Bye-Bye, Boys (Part II): Grinding

Lamb meat after grinding
On the Tuesday after Christmas, Dad and a friend butchered our two rams, Izzy and Boots.

On the last post, Bye-Bye, Boys, I said, “That pretty much says it all.” It actually doesn’t. On New Year’s Eve, the friend appeared again, this time with a meat grinder in tow. We kept the neck roasts, a leg’o’lamb and a steak, but the rest of the cold-aged meat was passed through the grinder and came out as ground lamb.

Progression of Events:

Dad cuts the fat off a piece of lamb meat to prepare it for grinding
Dad cuts the fat off a piece of meat to prepare it for grinding
Lamb meat before grinding
Then he tossed it in a bowl

Then it was ground.

Lamb meat after grinding
This is the meat after being ground

Then Mom vacuum-sealed it into neat two-pound packages.

Neat two-pound packages of ground lamb
Neat two-pound packages of ground lamb

In all, we got about sixty-two pounds of meat off of our two rams.

That says it all.

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Bye-Bye, Boys

These are our two rams, Izzie and Boots, before butchering

From Lambs to Rams

In April, our three lovable ewes each gave birth to twins. Two of them were boys, Izzy and Boots. They began as adorable baby sheep, but soon morphed into headbutting, cranky rams. When they began to headbutt us, we had had enough. We decided to fulfill their destiny and  butcher them.

The Decision

For the kids, this was not an easy choice. They had had high hopes of them becoming pedigree breeding stock. But the fact that only two of our seven ewes could be bred with them (and their headbutting habits) made butchering unavoidable. It just wasn’t worth it.

Our next thought was to schedule an appointment at Pete’s Country Meats (Loretto, TN), the butcher we used for these guys’ sire, Stan. The only problem is, it’s a three hour drive each way. But suddenly Dad had a brain wave. Why drive six hours when we could do it ourselves?

The kids had a zillion objections, but Dad answered each one, (Q. We don’t know how to butcher a sheep. A. We have friends that do. Q. Do we have to help? A. No, you only need two people. Etc, etc, etc), with a satisfactory result. We were going to butcher them ourselves.

warning! no sensitive stomachs beyond this point!

“Ram” Becomes “Lamb Leg”, “Shoulder Roast”, “Ground Lamb”

Dad called a friend, who was super excited to help. He hunts, and had cleaned many deer in his lifetime. We invited the whole family, and made it into a party.

On the Tuesday after Christmas, at ten o’clock in the morning, Dad pulled the trigger on Boots and the whole process began:

Dad drags Izzy away to be gutted
Dad drags Izzy away to be skinned, de-gutted and made into pieces of meat.
Dad tries his hand at skinning
First, they cut the skin off the dead sheep in one big piece.
Dad cuts the outer loin off the sheep.
Next, they cut pieces of meat off the carcass and tossed them in the cooler. (See bottom)
Slitting down the stomach to reveal the guts
After most of the meat was safe in the cooler, they cut the stomach open to access the guts. (See below)
The guts
The guts. (Need I say more?)
The meat in a cooler
Finally, they cut off any remaining meat and stowed it in the cooler, where it will rest and age for three days.

That pretty much says it all.

Warning! This post is not intended to educate on how to butcher a sheep. to humanely and correctly process a sheep, please seek the assistance of a professional hunter or butcher. thank you. the redeemed homestead staff

 

 

 

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