Naked Goose

December 28, 2010

With a very sharp boning knife and bit of butcher twine, I had fun deboning and cooking up a goose for the family last weekend.

Below is the carnage and the resulting meal. Every carnivore should try doing this to a bird at some point. It’s strangely satisfying. And slicing into the final boneless product is too much fun.

Below, the meat and skin  have been separated from the bones.

Yes, that goose could have come right out of the 1983 Far Side. But I’m sure it was raised on a small farm in Carnation, Washington that looks nothing like the graphic below.

Chantrelle mushrooms, sage, leeks, roasted chestnuts, and plenty of Cognac made up the stuffing.

Below, the boneless goose has been stuffed back to an original bird-shape….kind of.

Cooked and resting.

Show me a goose dinner that’s easier to carve and serve to guests!

Considering the pork-centric nature of this blog, I hope everyone will forgive this  poultry diversion. It needed to be documented, and I recommend giving it a try. A great meal, and a fun project.

Happy New Year to everyone. Thank you for reading this blog and for showing so much support of my butchering and slow-food protein adventures. —   David


Tamworth project: part 2

December 18, 2010

This post is a continuation of the last one, which described some of the receiving and butchering process of a half (102 lb)  of a Tamworth pig. Here’s the rest of the process turning great meat into great sausage.

Below is 23.2 kg (51 lbs) of partially frozen meat ready for the grinder. The grinding blade and tray have been in the freezer for a while so they’re very cold too.

Grinding begins….and nine minutes later, I have a 51 lb bowl of ground pork. The grinder is a 1.5 hp  monster. Do not wear a neck tie or long scarf when operating this thing!

The plastic wrap is taped to the grinder to control any splattering when the meat is working through the gears. It is a simple trick, but I went for many years cleaning splattered meat from the walls before learning about this.

There is about 20% fat in this bowl of meat.

Below, the ground meat has been weighed and separated into 2 kg piles. This makes it easy to do the math and measure ingredients without wondering how much meat I have to work with.

Spices are prepared for different types of sausages.

My hands were a bit messy while mixing the meat with spices, so there are no pictures of that process. Hopefully you can imagine pretty accurately what meat mixing looks like.

Below , pork in the food processor is being turned into a very smooth emulsion (paste) to be used in hot dogs and a separate emulsion for mortadella.

…and here are the hot dogs.

Bratwurst ready for tailgating at any Big Ten football game. Except these taste better than anything found in central Illinois. Where’s the bucket of  Old Style to go along with these?

Final results of my work. This collection started out with102 pounds of pig. The only waste I ended up discarding was about a cup of dirty fat and a few glands that didn’t belong in anyone’s food. Other than that, we have soup bones, rendered lard, pate, bacon,  and a bunch of sausages.

Not a bad collection of food to pick from over the next few months.

Tamworth Pig

December 13, 2010

With just a few weeks left in 2010, it is time to take stock of my world of meat.

Herschel the prosciutto is 14 months old and looking good. Firm to the touch, sweet-smelling, and no sign of troublesome molds, bugs, or other unwanted natural intruders.

Construction on the kitchen (meat processing facility) is complete and it is a great setup. Yes, it is small (180 square feet), but it allows me to do all the butchering, sausage making, and food prep that I can handle.

The goal of building this space, getting the USDA’s approval of my work, and selling artisan meats is becoming very real. With just a few more tasks to document and complete, I hope to be working under USDA inspection with approved legal sausage for sale soon. The transition from librarian to sausage-hobbiest to artisan meat business is very real. Once I’m up and running, of course I’ll announce it here.

Below is my latest project in the new kitchen. A friend of mine was co-owner of a Tamworth pig that was raised just north of Seattle. The animal was slaughtered two days ago. I now get to take 100lb (half the animal) of this beautiful meat and turn it into sausage, bacon, a few other meaty meals for his family.

Below is the 100lb Tamworth pig I just got. 44lb of belly, 31lb shoulder, 26lb leg, and enough offal for everyone subscribed to this blog.

Below is a reminder of the tight quarters (my home-kitchen) I used in March 2010 to do a similar project. As much as I tried to convince myself, this is not work that can easily be done in a residential kitchen. My commercial workspace is certainly not huge, but the difference is pretty obvious.

Here’s the 44lb mid-section of the pig.

Below: that’s all from the same mid-section shown above. The belly on the right will be bacon.

I’m getting used to monitoring temperatures every hour as I work. As long as the meat temperature doesn’t ever exceed 41 degrees, things are safe. The belly was 36.1 degrees F at the start of this small project. And below, you can see that it is 37.3 degrees F when I put it into the cooler. We’re safe!

All the meat is in the cooler until I’m ready to process the rest of the pork.

And on a very different note….

If anyone knows how to knit well, let me know. I want one of these!