Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Into The Freezer For Freezer 1

Things have been busy here, really busy.  I had my work Christmas Party, we had a birthday lunch a few days in Brisbane catching up with friends and the general bustle that is the festive season.
We have also taken the next step in our farming journey and gone through the process of having Freezer 1 (that is the name of one of our cows the other is called Freezer 2.  This way we remember that they are not pets) killed and butchered for our use.

We have had some fun learning to be farmers and dealing with our 2 cows which you can read about here.  But for the most part they ate the grass in the paddock and other than making sure they had grass, hay, water and mineral supplements we have not done anything else to interfere with them being cows.  They were cows and we watched them being cows.

Before you read further I will warn you that there are photos of a dead cow (it is a distance photo so not gory) and the carcass as it was processed.  I will also be talking about the process.  If this is not for you pop back tomorrow for the last installment of A Home Made Christmas.

Freezer 1 spent the morning eating grass and doing what cows do.  This was what she was doing when she died.  She did not even get up.  The guy who did our home kill shot her from his car so she had no stress before she died.  If we had sent her away to be processed she would have been rounded into a pen. loaded on a truck, driven to an abattoir, unloaded with other animals and sent into a noisy factory to meet her fate.  For us having it all done at home was the best option.
Her last morning spent eating grass.
Once she was dead the butcher proceeded to remove the feet and hide.  We decided not to keep the hide as we were not sure we had the time or inclination to process it, or if we would be able to take it to NZ when we move.
Freezer 1 upside down feet removed and the butcher beginning to
remove the hide.
Once the hide had been removed from the belly and legs the carcass was strung up and hoisted into the air.  At this stage the hide was pulled off the carcass entirely and the head and innards were removed.  We we were left with what your local butcher would buy in to cut into all the different cuts of meat you see in the shop.  I also requested the tongue and the inner and outer cheeks before the head was discarded.  I am not sure about tongue but I am sure there are some good recipes out there.  If you have one let me know.
 The carcass was divided in half and then into quarters and then hung in the cool room that the butcher left with us for 5 days.
Cut in half
Hoisting them higher so they can be
swung into the back of the cool room.
In go the 4 pieces
 Freezer 1 weighed in at 232 kg which is the dressed carcass as you see above.

Five days later the butcher cam back to cut it into all of the portions we wanted.  As he cut it up I took it inside and used our cryovac machine to pack it all and put it in the freezer.  We asked to keep all of the bones and kept a lot for our selves for Jessie and to make stock with, and we gave some to our neighbors.

The butcher charges $1.75 kg plus $25 to get rid of the intestines, head and hide.  It is a lot of meat to get through so the family will be getting some too.  The butcher made us our sausages, mince rolled roasts and corned meats all on the spot too so we have a good variety in the freezer.

We have sampled some sausages and steak so far and both were a hit.  Over the Christmas break I want to do a cost comparison to take into account the cost of the cow and any hay purchased etc to see what the real cost is.

Overall we are happy with how things went and are looking forward to some eye fillet over Christmas.


  1. I've been vegetarian for six months now, and I feel the only way I could return to meat is to process it the way you have. At the moment, that's going to be a long way off (lol), but I love the way you had the beast killed at your property, and the corned meat and sausages prepared on site. Thanks for this post.

    1. Glad to hear that it was not too much details for you Ginger. I wanted to be honest about the process but without the gore. I think it is important that people know where their meat comes from

  2. Thank you Fiona. I really enjoyed this post. It's very interesting to hear the details of the cool room being left and the butcher returning etc. Enjoy your meals!

  3. Good post Fiona. I'm glad you dealt with it so well.
    Not sure that we could, have considered it a couple of times though. At the moment I am buying in bulk from a place near Longreach that delivers to Sunshine Coast dropoff. You way is prob a lot cheaper, so will be interested to see your cost. cheers Wendy

  4. I don't know how I missed this post! Fantastic that you finally got to kill the first beast. Its a fascinating process after you get over the dead cow part. You're lucky that your butcher took away the waste, we usually have to dig a hole. And 5 days to hang is excellent for a homekill, we only had 3 days last time and not sure if that was quite long enough. I agree, its much nicer to kill them in the paddock than have them go through the stress of getting to the meatworks. The fun part is working out what to do with all the unusual cuts that you wouldn't normally buy. We give the tongue to the dogs, sorry, I just don't like the texture!


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