Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Beef. It's What's for Dinner.

All winter long.  We decided to butcher Toothless.  He's been wrecking fences and escaping for the past few weeks.  He doesn't wander too far, just looking for longer grass.  But trying to put him away was getting more and more difficult.  He horned two of the boys.  That's it, buddy, you're done.


His chest was 7'4".  Wow.  Length from shoulders to rump, 6'3".  Approximately 1936 pounds.  That's a lot of bull.

We quartered the legs and hung the upper body (minus the head) whole.  I don't usually cut into the heads, but this year I took the cheeks and what I could get from the upper neck before giving the rest to the dogs.  The cheeks were almost three pounds each.

I cut the belly and fat out while Husband and the boys were still hanging the legs.  Temps are still a bit warm, so we won't be hanging him as long as previous years.  The belly, with the fat removed, makes nice jerky.  The thicker parts were cut for stew, and the fattier bits for ground.

 Cut into strips for jerky.  9 pounds.

 After soaking in the brine overnight, they're now drying in the oven.  It'll take a couple of days to get it all dried.  Recipe #1.
I went out to trim more fat today (day 3) and found one of the legs lying on the floor.  The cable had snapped.  I couldn't lift it by myself, so I cut off the majority of the rump roast.  I just managed to lift the rest of it up onto a stool.  Husband and the boys will have to hang it back up when they get home tonight.

In the meantime, I'm cutting roasts today.


  1. I understand you can hang meat when it is very cold, but how can you hang meat when it is warming? Does that mean I can store a roast on the counter this winter? Will another bull be so cantankerous? I imagine since he used his horns on the boys, he will want to try it again. That is scary. Wouldn't it be easier to just take your cows to visit a boy cow?

    1. Well, I don't know how warm your kitchen counter is in the winter, and, as always, my blog is a journal of my life, not a how to for living yours. ;)

      I said it's still a bit warm, not warming. Our current forecast gives a high for the week of 11°C and a low of -2°C. We usually wait until the overnight temperatures are consistently in the -5° to -10° range, but we've got some cadet related activity coming up that will probably make us miss the prime weather target. So it was a choice between butchering now, and not hanging as long, or butchering later and trying to keep the meat from freezing. We decided to do it now.

      He was a bull, and quite frankly, we were lucky he remained as mild mannered as he was for as long as he did. I think it was partly his size- he finally got big enough to boss the girls around, partly his age- 4 years old, and partly due to the bull calves this year- too much testosterone in the pasture.

      We are debating what to do about next year- to buy a bull calf now and take our chances through the winter, or to buy a yearling bull next year and butcher him after breeding season like we did with Steaks. We wouldn't keep a yearling as long as a bottle calf, due to their wild nature when we get them.

      It is possible to rent a bull for breeding season at a reasonable price, however, they tend to be much larger (more dangerous) bulls, and if they break out and hurt someone or themselves we'd be liable for damages. Then there's also the risk of venereal disease for my girls.

      Taking the girls to a bull is unfeasible- the whole herd would have to go, all cows and calves, since the calves would still be nursing, if I could find someone who would agree to that in the first place. And then there's the risk of all sorts of disease- cows have pretty crappy immune systems, not to mention I wouldn't know what was going on in my herd.

    2. A glass of water will freeze into ice some days. A glass of ice left on the counter will never thaw most days! But, I won't really leave a roast on the counter overnight. There are days in the winter that I will leave meat on the counter longer than the rest of the year.

      Now, I know more about breeding. I thought it was just about getting them in the same place and the boy and girl cows getting it on.

  2. Ah Toothless you look so tasty..do not tell Dee I said that lol
    Hope you had a good Thanksgiving looks like it was busy.

    1. Lol- I won't tell. I'll facebook you my Thanksgiving story.