If you do not want to see pictures of this butchering process. Please do not view the remainder of this article. We will show our set up, process and end result. It's a little long, so sit back and enjoy the latest adventure in the life of Frank and Fern. We always begin a butchering process by thanking the Lord and the animal for providing us with sustenance and nourishment.
First, get things set up and ready. The table that held the drying sunflowers earlier in the summer was hosed down, brought in, and given a good washing.
The butcher paper, plastic film and masking tape were brought in the kitchen along with a bus tub. The last time we butchered goats I tried using waxed paper for the first layer of wrapping followed by the butcher paper. It didn't work well. It did not make a good seal against the meat and allowed for some freezer burn. So, this time I am going back to the plastic film as the first layer. The grinder was set up, then all was ready in the house.
The knives were checked for sharpness. We have several knives we have accumulated along the way that I wanted to try out, just to see how they worked on a project like this.
I have used this trusty skinning knife for many years. It is a good fit for me and works well.
Once we had everything in place in the kitchen, we set up the area where we would hang the goat to dress it out. We used the tailgate of the truck as a workbench for our knives, towels, bucket of water, and bus tub to hold the meat. We used a reciprocating saw to cut through the bones of the neck, back, legs and pelvis area.
We use a gambrel and pulley for hanging the carcass.
Now it's off to the barn. The last time we butchered, we put the goats in the stock trailer overnight with only water to help empty their stomachs. Then we drove the trailer down to the garage and hung them in the same place we are using today. But to do this we had to catch the animals, put them in the trailer, catch them again, and bring them out to be shot. Well, we don't plan on wrestling the goats through this routine again. We now have to be more careful with Frank's back, so this is not something we will be doing again.
This time we shot the goat in the pasture, loaded him into the bucket of the tractor, then used the tractor to lift him up to the pulley to be dressed out. This worked kind of well. Unfortunately, we didn't drop him with the first shot, but it ended up okay in the long run.
Now for the butchering. As I noted in the title of this article, this is butchering by a novice. One of the things I used to learn how to butcher is this book. And one of the techniques I looked up again is how to tie off the bung (anus) to prevent any leakage from the intestines. When I asked OP what he thought of our techniques, one of the things he hadn't seen before was this process. He didn't think it would be necessary when dressing out deer, but commented on how full this goat's stomach was and that using this technique was a good idea.
Here is a pictorial of the process.
After I got the meat in the house, I washed it thoroughly to remove any hair and blood.
Here is all of the meat including all of the scraps and organs that we saved for dogfood. There really isn't much meat on a goat, and especially a dairy goat. Since we raise Nubians and not meat goats, the comparison is like butchering a Jersey compared to an Angus, there is a big difference in the amount of meat you get.
The only whole pieces of meat we kept were the hind legs, backstrap and tenderloin. The neck and front legs were boned out to grind.
After we had enough ground up, we stopped and had burgers for lunch. OP had not had goat meat anywhere except in a restaurant, and his first comment was, "This tastes just like meat." It's a very true statement. Many people turn their noses up at the thought of eating goat meat. But if you cook it just like you would any other meat - beef, pork - then it does taste just like any other meat. I realized just how much I had missed having some goat in the freezer after the first bite. It is very good. The only thing I did was add salt and pepper to the meat before cooking, just like I do with any other ground meat. One thing about our ground meat, it doesn't hold together like other ground meats when you make burgers. I have to be a little more careful with it or it will break and crumble. It is also fairly lean, so I put some oil in the pan as well.
We ended up with a good amount of dogfood from this butchering session. We keep the fatty scraps, the thin layer of meat on the ribs, heart, liver, kidneys, and lungs all as dogfood. If times ever do get hard, we want to have things set aside for Pearl, our dog, as well as for ourselves.
After trying out the knives, these three worked out very well. The others were okay, but not near as effective or comfortable to use. This is another good thing for me to know. I think it's important to have tools that fit your hand and do the job, and the only way to find that out is through experience. One of the important safety factors that I like about these knives is the finger guard. With these knives I don't have to worry about my hand slipping down the blade while working with wet hands.
It's been a long, busy day. It's also been a very good day. We had good visits from friends and family. We learned a few new things about butchering, and we now have more meat ready to eat. Life is good.
Until next time - Fern