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Nose to Tail Cooking

 
garden master
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Today, I was present at a harvest of one of Eric's cows, because I want to do nose-to-tail cooking while I am gardening and renovating in Longview, WA.

I gathered up pots, pans, and bags for the harvest. We went out to the field and rounded up the cattle.



I watched the cow that was chosen to be harvested get butchered. I thought it was pretty neat!





Right after the cow was shot and its neck split open, I collected the blood in two big shallow pans so that. Throughout the butchering, I was there with plastic bags to collect the offal as the professional butchers took the organs out of the cow. The offal and more that was collected was the kidney, liver, spleen, lungs, heart, tripe, blood, head, feet, and one stomach lining. I didn't take any pictures after we started loading the offal and blood into the truck, because it was all pretty rushed to make sure everything stayed good and got to the freezers in time.



The blood was my first priority, because I had not prepared a chest of ice for transport. To start off my foray into nose-to-tail cooking, I made black pudding (blood pudding) based off of this black pudding recipe by David Bowers, but I did it with cattle blood instead. I had to make substitutions and omissions in the recipe to make do with what was available immediately in the pantry for the recipe. I had about twenty four cups of blood, so I ended up making the recipe eight times larger than it stated it. I split the making of the eight times larger recipe into two batches of four times larger. I had to omit milk, since it wasn't available. I didn't have animal fat, so I used butter and olive oil for the first batch. Then, for the second batch I used ham stock instead of animal fat. I didn't have the spices listed, so I substituted with fresh sage, rosemary, and thyme. The first batch had oats, but I ran out of oats and instead used rice in the second batch. I didn't take any pictures during this process, because I felt time-pressured to get this made ASAP, because the blood was already halfway congealed. I had to smash up the congealed blood to make it happen. Here are some pictures of my cleanup and the resulting black pudding I made.





After I had set the black pudding, I tried my hand at skinning and butchering the cow head. It took me an hour to just get a little bit of meat off of one of the cheeks. The head, feet, lungs, and stomach lining will probably go back out for the coyotes to eat, because I was making too slow progress on the head that by the time I would have finished, I don't think it would have been good to eat. For reference, the head, feet, and lungs (because of their size) are in a much larger old freezer that kinda works and kinda doesn't, because the power strip's breaker keeps tripping. The rest of the offal collected had made it safely into a better freezer that works awesome! So, I still have a spleen, kidney, tripe, heart, and liver to cook with.

I sampled a little of each of my black pudding pans from each batch. Due to the way things poured out, each pan was a bit different from the other. I had made sure to split the stuff in the top of my mixing bowl with the stuff on the bottom of my mixing as evenly as I could. Overall, it ended tasting good in all of my pans, perhaps a little bland though. I think I could have added a lot more herbs than I did. It did come out just like pudding. It had gelled up quite nicely. The first batch (with oats) had a more jello/pudding-like consistency than the second batch (with rice). The second batch (with rice) had a texture I would describe more of as kinda stiff rice pudding.

Huzzah! I got lots of leftover black pudding that I will be putting in the freezer to eat over the next couple of weeks (because I made a lot of it)! And speaking of which, how do people like to eat their black pudding as leftovers? What ways of recooking it do you enjoy?

I am thinking I will probably want to read The Complete Nose-to-Tail by Fergus Henderson to get a better idea of all the possibilities that I will have for cooking with an entire animal and so I can be better prepared next time.

What recipes would you recommend to me for the offal I currently have to cook with (for a low budget and resources kitchen)? (just about cattle)
What kind of nose-to-tail cooking do you all do? (any type of animal)
What are some of your favorite nose-to-tail websites, YouTube Channels, videos, books, and recipes? (any type of animal)

EDIT: I did forgot to mention that we did take the tail and tongue, too.
 
gardener
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I like to make a stew similar to this with beef heart or pork heart: http://kristensraw.com/blog/2013/08/17/recipe-beef-n-bison-heart-stew-paleo-slow-cooker/

It tastes very similar to muscle meats, and cutting it up finely or mincing helps in case the texture is tough.

Kidney is good chopped up, marinated in lots of garlic and cumin and quickly sautéd. There are also traditional steak and kidney pies and puddings.

With many organ meats there are tough white bits that are best removed before cooking.

I find the taste of beef liver to be a bit strong, but my husband loved a pâté I made with it. I've also made this before, which was tasty but only used a tiny amount of liver: https://nourishedkitchen.com/potatoes-with-bacon-and-liver/

I've heard that soaking organ meats in milk can improve them.

The feet are supposed to be a good addition to bone broth.

The cheeks are a good slow cooking cut.

The bones are really healthy. I like to have the leg bones sliced up, I roast them and spread the marrow on toast or add to stews. Other bones get roasted to add more flavour, then water added to cover them in a pot, simmered for a day or two to make a great beef stock.
 
pollinator
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Black pudding here or in the UK is never served "fresh" it is pretty solid once cooked and can be sliced and fried, I also find it works well crumbled into fried rice at the end of cooking, or cut up into small cubes and thrown into soup just before serving. how well did butter work? as the fat that is normaly in the recipe is in solid pieces and does NOT mix with the recipe when cooked it stays in little chunks. (I'm sure some comes out but not like butter would) In The UK black pudding is savory and served normally at breakfast whereas in Denmark it is sweet, the pudding contains currents and sugar and you fry it and then serve it with syrup.

I think you may have been over worrying about getting things cold quickly enough, you have a good 24 hours to get things sorted (unless you are in a furnace of course)

Beef heart is great, take thick slices fry them fast until pink (overcooked they will be tough!) and serve with your favorite steak sauce, or use them as any stew cut.

Beef liver is huge as I am sure you found out! Use it in pate mixed with good fat pork to mitigate the taste some.

Lungs, you could make a beef haggis? you have all the ingredients and it doesn't have to be made in a stomach you can use a bread tin inside a larger tin of water in the oven.

And I hope you got the tail best meat on the animal, it makes the most amazing stew.

Look for tongue recipes as a lunch meat, you salt the tongue and then boil it for ever, press it and then slice.
 
Kate Downham
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I saw a recipe for black pudding Scotch eggs in one of the River Cottage books.

I didn't know there was a sweet Danish version of it, I will have to try that next time. I made English and Spanish styles last time and they were both good. There are some Spanish peasant dishes that are a pot of lentils, chickpeas, or beans, with garlic, black pudding, and chorizo, this is a tasty way to serve it other than the usual frying.
 
Kate Downham
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I froze pig blood the last time we killed pigs here. The gourmets say not to do this, and that you have to stand there stirring it all day, but I froze mine and had no problems. Some of it coagulated and had to go to the chickens, but most of it was fine.
 
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Dave, my first cow slaughter will be early September. Rendering lard and bone broth are 2 things i will be interested in doing.

The cow in your picture looked small. Is it young or a miniature breed?
 
Dave Burton
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Thank you Kate and Skandi for the suggestions on cooking!!!

I do not know, Wayne. I would need to ask Eric that question to find out.
 
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Cooking with blood is the one thing I cannot do. For some very odd reason I'm a fainter. I have no idea why. Logically and consciously blood does not bother me at all. Subconsciously I faint.
 
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wayne fajkus wrote:Dave, my first cow slaughter will be early September. Rendering lard and bone broth are 2 things i will be interested in doing.

The cow in your picture looked small. Is it young or a miniature breed?



Be sure to render the suet separately from the rest of the fat! Not because it's bad, blended in (I don't think that's actually the case), but, because there is, in my experience, no better balm for your skin, than tallow (the product I specifically make from rendering suet). I grind it, then render it very slowly, to keep the color pale. After straining, sometimes I'll simply add herbs like lavender, calendula, or rose petals, for making a skin softening, moisturizing, healing balm. If I can find some jewelweed, this summer, I'll make some with that, specifically for poison ivy & oak relief, too. My last batch was a generous haul, from a little less than a pound of suet, and I (froze, then ground to powder, and) added some frankincense resin, and it has healing/soothing properties that I've found near miraculous, for my (pale, insanely sensitive, easily-scarred, allergic-to-seemingly-everything) skin.

Makes for good, long lasting candles, too!

Edited for spelling, and to arrest the comma gremlins!
 
Dave Burton
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So far, I have been simply refrying some of my first batch of black pudding (which is more oily and buttery) and making breakfast tacos out it. I also fry the tortillas in the oil given off of the black pudding. These have been delicious!

Today, I decided to make something a little more involved. I saw this list of Things to do With (Estonian) Black Pudding and decided to make my own version of the Black Pudding Chips.

I sliced the black pudding kind of like french fries, and I sprinkled them with apple cider vinegar, olive oil, onion powder, paprika, and cumin. I cooked the black pudding chips for about twenty minutes on each side at 232-ish degrees Fahrenheit.



They turned out delicious!!!
 
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For some illogical reason I don't like to mess with animal heads.  Everything else is just meat or offal, but I've always shied away from getting the meat off of the heads.

Now that I think about it though, there is a lot of nutrition in a cows head, even if half the weight is bone.  Couldn't you skin the head and just make a head cheese (cook it covered in water until you can pick the clean bones out).  Of course, the overlooked problem is that a cows head is HUGE to fit into a normal pot.  Once the bones are out, let it cool and run it through the grinder.  Add what spices you want, probably while it's cooking.  I add onions, salt, pepper and garlic to almost everything.  For beef I also add quite a bit of soy sauce and some worcestershire and let them cook in for several hours.  It makes it 'beefier'.  It would make a good sandwich spread I think, or a base to add to other dishes or soups.

You might just take a bone saw (hack saw will work, especially with a blade meant for non ferrous metels) and cut the head into piecese so you can get it into a couple of pots.  

It might even be a good place to put some of that really  tough neck meat.  

Save the bones for bone broth.

 
Dave Burton
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Well, the freezer I'm storing the cow's head, feet, and lungs in is no longer misbehaving, so, I think it's still probable I could do something with them.

I think I could skin the cow head and make a head cheese, but I'm currently stuck on the skinning part. How could I skin the cow's head easier?
I would like to get more of the meat off the cow's head, and I would like to get access to the brains for cooking and eating those. I've never had brains before, and I would very much like to cook some myself. At the moment, the best idea I have right now is to saw the head open. Is that the best way to do this?

I'm planning to save the bones for broth.

I decided to make a simple cabbage wrap for the black pudding, and I think it turned out well. I fried the black pudding and then fried the cabbage leaves in the black pudding grease. Then, I added the black pudding onto the leaves, tried to wrap them, and then cooked them a bit more.

 
pollinator
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wayne fajkus wrote:The cow in your picture looked small. Is it young or a miniature breed?



Our herd is Angus and Wagyu and this was half-and-half with hanging weight around 680 lbs.  Maybe the crew around it just look big :)

Most of our slaughter is done in the field with mobile truck.  The crew was very helpful getting the blood saved...
 
gardener
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Blood pudding reminds me of something that was the talk of the whole town here one winter. Four guys had gone in a compact car up to a remote nomadic area near the Tibetan border to buy "half a yak." Up there, the nomads butchered the yak, and the 4 city guys packed it up, and put a bucket of blood in the back for sausages and came back, drinking all the way. When they got to the edge of town, the rammed their car into a parked truck. Local residents heard the crash and came running out. The four guys were clearly badly injured, unable to stand up, and drenched in blood. So people improvised stretchers and took them to the hospital, by which point some of them were unconscious. The doctors carefully wiped away the blood, expecting to find terrible wounds, but gradually they wiped off all the blood and there were no serious wounds. I think one guy had a broken wrist, that's all.

That's my blood pudding story. Thanks for listening!
 
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