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Does anyone else enjoy doing their own "butchery" ?
Old 08-21-2012, 10:07 AM   #1
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Does anyone else enjoy doing their own "butchery" ?

Had a fun LBYM moment last night and thought: hmmm... I wonder if anyone else enjoys this ?

We (the DW and I) live a sort of low carby/paleo-y/meat lovery lifestyle and try to find ways to keep the food budget low (not easy, she's a foodie). Anyway, one of things we do is buy bone-in or whole cuts/sides of meat and I do my own butchery (deboning, fileting, deskinning, etc..) Doing this means we can buy chicken that is often half the price of boneless/skinless, etc. because obviously a lot of the cost of meat is tied up in the labour of the butchery, packaging, etc..

So, I was deboning/deskinning 4 packs of chicken halves last night that we bought on sale. Some for freezing and some for our low carb Mexican Melt that we enjoyed last night. I enjoy the work (I worked for a short time in an abattoir when I was a teenager) and find it is quite meditative after a while (trying to get the most economical/efficient cuts each time) not to mention cost saving. It also doesn't hurt to remind ourselves that good food is worth physically working for sometimes.

So, anyone else enjoy doing there own butchery ? I would expect the hunters on the forum probably do a lot of more of it than me and probably from snout to hooves (I don't get a lot of chance for that living in the city these days !)
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Old 08-21-2012, 10:12 AM   #2
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I've never done it, but it is something I'd like to learn how to do. I don't own a single really good sharp knife, though. Have you ever considered learning the really fancy stuff, like the amazing deboning method that the Cajun grocer I sometimes buy from uses--called ballottine, I think. It leaves the whole chicken intact, for stuffing with other meats.
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Old 08-21-2012, 10:14 AM   #3
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No, I don't do my own butchery.

Did have an offer once from my sister and brother in-saw asking "Hey, do you want to go in on a cow?" That surely would be a way to buy in bulk, but I declined.

I do buy in bulk sometimes for good deals (pork chops, ground beef, ribs etc.) and then fire up my old Foodsaver to vacuum pack them before freezing.
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Old 08-21-2012, 10:22 AM   #4
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I would not say that I enjoy it, but I have no problem doing it. When I had a large freezer, I used to buy meat in large pieces, butcher them, vacuum pack individual portions with a food saver, and freeze them for later use.
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Old 08-21-2012, 10:27 AM   #5
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My wife does not mind getting whole chicken, then part them out, as this is more economical. But doing more work than that, no, we don't wanna.

And buying a half-side of beef, I have recently persuaded my wife to stop buying meats, so that we get a chance to work through the mysterious frozen packages in our two refrigerators. After more than 1 month, I am finally able to open the door to get ice cream without some packages avalanching out. No, no bulk meat.
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Old 08-21-2012, 11:23 AM   #6
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I thought you meant actually gutting and cleaning. I usually get whole chickens on sale and cut it up.

I still remember going to my aunts for Sunday dinner. She had to go to the chicken house and catch one, wring its neck, pluck it and wash it before you ever got to cutting and cooking it.
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Old 08-21-2012, 12:31 PM   #7
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To complete some testing for one of my jobs, I needed some bovine mesentery. I went to a little local butcher to get some. It was out in the FL boonies near Zephyrhills and people brought their live cows to him to kill and process.

There was an open concrete room/area outside (shaded but open to the FL heat, quite the smell) where the cows were shot, strung up and gutted (or whatever the technical term is for removing the stuff inside before putting the carcass in the cooler). The next victim was in a pen within earshot and viewing distance of the one being processed. You could just feel that the live ones knew they were in grave danger. I don't know how else to describe it other than a feeling of total despair in the air.

The knives the guy used were incredibly sharp. I haven't been a meat eater (seafood only) since 1986 (well before this visit) and I wondered if more people would be non-meat eaters if they had to participate in the early stages of the process!
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Old 08-21-2012, 03:22 PM   #8
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I finally got around to taking the knife skills classes at a local cooking school. The first one focused on vegetables and fruits, and I definitely find the skills make prepping food for dinner much more enjoyable (not to mention my food looks much better). The second one involved cutting up a chicken into parts and skinning it (not boning out the parts) and filleting a whole fish. I've done both a few times since then, but it's not the normal way I buy/cook those products. I will do it when I'm low on frozen homemade chicken or fish stock so I can use the bones, etc., to make new stocks - no comparison to the boxed or canned variety.
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Old 08-21-2012, 11:12 PM   #9
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Same here.
Quote:
Originally Posted by easysurfer View Post
No, I don't do my own butchery.
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Old 08-21-2012, 11:13 PM   #10
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I'm quite good at butchering the returns of my portfolio, does that count?
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Old 08-22-2012, 08:58 AM   #11
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For the record...I do not do guts of any type.

I buy my chicken at Aldi's in 5 lb bags. It is already cut up and frozen individually before packaging. Chicken wings, boneless breast and chicken leg quarters are sold at the best price I can find elsewhere locally.
If I see or hear about a good deal on whole chicken, I cook it whole in my crockpot and divvy up the meat into ziploc freezer bags for future use.
We will periodically buy a 8-10 lb pork or beef roast (unfrozen) from the vendor who services a local Legion, to help them meet the minimum order threshold for delivery. Mr B carves it up into 1-2 lb portions and we both do the FoodSaver packaging task.
We will periodically sign up for the free BJ's trial membership and go for a trip to get some meat in bulk. I find their fresh meat prices are not that competitive with Aldi's or the "specials" at the local mom-n-pop butcher shop.
Mr B scans the newspaper grocery store flyers for sales while he has coffee with the Legion guys in the morning. They do the same "research" and tell each other about the best local deals.
We also get a lot of unused meat given to us when we do volunteer cooking. I make it my personal task to keep the uncooked meat cold and the cooked meat hot, so no issues with food safety.
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Old 08-22-2012, 09:09 AM   #12
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Yep, I like cutting things up, and I have the proper selection of knives. Some to the knives a quite scary! I usually buy a whole side of salmon if I can, and then cut pieces. Occasionally buy whole fish to bake.

Whole birds are good with me especially as Costco sells pairs of organic whole chickens at a good price.

I am always eyeing the whole tenderloins and other large cuts at Costco, but I simply don't have the freezer space!!! Otherwise I would definitely cut my own steaks.

I HATE cutting the gills out of fish heads, but sometimes I like to bake whole fish, or I use fish heads to make a delicious fish stock (I can occasionally get huge red snapper fish heads cheap).
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Old 08-22-2012, 09:15 AM   #13
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For a while there I was doing my own butterflied leg of lamb from bone-in leg of lamb. Butterflied leg of lamb is very nice/easy to grill. I had to watch an Australian video to figure out how to do it. My husband couldn't understand a word they said, LOL!

But then Costco came to town and has a great deal on already butterflied leg of lamb (imported) so haven't done it in a while.
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Old 08-22-2012, 12:14 PM   #14
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We take the time to do several things to save on the meat portion of our grocery bill, but have not gone in on a side of a cow for a long time. We do things like -

Buying whole chicken and either cooking it whole and vacuum freezing the parts or cut it up in parts and freezing the pieces for later (some deboned and some not).

We also buy large hams and have the butcher slice off about half of it for breakfast steaks and use the rest as a smaller ham. We also do the same with large roasts and other cuts of meat (including salmon) (there is no charge in our area for this service).
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Old 08-22-2012, 12:25 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by Sarah in SC View Post
the amazing deboning method that the Cajun grocer I sometimes buy from uses--called ballottine, I think. It leaves the whole chicken intact, for stuffing with other meats.
About once every two years I have a Crawfest at my house, i fly up crawfish from New Orleans, and of course also serve a Turducken, It is a de-boned Chicken filled with stuffing, then stuffed into a de-boned duck and then stuffed into a de-boned turkey! And boy is it good!
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Old 08-22-2012, 12:52 PM   #16
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I wondered if more people would be non-meat eaters if they had to participate in the early stages of the process!
I often wonder this too. I personally grew up never seeing anything butchered and have made the joke before that if I had to kill and butcher my own animals I'd probably become a vegetarian. I think upbringing would have a lot to do with the answer.
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Old 08-22-2012, 12:57 PM   #17
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I personally grew up never seeing anything butchered and have made the joke before that if I had to kill and butcher my own animals I'd probably become a vegetarian
I used to say that people should not be allowed to eat something they would not kill themselves.

But the again, I also used to say that if bacon grew on trees I would be a vegetarian!
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Old 08-22-2012, 12:59 PM   #18
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About once every two years I have a Crawfest at my house, i fly up crawfish from New Orleans, and of course also serve a Turducken, It is a de-boned Chicken filled with stuffing, then stuffed into a de-boned duck and then stuffed into a de-boned turkey! And boy is it good!
Yum! You should also get some boudan, the spicy sausage stuffed with meat, rice, and spices! It is one of my favorites from the local Cajun grocer. Just grill it. You cut the end off and eat the inside of the sausage, not the casing--something I had to explain to DH!
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Old 08-22-2012, 01:57 PM   #19
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I used to say that people should not be allowed to eat something they would not kill themselves.

But the again, I also used to say that if bacon grew on trees I would be a vegetarian!
I don't eat it but I love the smell of it cooking.
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Old 08-22-2012, 02:03 PM   #20
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Yum! You should also get some boudan, the spicy sausage stuffed with meat, rice, and spices! It is one of my favorites from the local Cajun grocer. Just grill it. You cut the end off and eat the inside of the sausage, not the casing--something I had to explain to DH!
Sounds tasty. Do they export to foreign locations, like Chicago?

As for explaining, not sure why the facepalm - unless you had to explain more than once...
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