"United we bargain, divided we beg."

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The Redneck Rubicon (WARNING - GRAPHIC)

There's no point in denying it any longer. How can I maintain any semblance of sophistication, how can I pretend that I still have any city polish, when I spent the last three hours butchering a roadkill deer? When I think that my mother was a debutante in Scarsdale, with her picture on the society page... well, let's just not go down that path any further.

To be fair to myself, it was not my idea to bring home the freshly killed doe, nor did I have any say in the matter whatsoever. It was simply there when I got home (I would pay quite a bit to have been a fly on the wall as Homero was lifting this 175 pound animal onto his car. It's a busy road. Many people must have passed by. Nobody offered to help, that's all I know.). If I had been consulted, I would have argued against it.


In less than a month, we will be butchering the goats. We've never killed anything bigger than a chicken before. It seemed like too good of an opportunity to pass up. If it was good to eat, we'd eat it. If not, well, it was practice.

Homero hoists the doe up and ties her to the top of the kid's playset - the only suitable place we could find. Now the playset is forever associated in their little minds with blood and guts.
Homero uses his closed fist to separate the hide. He cut a little too deeply at first and some intestine bulged out - but was not perforated.

I attempt to skin the foreleg.

The skinned and gutted carcass with the damaged meat removed. The doe was hit in the right side, and pretty much that whole side was destroyed. We decided we would not use any meat from the right side of the animal, not even the foreleg.

I am looking rather absurdly proud of myself for having removed the left tenderloin without too much destruction or waste. I ran this into the house and submerged it in red wine and garlic.

We then attempted to remove the left hindquarter. We did eventually succeed, but let's just say that no pretty roast was going to be had from that quarter. It was pretty well massacred. I decided to try and dissect what was left, and I did in fact separate it into it's component muscle groups, but I haven't the foggiest idea how to use them. I thought I'd cut it all up for stew meat, maybe.

While I was wrestling with a ribcage, a hind leg, and a foreleg in the kitchen sink, Homero had disposed of the rest of the deer by dragging it out to the farthest section of the property and leaving it for the coyotes (whatever is left tomorrow we will bury). Then he sat down at the computer and did a little research. Which convinced him we shouldn't eat any part of the deer.

I wonder how many women, in this day and age, when presented with a freshly killed large animal would gird up their loins, get out the knife sharpener and the kiddie pool, and get to work. How many would go look up on the internet how to cut around the anus and then actually do it - how many would throw a whole bleeding haunch over their shoulder and throw it down on their kitchen counter? Figure out how to cut it up? Wrap it in plastic wrap and tinfoil and put it in the freezer? Marinate the choicest cut and seriously intend to cook it up and eat it?

I'd wager it's not a really big percentage. I'll be frank, it took some time - and some fortitude - to psyche myself up to tackle that animal. It wasn't a whole lot of fun, but I did it. I was fairly pissed off when Homero suddenly decided we weren't going to eat any of it. Not even the dogs, he decided, could eat any of it.

Well, what the hell did you bring it home for??

It was good practice, I'll give him that. It was good practice.


el said...

Okay I had to howl when I saw you used both the swingset AND the kiddie pool for the task! OMG!

It's funny: I read (misread) your paragraph about "how many [people]" and thought you said "men," because my husband would blithely drive by a million steaming deer carcasses without ever giving a thought to "maybe that needs to be dinner." I mean, *I* would surely sharpen the knives and get busy but he wouldn't.

Funny: Yesterday, I picked up our daughter from school and then drove to the butcher's with our cooler in the car to pick up the geese we had had done. I left her in the car (it was kind of stinky outside) and walked into their garage to get my geese and it was absolute madness: about 15 antlered heads, dripping, on top of a shelf, and 5 deer hanging in various stages of being skinned and cut. Ah: Bow season has begun! True Deliverance scene if ever there were, with the butcher eating an Oreo and asking me what in the world happened to our dog kennel (the goose transportation device) where I explain that my husband ran it over with his car. Completely normal conversation, right? And: the girl was mad at me when I got back in and told her about all the dead deer.

"I didn't want to scare you," I said.

Good luck with that deer! Jerky and sausage are my recommendations.

Tonia said...

Been there and done that.. My youngest daughter got her first deer last year at 11 yrs old,, It was a small doe that was very good!!
LOL at using the swing set and kiddie pool. Honestly it would be okay for the dogs.Or the chickens they are not herbivores and the protien would be good for them getting ready for winter.
Our dogs chew on the carcasses for a few weeks. Nothing more embarassing then some one pulling up and our dog would come carrying his deer back bone Leftovers to them to show it off!..
On the meat I would chop it up and soak it in Marsala wine slow cook it in a cast iron skillet and make a gravy with it over mashed potatoes! Yummy! Or slow cook the roast with lots of garlic in the oven.. We grind ours up too and use in place of burger..

Dr24Hours said...

Yes, deer need to be tested for wasting disease, which is like mad cow (a prion disorder), before you can eat them. I don't know much more than that, because that's all that's been on the radio about der hunting.

Rosa said...

You should visit Wisconsin or Iowa - there's a roadkill wait list most places I've ever lived. The one time I hit a deer, we gave it to the neighbor, though. He gave us back some steaks.

Good for you, though! That's a big job, and it's a hard skill to learn all on your own. Thank god for the internet, huh?

Maven said...

What a fabulous photo blogging of the entire episode! Seriously! I'd be curious to read the web page(s) that you consulted which led you to decide not to eat any of it. I can see not eating things within or near the abdominal cavity given the uncertainty if the spleen was ruptured (I believe that's what the concern is? Correct me if I am wrong). But the tenderloin? Please tell me you did not toss the tenderloin!

Aimee said...

I KNOW. AND I wasted a half bottle of perfectly good red wine, too. My husband decided that the whole animal was tainted because some internal organs had ruptured... let's see, high on the right side, could have been the spleen, the stomach, maybe intestine. But the meat smelled fine to me. Oh well, fat coyotes around here.
Thanks for checking out my blog!

Michelle said...

Aimee - First of all, I love your blog (I'm not a stalker, I promise! Kim C told me about your blog - we met at Jenica's ballet bady party last year!). Second of all, awesome roadkill story. You used the swingset AND the kiddie pool? I love it. I grew up in WY and went antelope and deer hunting every year. Used to love putting my hands in the guts as soon as it was killed to warm up my freezing hands. How sick is that? We used to hang ours in the garage to drip - and had to push the dog away so he wouldn't slurp up all the blood. Eww. Then we butchered the animal on our kitchen table. That's WY for ya. It's been about 13 yrs since I last hunted, but your post brought back some fond butchering memories!

Aimee said...

maybe I need to invite you over next time! We could use some help, that's for sure!

penelope said...

what I find even funnier than the kiddie pool and swingset is the fact that you wore lipstick and one of your favorite dresses, I know you and homero don't get to go out on dates much so I guess you decided to make this count? Reminded me of when marcus' mom watched our kids for 20 minutes while we ran to the feed store for goat diarrhea medecine, marcus swore that counted as a date, guess I should have thrown on some lipstick...

WeekendFarmer said...

hah? all that work and you wont eat it? hmmmm....looks just like us when we process the lambs. I guess I understand the concern with internal organs/fluids leaking into the meat....but the legs would have been ok. (??). I am not an expert.

(We use a lower branch of a walnut tree to hang the body and dig a huge hole underneath to just drop the GI and other internal organ into it and then cover it up. )

For your goats: it seems like you did it already for the deer, if not...you can start with the back legs...where you remove the skin about 9 -10 inches from the hooves and you will see there is a gap between the bones and tendons where you can slide the ropes...this gives you an instant "hook" to thread in the ropes on both the back legs and hang the whole body. I am sure I have confused you fully : ) ! From there you can cut and pull the skins as you go until you come to the head. You can keep the goat legs in full and roast 'em whole. They are tasty (loads of garlic and rosemary). See you later.

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