DIY Meat Processing Is Simple!

DIY meat processing, ready or not!

We haven’t always been polished and pretty like we are now.

In fact, I picked this video so you can look at where we were working 3 years ago. Those beef were Calvin and Hobbes, and it was hard to harvest those characters. Mark was grumpy for a day or two in advance and slept poorly the night before. I told you about Endeavor last week. Harvesting animals should never get “easy,” but you get used to knowing it has to happen and following through. You don’t need fancy or polished to process your own meat. As you can see here.

What do you need for DIY meat processing a beef?

  • a gun
  • knives: skinning, boning
  • Sawzall with a carbon tipped 12″ pruning blade for halving and quartering
  • a place to hang the quarters or thirds (hear Mark’s comments on this in the video)
  • a sturdy table for cutting
  • packing materials (plastic wrap, ziplocs, and a permanent marker will do!)

That’s the bare bones. Anything more is bonus and makes your life easier. One family we know really rocked it by rearranging their kids into one bedroom, hanging the beef in a colder bedroom and cutting it on the kitchen table. You don’t need fancy and polished to DIY!

Tell us what you want!

We didn’t do a beef class this year, so you didn’t have a chance to learn this DIY meat processing skill for yourself. However, we’d love your input on what to offer next year! Watch for the Chicken processing class in June, and Homestead Hog Harvest class in November. But, what else, besides the DIY meat processing classes? Contact us back and give us your workshop wish list. What’s on your “learn to do” list for 2024?

Here are a couple resources that have helped us:

Butchering Beef (book)

The Home Butcher (book)

Beef cuts chart: https://m.media-amazon.com/images/I/710aqfBvE8L.AC_SX425.jpg

Endeavor’s Legacy: A Tribute to Farm Life and Sustainability

Life on a sustainable farm has it’s drama.

As he raised the rifle and drew the bead on the massive forehead, Mark realized that he didn’t hate this animal, the bull who was tipping his head to keep a wary eye on that guy who drove the hated tractor. Endeavor often did that to all of us, side eyeing us to keep close tabs on who was where doing what.  He had trapped Mark a couple of times up on the tractor as he butted at the bucket and back blade, or banged the barn door around, effectively locking one cow or another inside. He could shove sod into a trench with that same massive head, leaving my mama heart quaking imagining if he ever got a human pinned there.  

But he was just being who he was made to be: a bull. The champion and protector of his harem. And he did it well! We didn’t hate him for it, most of the time, but we certainly respected his power and potential and dedication to his job.

This is the nature of things on a sustainable farm.  Nature is our partner but not always a friend. And sometimes we have to do things we’d rather not as a result. 

The photo below marks the culmination of much thought, effort, a restless night’s sleep, and a few tears.

The rail was one of this year’s big construction projects, built for processing the larger animals. This was the first time Jim and Frank were in charge of dealing with a cow. And we all shed a tear and thanked Endeavor, grateful for his faithful service and the gift of sustenance he was now giving us. 

It was a momentous moment. Some of our animals will live in memory for years beyond their natural lives, and Endeavor has now entered that hallowed hall.  Anyone in sustainable farming is in it to grow food, but also to be a husbandman of nature.  That’s a very old word meaning “to take care of.” That’s what we do, because we’re as much a part of the system as a leader in it.  

This is a tribute to Endeavor. We’ll honor him by using every bit of the gift he’s given.

  • Blood to enrich the soil
  • Lungs to create delicious and healthful seasoning mixes
  • Heart, liver, tongue, and spleen in various recipes
  • Tallow to be rendered for skin care and frying, or ground in with the meat for better flavor and digestion
  • Ox tail for soups and stews
  • All the bones for bone broth and a new experiment: marrow boats
  • The powerful and rich muscles for all the fabulous beef
  • Anything left over goes to the dogs, chickens, and pigs

Life is a precious gift and the universal law is “more life to all.” Therefore, nothing gets wasted. We’ll appreciate and be grateful to Endeavor for a long time to come yet!

So, this picture isn’t just a “trophy” shot. It’s a reminder of the poignant drama of life on a sustainable farm and the intricate responsibilities of being a “husbandman.”  Endeavor’s spirit lives on, echoing in the sustainable harmony of our farm, a lasting tribute to the profound interconnectedness that defines our journey as farmers and custodians of nature.

sustainable farm, grass fed beef, farm kids, guernsey

Check out another story about Endeavor here: Bull Adventures

How To Make Ground Beef & Organ Meat Mixture

 

 

If you prefer to make this at home, you can purchase fresh or frozen organ meat, thaw the meat in the fridge, if frozen, and combine a ratio of 4:1 ground beef to organ meat (for example, 1 pound of ground beef to 1/4 pound of heart) in a food processor until mixed.

You will want to add the organ meat, roughly chopped to the processor first and pulse a few times until it is broken down into pieces similar in size to the ground beef. (In the case of liver, be careful not to overprocess it; because of its creamier texture, it will become pastelike of overmixed. Don’t worry, once it’s pulsed into smaller chunks, it will mix in fine with the rest of the meat!) Next, add the ground beef and pulse just enough to mix the beef and organ meat together; overprocessing the ground meat can make it tough.

Pro Tip: If you’re really worried about an “organ meat” taste, I suggest using heart, which is a muscle meat and not strong tasting, or chicken liver, which is the mildest-tasting animal liver. You can also ask butcher to premix organ meat into your ground beef for you.

 

Recipe is an excerpt from It Takes Guts by Ashleigh Vanhoute and can be purchased here.

Air Fryer Meatloaf

 

 

A dish that screams comfort! Create a meal in under an hour and with less mess to boot!

 

 

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Air Fryer Meatloaf


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  • Author: Jill Baker
  • Yield: Serves 6

Ingredients

Units Scale

2 lbs. Ground Beef

2 Eggs

1/2 c. Onion, diced

1/4 c. Milk

3/4 c. Panko Bread Crumbs

1/4 c. Fresh Parsley, chopped

1 Tbsp. Worcestershire Sauce

1 tsp. Garlic Salt

1 tsp. Italian Seasoning

1 c. Ketchup

1/2 c. Brown Sugar

1 Tbsp. Ground Mustard


Instructions

  1. Preheat air fryer to 370º F.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the eggs, panko, and milk.
  3. Stir in the ground meat, onion, parsley, worcestershire, garlic salt, and Italian seasoning.
  4. Line a loaf pan with parchment paper and place meat mixture inside, forming a loaf. Let set.
  5. Carefully remove the formed loaf , with parchment, and place onto the air fryer basket/tray.
  6. Place into air fryer and cook for 15 minutes. If it browns too quickly, add a foil tent over the top of the loaf.
  7. Cook another 15 minutes, meanwhile, stir together the ketchup, brown sugar, and ground mustard to make a sauce.
  8. After the initial 30 minute cook, spread the sauce mixture on the top of the loaf until covered.
  9. Continue cooking for another 10-15 minutes, checking often, until an internal temperature reads 165º F.
  10. Remove from air fryer and allow to rest 10 minutes prior to serving.
  11. Serve with extra sauce on the side.

Notes

This dish would go great with any of the dishes found in our Forage or Vegetable sections!

Instead of one large loaf, try breaking it down into a few smaller loaves, but remember to always cook in a single layer allowing for space around each food item. Multiple batches may be needed.

Switch up the meat used or use a combo of ground meats; don’t forget to incorporate some organs perhaps too. Even the pickiest of eaters will never tell they are eating super nutrient dense ground meats/offal!

Remember to always adhere to your air fryer instructions as times and cooking methods vary based on your own appliance.

The Team Experience – Homestead Butchering

Team! 

That’s been our mantra at Baker’s Green Acres for forever. 

When it’s time to butcher a beef, you need a team! 

We started butchering our own beef on the homestead a couple of years ago. Being able to own the process gives us the ability to make cool stuff, like summer sausage, kielbasa, bresaola (dry-aged beef), and homemade hot dogs(!). Being self-sufficient like that gives us huge advantages, especially when the supply chain is jammed up right now with USDA butchers being overwhelmed and booking way into the future.  We can keep our organic beef organic, for starters. And we know what’s in our sausages and can make them exactly the way we like them.

Plus, ORGANS. Did you know that the organs from a grass-fed beef provide not only insane amounts of iron, phosphorus, potassium, magnesium (that supplement people take for relaxation and good bowel movements), copper, and zinc (fabled to boost your immune system against cold and flus). Not to mention the Omega 3 fatty acids that balance cholesterol and help your nervous system operate well. Beef is on the team for combatting the winter blues (SAD: Seasonal Affective Disorder), too. Fatty beef (like liver as well as steak) contains tryptophan, which your body needs to make serotonin, which is the chemical that helps you have a clear mind and uplifted spirit. (check out more information, plus some recipes, here)

Last week we called on the team, our community, to process a beef. We had our sons helping (what an awesome vacation for Sam: come home and make food to take back!), and a group of friends who came out to help. It was a barter: experience and learning in exchange for helping hands: a win-win for everyone. 

Check out this video of the event, made by our son Joe (Nomadic Media): 

The Anyone Can Farm Experience Northern Michigan Beef, Pig, Poultry farm

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Team! 

It’s what the experience is all about!

Check out your opportunities to be part of the experience:

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