Farming forum: Harvested a cow today

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Name: Dave Whitinger
Jacksonville, Texas (Zone 8b)
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dave
Sep 6, 2014 7:32 PM CST

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No pictures but this morning we harvested one of our old "short and solid" cows. Looks like she may have been 1,100 pounds. Huge and loaded with fat and massive hind quarters. It was the largest cow I've ever slaughtered and I'm feeling the pain of a hard day's work. Doing your own beef is hard work but very rewarding!

Here she is last week:

Thumb of 2014-09-07/dave/29d4bb

Name: Porkpal
Richmond, TX
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porkpal
Sep 6, 2014 9:31 PM CST
She certainly is a smooth and solid looking girl! What is her breeding?
Porkpal
Name: Dave Whitinger
Jacksonville, Texas (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Region: Texas Master Gardener: Texas Permaculture Raises cows I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
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dave
Sep 7, 2014 7:00 AM CST

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I don't know her breeding. I picked her up earlier this year from the sale barn. People sell off their old cows for slaughter and I occasionally like to pick up a bargain when I see one. I actually got two of them this year so the other one will be harvested in the early spring, I think.
Name: Margaret
Near Kamloops, BC, Canada (Zone 3a)
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mcash70
Sep 7, 2014 1:05 PM CST
Dave how long do you hang the meat? And it being an old cow, is the meat going to be tough? Not that I plan on buying an old cow to slaughter, just curious. Hilarious!
Name: Neil
London\Kent Border
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NEILMUIR1
Sep 7, 2014 1:17 PM CST
Depending on the breed, we normally hang them for 21 days. Remember fresh red beef is dangerous as it has enzymes in it, that can and will hurt humans. Some like the Suffolk's need longer hanging.
Regards.
Neil.
Name: Margaret
Near Kamloops, BC, Canada (Zone 3a)
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mcash70
Sep 7, 2014 3:11 PM CST
Thanks Neil, I didn't know that about the enzymes in fresh red meat. I tip my hat to you.
Name: Dave Whitinger
Jacksonville, Texas (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Region: Texas Master Gardener: Texas Permaculture Raises cows I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
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dave
Sep 7, 2014 6:19 PM CST

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We usually age for 2 weeks. Sometimes a bit less.
Name: Margaret
Near Kamloops, BC, Canada (Zone 3a)
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mcash70
Sep 7, 2014 6:23 PM CST
How does the meat taste, it being an old cow, how is the flavor, is it tough compared to a young steer???? Shrug!
Name: Dave Whitinger
Jacksonville, Texas (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Region: Texas Master Gardener: Texas Permaculture Raises cows I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
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dave
Sep 7, 2014 7:27 PM CST

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I actually prefer the meat of older cows. They always seem to come out with much higher quality beef, and lots of really high quality fat that we use. At the sale barn the old "short and solids" (this is what they call the ten year old or older cows) always go for the cheapest per pound. I think they are undervalued.
Name: Paul
Utah (Zone 5b)
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Paul2032
Sep 7, 2014 7:37 PM CST
Members of my family ran a grocery store and a butcher shop. The ground beef was made from the trimmings from the steaks and roasts with added lean meat from what we called boneless cow or bull........older beef that wouldn't make good steaks or roasts.. The boneless meat was often used a couple of days after it was chilled and boned....within 3 days of when it was killed. I ate that meat for many years. I have never heard of "dangerous enzymes" in properly refrigerated and correctly cooked fresh meat.
Paul Smith Pleasant Grove, Utah
[Last edited by Paul2032 - Sep 7, 2014 8:06 PM (+)]
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Name: Margaret
Near Kamloops, BC, Canada (Zone 3a)
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mcash70
Sep 7, 2014 8:06 PM CST
Dave, from what you are saying I think that it is too bad that the average consumer is not offered the choice of the old cow at reasonable prices as opposed to the prime steer. Right now the price of beef is out of sight so we have not been buying too much beef.

Paul, thank you for your input, like I said before, I had never heard of the "bad enzyme" in beef before and I have been eating beef for many many many years. Rolling on the floor laughing
Name: Dave Whitinger
Jacksonville, Texas (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Region: Texas Master Gardener: Texas Permaculture Raises cows I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
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dave
Sep 7, 2014 9:17 PM CST

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Yeah we ate some beef tonight. It was alive yesterday morning and we're eating it 36 hours later. I think the aging is only a matter of making it more tender.
Name: tk
murchison texas (Zone 8a)

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texaskitty111
Sep 7, 2014 10:07 PM CST
Dave, did you do all the work yourself? Butchering, skinning, cutting, etc?
Cauliflower is just a cabbage with a college education (mark twain)
Name: Margaret
Near Kamloops, BC, Canada (Zone 3a)
Region: Canadian Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Tip Photographer Garden Ideas: Master Level I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Charter ATP Member
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mcash70
Sep 7, 2014 10:28 PM CST
Doesn't the aging also give it more flavor besides tenderizing the meat? Shrug!
Name: Neil
London\Kent Border
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NEILMUIR1
Sep 7, 2014 10:38 PM CST
I am not sure if this will work in the US. So here goes it. http://gizmodo.com/5866754/the-science-of-taste-or-why-dry-a...
Regards.
Neil.
Name: Dave Whitinger
Jacksonville, Texas (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Region: Texas Master Gardener: Texas Permaculture Raises cows I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
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dave
Sep 8, 2014 7:26 AM CST

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I did it all myself if you include my 4 oldest children. The 5 of us worked together. It took about 4 hours to kill, skin and quarter.
Name: Porkpal
Richmond, TX
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Keeper of Poultry Farmer Roses Raises cows
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porkpal
Sep 8, 2014 7:31 AM CST
Do you use the hide?
Porkpal
Name: tk
murchison texas (Zone 8a)

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texaskitty111
Sep 8, 2014 7:48 AM CST
Did you take a class to learn how to do that?
Cauliflower is just a cabbage with a college education (mark twain)
Name: Rita
North Shore, Long Island, NY
Zone 6B
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Newyorkrita
Sep 8, 2014 11:11 AM CST
I am wondering just how ones learns to do that. I know many hunters learn to skin but I don';t think then you automatically know how to cut the animal up for eating.
Name: Dave Whitinger
Jacksonville, Texas (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Region: Texas Master Gardener: Texas Permaculture Raises cows I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
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dave
Sep 8, 2014 12:05 PM CST

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(Caution - some of the photos below show animals in processing.)

We usually don't mess with the hide but this time I'm going to give it a try. So I was careful and skinned off the hide in one nice piece and I wrapped it and froze it in the freezer. I'll do some research and figure out what I'm doing and thaw it and work it at that point. Maybe sometime in the winter when I have nothing else to do.

How did I learn it? Well, when we moved to Kerrville the deer there were as plentiful as mice and we decided to start harvesting some for venison. I found an outline tutorial on how to skin, clean and butcher the carcass. Took my 30/30 outside and shot a deer and with kitchen knives in hand Trish and I got to work. I was astounded at how intuitive and simple it was and really appreciated the feeling of self-sufficiency and was hooked from then on.

8 years or so ago I bought a full grown hog from a neighbor and he offered to butcher it with me. So he shot the hog and he and I worked together to get it processed. It was nearly identical a process as a deer so my confidence grew.

We did many hogs over the years like that.

So when we started raising cows, it was natural that we'd process them ourselves and sure enough, they are just as easy as a hog or deer, just larger. All the cuts of meat are essentially the same in all animals. The pork loin (top of the animal on both sides of the backbone) are the exact same as the steaks on a cow, which is also the same as the backstrap on a deer. We usually use the tractor's loaded to lift the animal off the ground and that works just fine.

One of my first deer:

Thumb of 2014-09-08/dave/ce053b Thumb of 2014-09-08/dave/679f6f
Thumb of 2014-09-08/dave/13d177

This is how plentiful they were in Kerrville:

Thumb of 2014-09-08/dave/107704

My hog harvest in 2010:

Thumb of 2014-09-08/dave/b39b45

I actually video taped the entire butchering process of the hog in case anyone ever wanted it for learning purposes. I may upload it to youtube one day for other peoples' benefit.

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