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gfron1

Hey Ma! Look what I bought - Goats & Bison!

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I own an international grocery, but I live off of local foods as much as I'm able. Recently I began talking with a woman who raises rabbits, about getting her rabbits in my store. That led to a discussion about goats. I'm well aware of goats as meat, versus just milk, and am well aware of ChefCrash's goat head topic - one of my favorites. But, I had never prepared my own goat, let alone sell it.

This morning was our local goat sale. The majority of goats were going for meat, but some were for breeding/milking or just pets. I knew I would be a bit tentative about seeing an animal that I would later eat - I lean vegetarian, but enjoy a big juicy burger! Somehow this feels kind of important in my development as a food lover - my dinner isn't coming from the grocery store this time, and I had to look it in the eyes and thank it for providing sustenance. It wasn't all that dramatic, but I am feeling a bit sad for the loss of life. But that's not what this topic is about.

I want to share my experience of picking the goats, taking them for processing, and ultimately to my table. HERE is a topic that covers so much about goat preparation. HERE'S the topic on baby goat. And finally the IMFAMOUS GOAT HEAD TOPIC.

So let's start at the beginning. Here the goats are being transferred from the truck to the sorting pen (its nothing like the Hogwarts Sorting Hat). "We're not so sure this is going to be a good thing..."

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"Okay, I'll go if you go."

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The nervousness seemed to dissipate within minutes. I was less anxious once they relaxed and started acting like goats at a petting zoo. Lots of pee and poo followed.

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All of the goats were either branded or tagged depending which ranch they came from. Most are from the Gila Hot Springs Ranch north of Mimbres, NM (45 min. from my house).

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Here's one being sold as pet.

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Isn't he cute. Well, he's the one who did this:

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That's Becky Campbell, the owner/herder. She was moving the little guy into the truck this morning and his sharp baby horns jabbed her right in the cheek. See - the universe takes care of things.

It was selection time since I was first in line. I asked for help since I didn't know what I wanted. The herd is all seven months old, and all eat the same diet, so we went for the biggest. They explained that I'll be lucky to get half of the weight in meat through the processing. Apparently there are lot's of bones and a huge stomach that go to waste. Here's my first selection:

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Sturdy looking Billy.

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This is #2. He had a friendlier face.

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And then my two were marked and put in the trailer for delivery.

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That's it for my cute little petting zoo moment. DB56 and LB24 are now going back to the ranch for 2 weeks of R&R, then off to the processor in Wilcox, AZ. The plant brings in a USDA certified person for jobs like mine. The rest of the herd will get regular non-certified processing.

DB56 is a 78.5 pound Boar/cross Wether (Goat term glossary) with the 4E brand. LB24 is a 67 pound boar/cross wether. DB simply stands for "dark blue" meaning the tag color, which represents a single birth. LB stands for "light blue," or a twin birth.

This herd is naturally raised, and non-certified organic. They feed primarily on catclaw and oakbrush, but get the occasional alfalfa during the driest part of the season.

I asked for standard chart processing (HERE is the slaughter process), to include ground. My goats cost $1.15/lb plus another $78 for processing and $10 for delivery. My anticipated cost per pound for the finished goat is $3.50 after I get only half of the animal back as meat. They asked if I wanted the head - I said no. They asked about the guts - I said yes. I'll probably try and make sausage. I'm thinking of a goat mole sausage.

Now I wait for about a month. I've requested the ability to take pics at the processing plant, and if I can I will share them here.

So, I'll step away now and answer any questions anyone might have. Then watch for the update in about a month.

A quick note for anyone who is interested in doing this themselves. There really was nothing to it - goat people seem nice and are willing to provide free advice. All I had to do is show up with a check - they do all of the rest. Contact your local 4-H or Extension office if you don't know where to find a goat seller.

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:sad:

I don't know if I can follow this thread.............

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I think it is because I am very carnivorous and recognize the responsibility that I SHOULD take, but cannot bear to even think about where my meat comes from. It makes me sick when I do, especially thinking about factory meat processing plants. I have to admit that my meat eating fuels that industry.

Cognitive dissonance . I should be a vegetarian, according to my beliefs. I am not, and I love meat. :sad:

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Just typing my original post stirred quite a bit inside of me and that's why I feel like its important that I do this. I know my short-memory-edness and can't imagine giving up meat completely. However, I'm glad I saw my goats face-to-face, and I'm very, very glad that I met Becky and know how she treats them. The toughest part was coming home and looking my pups in the eyes as we headed out for a walk. It doesn't help that my NPR is playing sappy emotional music right now.

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I'm weirded out by anything, ie meat that isn't being hugged securely by clear plastic wrap on the white comforting foam trays from the grocery store weighted down with as much as water as possible and the little price tags that tell you the hazards of not refrigerating and other pertinent stuff I never really read. :blink:

I mean my husband has gone out and brought back rabbit and squirrel and I was able to eat a bite but I have lines clearly drawn here.

But seriously this is like either really cool or really gross.

But you are very brave and also pretty strange for this, Dude-buddy.

But I'll stay tuned...Don't name them! Wait, ok don't tell me their names if you do.


Edited by K8memphis (log)

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Rob, thanks for being willing to share this with us. Depending on where I end living, I hope to try to do the same thing at some point. I agree that as a meat eater (with no vegetarian leanings in my case) and as a food lover, I would prefer to know what my decision to eat meat entails.


Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

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Rob, thanks for being willing to share this with us. Depending on where I end living, I hope to try to do the same thing at some point. I agree that as a meat eater (with no vegetarian leanings in my case) and as a food lover, I would prefer to know what my decision to eat meat entails.

OMG >>> Oooh don't say entails rhymes with entrails agh ugh cahhn't breathe.

No I don't want to know what is involved . But it's like a train wreck I can't look away.


Edited by K8memphis (log)

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What she said............ :wacko:

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Nicely done Rob! It's important to know where your food comes from. Goat offal is delicious, glad to see you aren't letting it go to waste. You can make an incredibly flavorful pasta sauce with the ground livers and kidneys along with a bit of tomato, onion, and some fresh herbs. The hearts you can cook like any other muscle, just be careful not to overcook them since they're very lean.

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I'll be eagerly following this thread, gfron1. I've thought about doing something like this at one time or another... at least hunting something for meat, which isn't quite the same as getting a domesticated animal for slaughter.


"I know it's the bugs, that's what cheese is. Gone off milk with bugs and mould - that's why it tastes so good. Cows and bugs together have a good deal going down."

- Gareth Blackstock (Lenny Henry), Chef!

eG Ethics Signatory

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Thanks Rob!

We're eating a hole in the existing freezer contents with a view to doing a similar thing - there's a farmer local to us who raises boar, sheep and deer [amongst other things] and processes them on-site.

Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall makes the case for decent meat eating much better than I could hope to; I'd encourage those looking for support in shedding their 'polytray dependencies' to read either his 'Meat'' book [the Amazon 'look inside' extract happens to be relevant] or perhaps some of the similar material in one or two of the essays in 'Hugh Fearlessly Eats-it-all'.

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Nicely done Rob!  It's important to know where your food comes from.  Goat offal is delicious, glad to see you aren't letting it go to waste.  You can make an incredibly flavorful pasta sauce with the ground livers and kidneys along with a bit of tomato, onion, and some fresh herbs.  The hearts you can cook like any other muscle, just be careful not to overcook them since they're very lean.

Ha! Now I know what offals are. I was very tempted to say, give it all to me figuring I could share with my dogs and dispose of the bones and such in a much more respectful manner than I assume the processor will provide.

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Nicely done Rob!  It's important to know where your food comes from.  Goat offal is delicious, glad to see you aren't letting it go to waste.  You can make an incredibly flavorful pasta sauce with the ground livers and kidneys along with a bit of tomato, onion, and some fresh herbs.  The hearts you can cook like any other muscle, just be careful not to overcook them since they're very lean.

Ha! Now I know what offals are. I was very tempted to say, give it all to me figuring I could share with my dogs and dispose of the bones and such in a much more respectful manner than I assume the processor will provide.

Using the whole animal shouldn't be difficult. Grind the fat along with any scraps of meat and bits you otherwise don't know how to use and make merguez, if you put the fat in a less flavorful sausage you're more likely to notice how strongly flavored goat fat is... The necks are great braised. Tongues are good in salad, or toss them in the sausage (or pasta sauce). Are you getting the tripe, stomach, lungs, and spleens?

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Very interesting and thought provoking Rob. I think respecting the animal must make us better cooks. Even in the vegetable garden or the orchard, if I grew it myself or it came from a friend's garden, I take more time and really try to bring out the best in the product. Really looking forward to following along.

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I am always thrilled to see someone doing this ...as I have always always purchased my meat this route..4H'rs rule!!!! and it is win win when you go this way...I feel so much better, safer,less wasteful and more appreciative of every bite I take just by being face to face with my dinner..never unnerved or queezy ..yes they are cute and lovable ..but I am not a vegatarian so I am not offended by eating them either ..they are food ..

plastic wrapped food unnerves me ..like a package of chicken wings..where is the rest of the chicken???? :shock:

My husband is a very proficient /humane butcher but we still take stuff in if it is reasonable and have it butchered cut and wrapped for us as well ..it saves a lot of time and mess to pay someone to do this and the cost is usually not bad at all

good for you Rob! enjoy your bounty ...


Edited by hummingbirdkiss (log)

why am I always at the bottom and why is everything so high? 

why must there be so little me and so much sky?

Piglet 

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ps I have goats quartered and wrapped when we do not do it ourselves then I break it down further myself to cook it ..

but they are small so this is feasable

the inards are as good as they can be so I woudl say just eat them!


why am I always at the bottom and why is everything so high? 

why must there be so little me and so much sky?

Piglet 

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plastic wrapped food unnerves me ..like a package of chicken wings..where is the rest of the chicken????  :shock:

Some chickens have many more wings than others and more legs too, thighs et cetera, you get the picture. :laugh:

The rest of the chicken? It's all divied up in the rest of the little white bottomed packages scattered around the meat area.

signed,

Polytray Dependant

PS. But truly that yellow skinned chicken in the packages with bluish purple areas lurking just beneath the surface is creepy--it really gets to me. As for the alternative, I just don't want to be brave enough to butcher my own chickens.

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Years ago, a friend who keeps a small flock of chickens had a surplus of young males/cocks. You don't want to have more than one or two roosters around, if you have more they fight w/each other and sexually harass the hens, who then don't lay well.

So they decided to slaughter the surplus. I decided it was time I saw & assisted in the slaughter & prep of one meat source. I'd eaten alot of chicken, I thought it was time to see how it was done. I didn't do any of killing, just witnessed it, but I helped with everything else. The actual killing of the chicken might've been a problem for me, but the rest of it wasn't (except that I wasn't good at it, so it took me longer to locate & remove the internal organs, then my friend who's had alot more experience). Maybe it wasn't a problem because I'd done the various biology dissections you do in HS & college if you take any biology labs.

It'd be harder with larger animals, I think, if only physically & I'm not sure how I'd deal with bleeding a larger animal. Although I've never assisted with the slaughter & prep of any other animal, I think it's a mark of respect to do so if one can. Crowded feedlots & inhumane, assembly line slaughterhouses--they're not so good for animals or the workers. It'd be better if we could all go the 4H or small farm route, although I think more people would have to eat alot less meat for that to be possible.

I think this is an excellent thread.

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I LOVE this thread. Although I think it's natural and human to be squeamish and maybe even emotional when it comes to facing the slaughter of one's food (and to like meat at the smae time!) I really appreciate projects like this. While some of us may not be able to stomach the butchering of animals's we've personaly cared for, I admire those who can do it. It's important for us to all understand the process, if not take part in it. Children especially!

This is such an interesting and educational issue. I look forward to seeing more of the story unfold!

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However, I'm glad I saw my goats face-to-face, and I'm very, very glad that I met Becky and know how she treats them. 

Personally, I´m much more distressed when I see the styrofoam packets of pork in my supermarket, having seen documentaries on how pigs are treated during there short and miserable lives, than I am by looking a beautiful healthy animal in the eye, knowing it´s had a good life, has been treated well, and now will end up on my or somebody elses plate.

This is a great thing you´re doing and thanks for sharing it, and all your thoughts and emotions about it, with us. Looking forward to the rest of this thread!


Edited by Chufi (log)

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I'm really looking forward to this! I loved ChefCrash's goat head topic--it was tres cool when he peeled the skin off the head. I'm a little sad you told them "no heads". If nothing else, you could have sent them to Chef Crash!

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plastic wrapped food unnerves me ..like a package of chicken wings..where is the rest of the chicken????  :shock:

Some chickens have many more wings than others and more legs too, thighs et cetera, you get the picture. :laugh:

The rest of the chicken? It's all divied up in the rest of the little white bottomed packages scattered around the meat area.

signed,

Polytray Dependant

PS. But truly that yellow skinned chicken in the packages with bluish purple areas lurking just beneath the surface is creepy--it really gets to me. As for the alternative, I just don't want to be brave enough to butcher my own chickens.

I am laughing so hard at this I almost fell off my chair!!! Now that I know that there are chickens with extra wings I am going to start looking for them ..because the wings are my favorite part!!!

One of my dearest friends went to pick up a lamb with me one time and ..I am not sure what she was thinking but she almost fainted when they brought it out in a wagon..all she saw was the wagon and a huge plastic bag...she assumed the whole lamb was just sitting in that bag and going into my car like that ..it could happen with me but not this time :raz: it was all neatly wrapped and frozen already ..but she seriously almost hit the ground I saw her turn gray, wobble..covered her mouth and said "OH NO OH NO OH NO!!!! I CAN NOT RIDE IN THE CAR WITH THAT!!!" when I realized it was the lamb and that she thought it was just a lamb body in a bag ... I made her sit down and put her head between her legs while I rubbed her back and explained the meat was in meaty pieces not a whole being and that it was wrapped nicely with writing on the package...people were around us wondering what the Hell happened "should we call for help" ...

it wasnt until I actually opened the bag and showed her the neatly wrapped packages that she would believe me ..got up and got into the car...

drama queen!!! had no problem eating the lamb and green chile stew :smile:

she is still like this and I love her beyond reason!!!

Goat is the other red meat in my opinion ...the best red meat!

I would have taken the head too...you have dogs Rob!!! if you dont eat it yourself they would love you to death for that treat!!!...my dog is a spoiled brat and eats a mostly raw diet so when I get a whole animal I do share with her as I trim... I toss and she gratefully recieves!!! nothing goes to waste :smile:

the best meat in the country is raised by 4-H'rs and the FFA kids...I will say that every chance I get to keep them in people's minds ..those kids work hard..pay for college and love their animals ...they know, understand and take great pride in where the meat is going ..so Kudos to anyone who supports them .....and other local ..humane growers of meat and other food stuffs! ..I get a little cranky when "organic" producers charge a stupid amt and try to make you think the food is better than these kids/adults or other regular folks do..it is not true ..a higher price/advertising/mail order does not make for better meat/food ..just an emptier wallet is all


Edited by hummingbirdkiss (log)

why am I always at the bottom and why is everything so high? 

why must there be so little me and so much sky?

Piglet 

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Okay, so the head...let's just say I'm not there yet. I've got two weeks to ask for the head, but I'm not sure I, nor my spouse, is ready to throw a head in the freezer. I definitely can't put it my store. People freaked out when I had the 16" buffalo tongue proudly displayed - not good for sales. I'm beyond baby steps, but just barely past toddler steps. A Godfather-esque head...well, we'll see.

And if I could easily ship to mutilated heads to ChefCrash, I would just to see his write-up about receiving the package and the surprise in his eyes!

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