T-Bone has been hanging in the cold room now for over three weeks. There’s a lovely crust over the meat which is exactly what we’re looking for. We don’t want the meat to be sticky to the touch.
Butchering a cow is a bit different to a pig, sheep or goat so, with a book in hand, Shannon, Stretch, Kim, Chris and I headed down to the Meat Shed to have a go at one of T-bones hind quarters.
Jason was there but his eldest daughter had fallen on her arm at school during the day and was in pain. So, after giving the hospital a ring to make sure someone would be there to do an X-ray, and since none of us are doctors, it was a trip into Moree for his family to visit the hospital. The arm turned out to be badly bruised.
Why is it when working from a book, the product never looks the same as the diagrams? We all knew where the T-Bones where so they were quickly sliced up with the ban saw, but the rest went something like this:-
Is that the topside?
No it could be the rump?
Well where is the chuck?
What other parts are there?
Look at the book. This book said Topside but I’m on the internet and it’s saying Silverside.
Get the picture?
Anyway we divided it up the best we could, steaks, roasts and bits we weren’t quite sure of but looked good.
Some of us went home and sliced whole pieces into steaks, other left the same pieces for roasts, but what I can tell you that after being divided into four, we each took home half a large garbage bag full of meat, and that was only one quarter!
Shannon had decided to ask Freddy to come out and show us how to butcher the rest of the meat. Freddy is a local from Boomi who has been share farming in this area since he was 17 (he’s now 75 and fit as a fiddle). He’s also a butcher who used to come to Koramba in the old days, butchering for the quarters. It was a thrill to spend the morning watching him quickly and easily seperate the cuts from the remaining three quarters of T-bone and to listen to him recount stories of what went on at the farm in the yester years. As he held up a crooked finger he told us how he cut it off when he was younger and he had us in fits of laughter as he told us about the finger still jumping around the floor as his father tried to catch it!
He patiently explained what he was doing to T-bone each step of the way.
We’d been waiting to taste this meat for a long time. Most people we speak to out here butchers some portion of their own meat and the biggest comment you always hear is, “You will never buy meat from Coles / Woollies again after you taste it.”
Now this is where the heading of this blog post comes from.
How can I explain the taste?
Well, firstly there IS a taste! Not a gamey, strong taste but a meat taste that is emphasised more by the freshness and other things such as marbling that is seldom seen in shops these days.
Let me try to explain it another way.
Have you ever eaten home grown vegetables? They taste more pronounced. A tomato straight off the vine sends your taste buds into a frenzy, the same way fresh herbs do. Even just the smell of them makes your mouth start producing saliva.
So does this meat.
The animals haven’t been injected with anything, they have only eaten grass or some hay or grain if they’re lucky. They are always left to hang for a few days at least with cattle hanging for at least three weeks. Their lives are stress free.
We now have in the freezer fresh beef, lamb and goat and every day we are looking forward to our meals like never before. We add fresh herbs from the garden and cook most of the meat in the Weber BBQ. Add to that vegetables grown fresh from the greenhouse like peas, carrots and eggplant and both of us are moaning with every mouthful. Seriously, it’s better than sex???
We can’t wait to pick up our Kitchen Aid and start producing our own gourmet sausages. Can you imagine being able to add anything you want to change the taste? An amazing array of different sausages is available from the butchers these days but even they use powered products. Look on the internet, you can purchase them online.
We want to add only fresh natural ingredients to our sausages like fresh apples to the pork mince or fresh tomatoes to the beef. Prunes, basil, garlic and Paprika will go into the lamb sausages.
MMMmmmm is your mouth starting to water?
After Freddy dissected the rest of T-Bone in less time it took all of us to do one quarter, we borrowed Freddy’s mincer and produced 30kg of lean mince. In today’s prices that was between $300 – $400 worth, just in mince.
With everything we learn out here it changes our opinions of where and what we want, when we settle down again. To be able to have a piece of land big enough to shoot on (min of 30 acres). To make sure that land has animals on it you can shoot or place animals on to use for food and still have a place that is close enough to the family and health facilities as we get older. That’s our dilemma.
But in the meantime hmmm “What’s for dinner?”