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Everything posted by Butterbean

  1. Low and slow is how I do goat and it will just be fall off the bone tender.
  2. Sheepish, you are right. All three were castarated males which he called wethers. That was a new term for me as is your hoggets - which I had to google. So experienced - not in the least. Sheep are uncommon in my area due to the high heat and humidity which presents a heavy worm load for the animals like sheep and goats. Goats are more common since they are browsers and when left with plenty of browse the worms don't bother them as bad. If my terms or phrasing is incorrect its due to my ignorance of sheep. This is sortof the basis of this thread since I have learned that not all sheep meat has to be washed down with copious amounts of fluids followed by spoonfuls of mint jelly. In fact, this meat is wonderful and tastes nothing like that which I can buy in the store which I'm beginning to believe might just be mutton and not lamb. Up until now, I have only had "lamb" three times and it only tasted good to me once in a stew. This, however, is wonderful stuff which I hope to enjoy more in the future. I am told there is a strain of sheep brought over by the spainards which have been bred for our conditions. I have hopes of learning more about these and I hope I might even get a few for a future source of this wonderful meat.
  3. I'm all for local farm to table arrangements. We do a lot of that.
  4. I'm not talking about trim but the difference between live weight and dressed weight. Didn't have much trim at all. Did have enough to make some soup and broth but when you include the hide, head, feet and entrails the dressout from live weight to packaged weight isn't going to be but about 30% whereas with a pig its much much higher than that.
  5. Peter, I messed up with the offal. This was a first for me and I half expected the strong taste of mutton so I didn't spend much time with the offal and for that I kick myself. I do have some sheep casings but that is all. There was the most beautiful caul fat that I just threw away. I did have the heart, kidneys and lungs seperated but I was scared of that flavor and changed my mind. I regret it. Hopefully there will be a next time.
  6. Yes, I dispatched them using a .22 short at the cross between the eyes and the ears and they didn't know what hit them. Like a pig, I bled them by knicking the heart with a sticker. I don't know squat about sheep so this was all new to me but I figured they couldn't be much different than a pig or a cow with the exception that rather than splitting halves lengthwise it is suggested to quarter them down the length like the photo shows. I am not sure how old they were but they looked to be about half the size of the others he had so I'm callint them lamb which may be incorrect.. The guy that raised them said they were hair sheep which I have since been told do not have a strong flavor like other types of sheep. I was also told - unfortunately to late - that I could do a tooth count to determine their age. I think I was told if they had two teeth then they would be considered lamb. Either way, I was very pleased with the flavor of the meat because I first expected that strong taste I've had with lamb before and I just don't care for that. In fact, being a somewhat impatient person, I tossed a few chops in the frying pan with some olive oil and garlic as I was cutting and packaging the meat and was tickled with the tenderness and flavor. The only thing I did not like was the waste but this would explain why lamb is so expensive. I have some large buckets that I put the waste in and when I clean a 140 lb pig the bucket will be 1/3 full. These lambs, I'm guessing 100 lbs filled the bucket nearly half full. I'd estimate that you only get a 30% cutout. The guy that raised them was selling all the breeding age sheep and is planning on purchasing some sheep from a strain which was brought over by the spaniards. I hope he has been happy with our arrangement so far as I have also been giving he and his wife half of the results of my little experiments in hopes that we can continue to do something on this line cause I have grown fond of lamb (or hairless sheep mutton).
  7. I glad I nudged you to a decision. I think it will be a good one. Everything so far has been delicious but the top of the list is the loukaniko and the gyro so I'll give you those recipes and if you want the others later I'll post them as well. The loukaniko recipe is one of Len Poli's recipe's that I tweeked a little. Here are my notes. 5 lbs Lean Lamb 5 lbs Pork Trimmings 1/2 cup Blueberry Wine (Recipe calls for Syrah but I don't buy wine) 10 tsp salt 2 TBS of orange zest 1 TBS of minced garlic 2 tsp ground anise 2 tsp ground black pepper 2 tsp marjoram 1/2 tsp cinnamon 1/2 tsp allspice Measure off about 2 feet per pound of 32mm hog casings and clean, flush then soak in orange juice for 30 minutes. Cut the meat up into small cubes and combine all ingredients and mix well by hand. I put in cooler for a spell to let the flavors meld. Then placed in freezer till it got just shy of freezing. Grind using 3/8" plate. (I put mine in a chopper and ground it a tad finer than this). Mix more by hand if need be till you get some peaks.. Stuff in casings and tie off with twine in 6" links. Hang at room temperature till they dry and get tacky. Refrigerate or freeze for later use. For the gyro meat I basically followed Alton Brown's recipe at this link. http://www.foodnetwo...cipe/index.html What I did differently was after making ithe emulsion I stuffed the mix into a synthetic casing like you'd use for bologna and then put it in the smoker and smoked in pecan. Unfortunately I got distracted by the bottle of blueberry wine and took them out of the smoker at 160F rather than 145F. It didn't harm the flavor much but I think the texture suffered a little. I then gave them an ice bath then hung in the cooler for a day. I then sliced them on the slicer length wise. I think you will be well pleased with either of these.
  8. Was recently asked if I'd butcher some lambs on halves with a local producer. Lambs had been eating clover and grass with no supplemental feed. Sounded like a good deal to me and interesting to boot so I agreed. Lamb is so expensive in the store and what I normally find is the lamb is mutton rather than lamb. The guests arrive. Quartered them up then made the cuts. They had a beautiful fat layer. From the and trim I made loukaniko which will be used in some pasta dishes. Took the odd pieces of bone and other scrap and boiled this down and hand picked the meat from the bones and saved the broth and took the meat and made some basque stew. Took some of the lesser cuts and made an emulsion and turned out some gyro meat. Unfortunately, not enough cause this didn't last very long. Then with the help of one of my scottish friends I smoked a leg of lamb bathed in pecan smoke. And of course there was the merguez for the couscous. In all, I have to say lamb has been an overlooked meat in my diet. After these dishes I feel this will change.
  9. Would it be possible to build an island and use the underside of the island for bulk storage?
  10. I haven't really worried about storing them for any length of time as I'm more interested in experimenting with different combinations so I just keep them in the cooler unless its a heavy vinegar based sauce that I know will keep on the shelf.. If I hit on a good one I'll look further into how well they will keep. The Woman's Scorn is getting close.
  11. I think you are right on both statements. Nothing like a woman's input for clarity. Maybe there is still hope for my wealth and riches pipe dream. I do enjoy messing with peppers and making sauces is really quite interesting. Peter, there is nothing like making your own sauce is there?
  12. Found this thread very interesting. Its nice to know others are intrigued by the hot side. I must confess however that I was a little depressed when I saw Sashae's photo of the bottle of Scorned Woman as I recently created a sauce I dubbed A Woman's Scorn. So much for the idea of wealth and riches. While I won't give the recipe, here is a photo of some of the ingredients. The end product. A short description of the flavor profile.
  13. Actually, nothing. I've been trying to eat from the garden so stuff won't go to waste. Have peppers running out my ears. With this dish I was able to make use of the peppers in the harissa sauce for making the sausage and the paprika too. Other than the couscous, I think the whole dish was homegrown. I grow a lot of field peas. Normally cook them with some salt pork or bacon but also use them in soups and stews. Like em with chow chow too or vidalia onion relish. Heck, I just like them.
  14. Thought of this thread today. Made some meguez sausage today and used some of it with couscous and some fresh peppers and peas from the garden. It took a little time to make everything from the harissa paste to the sausage but the end result was worth the trouble.
  15. Interesting article. I sortof like the old USDA system of grading beef by the marbling rather than worrying so much about its genetics, breed, hide color, location it was raised, what it ate, etc etc. Best beef I ever had came from the ugliest mongrel of a calf you've ever seen but when we quartered her the steaks looked like a blizzard in Montana. Of course it wouldn't have gone CAB since her hide was not black. Still can't figure out how such wonderful meat came out of a cow with red hair.
  16. I like the lady peas and the zippers best. Next time you plant your fall garden try and locate some sugar anne peas. These are not cowpeas but a cross between an english and a snow pea and are used like snow peas. They are fantastic and grow well where cowpeas can be grown. I plant them a few weeks after the cowpeas and they do great.
  17. I grow them in spring and fall. I like the fall garden much better but if you have an early killing frost it can hurt you but most years its not a problem. Much more comfortable picking in the fall and the peas are sweeter.
  18. The oldest one I ever baked looked delicious after cooking. I didn't do but a day soak then baked. It was like a salt block and tough as sandstone. I think the horses would have loved it. Should have just sliced it in slivers. Maybe that's the way it needs to be after a certain point. Where that point is I don't know.
  19. By definitiion I've live in the "low country" but don't consider our normal cuisine to be low country cooking. To me, when I lived in Charleston or Brunswick Georgia that was low country cooking. I found myself eating a heavier seafood diet which IMO differentiates it from other cooking. I think its the convergence of all the land creatures with the sea creatures that makes it what it low country. Like you point out, stuff like this is eaten elsewhere but not in the high proportions as it is in that area. Its can be every day fare to have a smoked mullet sandwich or she crab soup in the winter months along with quail. And to me, the only difference in the cajun cooking is they like pepper better than we might. JMO
  20. You can also get listeria from eating melons and produce. The CDC also recommends cooking salums to 165F to prevent listeria and they suggest not eating smoked salmon or other seafood. To me, this is akin to the DMV telling me if I don't leave my house I won't be run over by a car. I think they are both right but .......?
  21. Patrick, being that's the case what you could do is find ceiling joist and screw a hook (like a plant hanger) into it and hang it. A few years ago I gave a ham to a friend and he has it hanging in his BBQ shed. Its a nice conversation piece and when people have a few drinks they tend to pull it down and slice a little off. Last I saw, it was covered in an array of moulds which added to the mystique. I have been surprised at how many people have complimented me on that particular ham. If its a genuinely dry cured ham I don't know why the FDA would say to refrigerate after cutting. Possibly it may be a suggestion from manufacturer to keep mold off cause many a cured ham is binned at the first sign of mold. From a practical standpoint, its probably easier to just slice the whole ham and vacumm pac the pieces then just store them in the closet till you need them cause as pointed out cutting them can be a chore. MJX, my knife skills are definitely limited out when its an aged cured ham. I'd hate to think of myself being in a copetition cause I love my fingers too much. I use a Hobart to do the thin slices and then its use is limited to boned portions. While its not as authentic to bone out a ham before curing I think in the long run it makes life so much easier and you can maximize the amount of quality slices in so doing but there is just something about having the bone in that intrigues me.
  22. Butterbean

    Home-made Pancetta

    I'm sure it will be fine. I'm not one to split hairs on stuff but sometimes subjective things like firmness can conjure different meanings to different people. Also, the pH of the meat will have an influence on its ability to hold water so it may take longer on some than others to firm up. I just like the 7 day rule myself.(I begin counting the day after prep) Easy for me to remember. Will look forward to hearing how it goes. Are you planning on rolling it or what?
  23. I think that is probably the best approach to a ham that has been aged for a long time. I love the flavor age gives. I think too, that when this was the norm, hams were usually consumed within a year and during the day people didn't build their plate around a specific meat like we do now. I think they used the ham more for seasoning or would consume it in smaller quantities. For the most part, we consume the aged hams either by thin slicing or sawing into small steaks about 1/4 thick and use this to compliment other dishes. Patrick, after its sliced it doesn't have to go in the fridge. There is not enough available water in it to promote any nasties so its safe to store in a closet or even the attic. What you need to be careful of are skipper flies and humidity so its best to keep it wrapped in some cloth to keep the skippers off and in an area that's not damp or very humid. Hunidity will draw salt out of the ham and mold will grow which is not a big problem but it does look funny to some. If its going to be kept for a while I may even wipe down with lard and pepper. Lard will help keep it from drying too much and the pepper acts as a repellent.
  24. This is probably why so few people eat them anymore. Can be a lot of trouble. On the hard cured ones we use them more for seasoning or sliced thin rather than a main dish ham. For a main dish I'll cure them with a gentle cure which is more in line with what people today expect.
  25. Hope it turns out to your liking. I had one that was a few years old and its skin was like kevlar. I took the saw and split it then sliced with a meat slicer. Even though the exterior seemed brick like the interior was relatively moist. Sliced thin it looked and tasted nice. Here is a pic. I have heard that the Bohemians would, when they had a girl child, cure some hams and serve them on the girl's wedding day. I don't know how true this is but it sure does fuel the mind with some wonderful images and makes one respect their cutlery.
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