"United we bargain, divided we beg."

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Goat Feast

Yesterday we butchered a couple of goats. There's a sentence that, five years ago, I never thought I would say.

My sister and her husband keep Angora goats, which are fiber goats like the one above (that's not her goat, that's an internet image.). They had one particular goat who they were ready to convert into a nice rug, but they didn't want to eat him. My sister is a vegetarian. Her husband eats meat, but they just weren't ready to deal with eating one of their own animals and explain it to the kids and everything. Also, they don't have the skill to skin it perfectly so that the hide is usable. They offered the goat to us to butcher and keep all the meat; just return the hide intact.

Well we don't have that kind of skill either (it's harder than you think) but we know someone who does. Our friend C. bought and butchered three goats last year for a party he was throwing ( Goat Butchering Party) and told us he'd help us out whenever we needed him. So we gave C. a call and offered him half the meat to come up and do the job - with Homero's help of course. He drove right up with his cousin and his three children (7, 4, and 8 months old, all as cute as buttons).

Then, since the men were here anyway, we decided we might as well butcher our one kid as well. While the men slowly worked their way through the goats and through a case of beer, I got to work in the kitchen and watched the children.

I made frijoles de olla (pinto beans), Mexican red rice, sauteed zucchini, and two kinds of pie - sweet potato and blackberry. As soon as it was ready, Homero brought me in a leg of goat and I seared it in olive oil, rubbed it with garlic and rosemary, squeezed a couple of lemons over it, and popped it in the oven at 325 to braise. The leg was rather stringy and tough looking, especially the shank, so I was worried it might not get tender in the time we had, so I asked the guys to bring me a loin. That I sliced into thin steaks and pan fried with onions and chiles.

As you might imagine, all that cooking took some time - about the same amount of time as it took to break down two goats. Somewhere in the vicinity of five hours. The men arrived at 2:00 and we sat down to eat around nine. The meat was very flavorful, but I don't doubt it would have benefitted from a couple of three days hanging in a cooler. Alas, we don't have access to a cooler. So we gnawed on the bones and chewed the meat like bubble gum. Tasted great, and a little exercise never hurt anyone's jaw muscles, right?

After they left, at about 11:00, I still had to trim and wrap all the meat for the freezer. Even though C. took more than half a goat, there was still a lot of wrapping. I had never tried to wrap meat before, and it isn't easy. Try taking a whole slab of ribs or a whole hind leg and producing a neat, flat package. Huh-uh. Homero and I spent an hour or so trimming and wrapping and taping and twining, and by the time we were done the table looked like it belonged to one of the more notorious serial killers, somebody who might be called "the butcher."

But now, this morning, there is about thirty or forty pounds of wrapped meat in the freezer. I'm glad butchering only happens once a year. I am worn out.


Garden Lily said...

The pan-fried steaks in onions and chilis sound wonderful. As do the two pies. What an adventure!

Holly said...

I have to say I'm laughing. I think the case of beer had something to do with the goats taking so long to cut up. You maybe better not come over when we are doing hogs or beef or even elk. No beer allowed as there is not only VERY sharp knives since my husband is a knifemaker but an electric meat saw along with a grinder, cubber etc. Beer and sharp equipment don't mix.And if you thought five hours was alot, several days would seem like an eternity. But then I think it is what you are use to and ever since my husband and I were little our families have hunted large and small wild game and processed the meat ourselves. My job when I was little was to wrap meat and label the packages. Come to think of it I still do that.

Aimee said...

Holly - I envy your experience and skill (and equipment). This is all new to us. I'm sure the guys were taking their time... I wouldn't know - I was watching five kids, including a baby, and cooking up a storm!

polly's path said...

ll the food sounds absolutely delicious.
Your story reminded my of the days in my childhood when my grandfather would go hunting and return with hogs and deer, and a group of friends would spend hours outside "processing" while my grandmother and the women were in the kitchen cooking a feast and wrapping and labeling packages, freeaing, and canning(she made a MEAN canned deer). There was always fresh meat cooked over a fire, a leg in the oven, a shoulder in the pressure cooker with veggies.
I thought I had lost this memory. Thanks for bringing it back.