Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Butcher and Baker...

So, my Thanksgiving break has started off in full swing, which is why I am writing a post at 11:20 at night.  I was thinking about what to write about tonight as I made pumpkin pies, boiled eggs, concocted  an experimental dip, and baked sweet potatoes.  I was thinking it was probably time for a thankful post, since I haven't officially done one yet this month.  But I have so much to be thankful for, I don't really know where to start, and that post would be all sappy and boring. 

My plan tonight was to JUST prep for Thanksgiving, but then my wonderful hunter husband reminded me that we had two deer hanging in the garage that needed cut and wrapped.  While he cut up the deer (and his finger (really BAD... almost think he will need stitches, but he won't go)), I did the aforementioned baking.  Then I got to wash all the meat.  I like to do that part, because I get it really clean. 

Now, when we started this whole "home butchering" shenanigans, I didn't like any of it.  We also didn't really know what we were doing and we had some funky cuts of meat going on.  And we had a Walmart special grinder that took an hour to grind five pounds of meat.  Now we have it almost down to an art.  So much so, in fact, that we cut and wrap for friends or family sometimes. 

We had originally planned to get it all done in one shot, cutting, wrapping, grinding burger, everything... well, Jason was wiped out from a training he did today and just sounded beat up.  He also has to get up at 4 a.m. for work tomorrow.  So he wussed out and went to bed, apologizing as he walked down the hall.  There was no way I was going to finish everything by myself tonight, so we put most of the meat in plastic bags in the big igloo cooler until tomorrow... but I wanted to get the steaks and backstrap that he had already cut off of his little brother's deer wrapped up for them. So I stayed up to get that done. 

Here is some of what I did...  I am sparing everyone pictures of the deer carcasses hanging in the garage or Jason's nasty cut.  Those are just gross.

Almost done!!  Finally!
I am kind of a sanitation freak when it comes to my kitchen being used as a butcher shop.  To avoid me shuddering and spraying and scrubbing the island three or four times with Clorox and Simple Green and whatever else I can find, Jason's solution was to wrap the island in saran wrap.  Wasteful, I know... but I love it.  Clean up is a breeze, and I only scrub the island once. 

Sweet potato box from Costco is perfect to hold it all.

Totally out of freezer paper... with a whole other deer in the cooler... uh oh.
We might be using our vaccum sealer for our steaks and backstrap tomorrow. 

Got a little too creative and helpful with my labeling. I hope they don't mind me telling them what to have for dinner!
I can tell by the way Jason cut the steaks and backstrap that he was tired and his finger was probably bothering him being wrapped up so tight.  When we butchered the bison he got in Montana 3 years ago, I was pregnant with Leilee.  Worst thing ever, feeling sick and wrapping meat. Especially a bison... they are HUGE! But that's when he got out the butchering book and taught himself all the cuts.  Since then, we have been able to label even our deer meat by the type of cut.  These deer, however, weren't as clean cut.  I figured since I knew what I was wrapping, I would give J and K hints about what to do with the really odd shaped cuts of meat.  It was kind of fun. 

As a side note, I am thankful that Jason got a deer this year.  This was his last hunt, and he had been skunked by everything else.  We have never wanted for food, and I wasn't worried that God wouldn't provide, but it was a little stressful to think that we would have to buy all of our meat after we ran out of what little deer was left in the freezer from last year.  So, I won't complain a bit about staying up late and having to clean and cut and wrap and clean again!  I am also thankful that we can do all that work ourselves.  It saves us a small fortune in butcher costs, and we know exactly what we are eating.  And we pass the love onto his little bother... I mean brother... by processing his deer too.  Maybe next year, I will write full recipes on the package.

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