placed the head in his trailer bed.
“This is the part that inspires vegetarianism in some,” Dan pointed out. Dan and I exchanged comments about the grain still sitting inside the steer’s mouth. I took a couple of pictures and made a mental note “don’t post these on the website.” Of course I’ve posted them anyway.
Ted skinned the legs above the hoof and used a small sharp knife to remove the hoof and lower leg right at the joint.
“Are you sure you want the feet?”
“Yes sir.”
He cleaned his knife in a bucket of hot water and placed it back in his apron, next to about three other knives suited for different tasks.
As he gutted the steer, he brought out the liver. “Here it is,” he said. He must have known how effective liver has been for me in fighting depression.
“It looks like a good one,” he said.
“Really? Can you tell?” I asked.
“Oh yes, some of them have flukes. They may come from dirty water.”
“How else can you tell if the steer is healthy?”
Ted ran down a list of signs of a healthy steer. He sounded like a veterinarian.
“Do you really want these lungs?”
“Yes sir.”
He pulled the hose off of the trailer and sprayed down the steer.
The rest of the organs remained inside the steer’s carcass. Ted hoisted the steer high up on the back of his truck. The steer’s carcass hung high on that truck bed for a few minutes and I imagined it riding like that to town.
Ted lowered it into the truck bed and made his way down our winding road to the meat locker.
At the locker, Ted would remove the hide and hang the carcass in cold storage.
Ted gets about $25 for that beautiful red hide from a dealer who then hooks up tanners and leather manufacturers.
In the next two weeks I will work out the details of the meat processing. I will reconfirm that I want all of those organ meats, order a whole lot of hamburger, and request the bones. We will split the steer with friends and have just about as much beef as we can eat for the next year.
I Met My Meat Part II, a follow up

18 Responses to I Met My Meat
  1. Brit

    How exciting! Thank you for documenting that … the license plate is unbelievable! *lol*

  2. Hey Brit. The left half is yours. I’ll keep the right. ;)

  3. Brit

    For some reason, that totally cracked me up! I needed that. :) As I posted on MDC, Tucker (our raw fed poodle) is going to LOVE his “treats” when we pick up our left-half!

  4. I hope he likes lung, because I am not sure I can eat two entire beef lungs myself and I don’t think anyone around here is going to help.

  5. Ivory

    Not quite like the anti meat mob claim, is it?

  6. Not at all, Ivory. I think I’ll take my son in a year or two when he’s six or seven. If he were a real farm boy he probably would have seen it already.

  7. Caterpillar: Pest or Saint Patrick’s Day Dinner?

    Happy Saint Patrick’s Day everyone! We have a special entry in the depression buster contest “Pest or Dinner?” We are looking for foods high in depression-fighting nutrients that also may be considered pests. Entries must be edible or at least…

  8. I Met My Meat Part II

    I reported back in February that I acquired a steer from a local rancher ear-marked for my freezer and I hired a butcher to do my dirty work. I observed the slaughter and provided pictures. Who knew there would be…

  9. The Gun Cabinet

    We do not own a gun cabinet. We do not even own a gun. I don’t want this blog post to scare you off prematurely. Sander and I are educated, liberal young people who have served Democratic Party candidates at…

  10. Beef in Pregnancy

    Our focus in examining food is misplaced. We spend a whole lot of time discussing what is not in food rather than what is in the food. Today’s news provides a good example. Should you eat beef in pregnancy? A…

  11. Milk Billboard: Red Hot County Investigation

    Part II in the Rambling Raw Milk Series Read Part I: Crime Scene Photos My visit to the one-room school house here in California Hot Springs led to some critical information about the raw milk billboard crime. Sheriff Deputy Scott…

  12. Loco-vore? My Plan for the 2007 Eat Local Challenge

    September is the Eat Local Challenge sponsored by the San Francisco-area Locavores and tracked at the Eat Local Challenge Blog. A month-long eat local challenge is a big effort for most people. That’s why I’ve always felt like a bit…

  13. Kids and Critters

    We just submitted some photos to the California Farm Bureau Photo Contest. This photo is my favorite unsubmitted photo. :) Sander and I both submitted three photos. I submitted my “I Met My Meat” photo, one of cattle grazing…

  14. In the News (September 30, 2007)

    This is the first Rebuild news digest, covering topics related to food, health, and depression. The Mouths of Babes The New York Times reports that meaningful parents buying organic cereal for their children are providing a less nutritious product beca…

  15. Robbed! (The California Farm Bureau Photo Contest)

    If you were a judge and choosing the best “Farm to Fork” photo, which would you choose? The judges’ choice: My entry: Look at that license plate! You can’t make this stuff up. (Okay, I really didn’t think this photo…

  16. Cattle on the range: Grass fed beef and Omega 3

    This time of year in California’s cattle country in the Sierra Nevada, we don’t see a lot of cattle. Ranchers have either sold their younger feeder cattle or have moved their herd to higher elevations in the Sequoia National Forest…

  17. Stocking up on grass fed beef, saving some bucks

    We seem to do pretty much everything around here pretty big and that includes buying meat. When we buy beef or lamb, we buy the whole animal and hire a butcher to do the deed and another party to…

  18. Stocking up on grass fed beef, saving some bucks

    We seem to do pretty much everything around here pretty big and that includes buying meat. When we buy beef or lamb, we buy the whole animal and hire a butcher to do the deed and another party to…

Leave a Reply

Wanting to leave an <em>phasis on your comment?

Trackback URL http://www.rebuild-from-depression.com/blog/2007/02/i_met_my_meat.html/trackback