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Butchering and meat prep questions  RSS feed

 
Brent Jacobson
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I am new to the permaculture community but am obsessed with it.  Someday winter will be over up her in MN!  Until then, if anyone in here has questions about butchering animals or meat preparations in general I actually went to butcher school and would love to help!  This class does not exist anymore by the way.  shame
 
Leila Rich
steward
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Location: Wellington, New Zealand. Temperate, coastal, sandy, windy,
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Welcome! You'll be a valued member of this rather international community. I've got loads of butchering questions, but I'll start with my upcoming project...
Have you made salami? If not, someone else might chime in.
It's autumn here and I hope to finally make traditional fermented salami, with no nitrates etc.
Industrial food-safety malarky aside, are there any issues, aside from it being a bit of a pain, that I should be aware of?
I'm more relaxed about food-safety than the average  'conventional' consumer, and as far as I know no one in NZs got sick, let alone died, from eating home-made salami from well-raised animals.
I can get loads of beef/fat, but there's no pigs in the area, so I'd love to make a pure beef salami.
There's plenty of beef salami recipes on the net, but they all look pretty dodgy. Have you made a good one without pork?
I also just realised this might fit better in 'cooking and food preservation'.
 
Brent Jacobson
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I have no experience in fermented salami.  The class I took was more interested in nitrates .  However I would not be too frightened of an all beef salami that isn't cooked.  Do your recipes call for it to be smoked? It might be a good idea to bring it up to 160 degrees just to be safe.  This more depends on the way the animal is butchered.  If you are doing the butchering yourself I would feel more comfortable. This topic has peaked my interest as it seems to be a more sustainable practice than the chemical curing most are used to.  I bet it tastes way better also! Hopefully someone with more experience in this will reply also!
 
Jami McBride
gardener
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Location: PNW Oregon
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Leila - you may want to look into the River Cottage Meat book or the videos of the River Cottage, Return to River Cottage and Beyond River Cottage on-line -
http://www.factualtv.com/search/River%20Cottage%20Road%20Trip/2
I believe Hugh does a salami, and in the videos he does not use preservatives, but a more natural old world approach.


Glockman - Welcome...... so glad to have you at permies.
I'd love to talk with you about a bit different topic.  I'll PM you later today.
 
ronie dee
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Location: NW MO
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I have been making a lean sausage for 20 years (trying to cut down some of the fat in sausage).

I use lean ground beef and then season with sage, savory, cayenne, smoke flavor, salt pepper.
I have no exact recipe - just add a bit of this and dash of that..

The original recipe (that is long ago lost) called for majoram, but i ran out and never bought any more - not sure that
it adds anything.  The sage and savory seem to be the main herbs.

If you had a more precise recipe for - say - a pound of
beef and tsp or this and tsp of that - I'd like to know. Thanks.
 
                                    
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Hello there!

I had a question about the cut that has been identified to me as the:

Pork Collar
and
Cottage Roast

It is used to make Coppa and is at the top of the shoulder joint is my understanding.  It may be that the cut is the boneless top of what is called the Boston Butt?  I bought one today and had the butcher trim out a 5 pound joint off the shoulder bone in a Boston Butt...

Frankly, I am not sure that I bought the right thing, but I am going to give it a go at curing it anyway!  Any help you can give to identify this cut would be greatly appreciated - U.S. terms for it seem to be so very genericized down to "Pork Shoulder" or "Boston Butt" with no notion of what cuts might be withing those larger cuts...

Thanks! 
 
                          
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I've got a question:

When I've done a pig, I kill, hang, scrub, and then peel it like a banana as best I can.  Doing pig, I clean the outside before getting to the inside.

Doing a sheep, I've killed, hung, and then proceeded to skin, which risks getting dirty outside on the inside.  Any hints on clean technique?  I don't have clippers to shave the critter first.  I don't know if any sort of scalding and de-hairing like a pig would help.  I'd just like a good way to clean the outside first without making a worse mess.

Dan
 
            
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Location: California
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To my knowledge, sheep generally aren't shorn prior to butchering (if the wool is to be harvested it's done while the animal is still alive). They're hung by the rear legs and the head removed, then the skin worked free of the carcass by way of "sleeving" it off; the rear hocks are ringed where they meet the abdomen to detatch the main body of the pelt from the leg skin, and then it's worked downward by applying pressure between the skin and muscle with your fist. The nature of the process prevents the fleece from contaminating the meat, as it's "rolled" inside out, over itself like a sock until it's pulled over the forehocks and neck and separated from the carcass. Not sure how it's done in industrial abattoirs; the account I've just given is the traditional method. I imagine they've now sorted it out so that it can be done more "efficiently", with some combination of bleach, flamethrowers, and chainsaws.
 
                          
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Bleach, flamethrower, chainsaw.  Check, check, check...  And I know who's next in line.

These are Katahdin sheep, so the pelt has no fiber value.  But that's more or less how I've been doing it.  I was looking for something better.

Dan
 
            
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Location: California
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If the thought of contamination nerves you out so badly you can't stand it, it seems logical that you could employ any of the methods mentioned (scalding/disinfecting the carcass, shearing or incinerating the fleece.. or any combination thereof), but I'm confused as to your concerns. Meat is still prepared this way in local abattoirs around the world and sold at commercial market; i.e., they fall under the same regulations and are held to the same standards of cleanliness (which they more often than not surpass) as industrially processed meat. If done properly it should be free of any excess contamination and perfectly safe to eat.
 
Lee Einer
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FWIW, nitrates in have been used in meat curing since the days of ancient Rome, so when we talk about traditional curing methods being without nitrates, we are talking really, really old school, like maybe 3,000 year old school.  Plenty of traditional curing methods incorporate nitrates.

Nitrates improve both flavor and appearance, and as a bonus discourage botulism. They only produce the dreaded nitrosomines under two circumstances - when the nitrate is still present in significant amounts (it tends to disappear when meat is dry-cured and aged, mostly present with modern commercial quick-and-dirty wet-curing) and when the meat is then cooked at very high temperatures. No worries from salami on either count.

Salami, these days, is innoculated with fermenting agents that you can purchase from a commercial supplier. Fermento, arguably the most popular, is rumored to be nothing mroe than dried buttermilk.
 
Jami McBride
gardener
Posts: 1948
Location: PNW Oregon
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LasVegasLee wrote:
FWIW, nitrates in have been used in meat curing since the days of ancient Rome, so when we talk about traditional curing methods being without nitrates, we are talking really, really old school, like maybe 3,000 year old school.  Plenty of traditional curing methods incorporate nitrates.

Salami, these days, is innoculated with fermenting agents that you can purchase from a commercial supplier. Fermento, arguably the most popular, is rumored to be nothing mroe than dried buttermilk.


So where did the ancient Romans get their nitrates?  I wouldn't think these would be equal to what are used today.  Do you have any links for this nitrate info?

Thanks for the buttermilk tip!
 
Lee Einer
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Jami McBride wrote:
So where did the ancient Romans get their nitrates?  I wouldn't think these would be equal to what are used today.  Do you have any links for this nitrate info?

Thanks for the buttermilk tip!



As far back as the days  of Homer, Greeks and Romans used salt which had naturally occuring nitrate, and they documented the way it colored the meat pink -

http://oishiide.su/?p=432

Saltpetre also has been (and still is) used as a natural source of nitrate for curing meats.
 
Jami McBride
gardener
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Location: PNW Oregon
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I knew about salt, but the way I read it, it sounded like you were referring to something else 

Thanks for the link.
 
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