Fall Butchering

By Arlene Marshall (TwinLakesChef) on December 7, 2010

Every October when the air turns crisp and Winter is just around the corner, there are a few moments to stop and catch your breath. The garden is done and busy hands can rest for a while. Then JJ telephones and there is more to do . . . .

We fondly refer to JJ as the "Mountain Man".  He loves hunting, being outdoors, and living alone with his dog.  On a given morning when I telephone him, I say, "How are you today?"  He'll reply, "I shot a pheasant, two bunnies and three raccoons.  I got $ 3.00 apiece for the raccoon pelts which is not good money but that's all they bring because we have too many raccoons.  The guy I sell them to says they go to Russia to make men's hats."

He also does a lot of butchering.  Last Fall it was a cow that had to be put down, so I went out and helped with grinding and packaging ground beef.  We also made up deer & beef 50/50.  JJ always has a joke or a story to tell.  For instance, the time he fell through the ice and almost drowned.  The day goes by fast with good company.

Here in Iowa, if we have an injured animal, we don't call the Vet to put it down and send it to the rendering works.  We butcher.  When last month rolled around it was three calves and we butchered veal.  We had ground veal, veal chops, veal ribs and veal cutlets.

On the drive out to JJ's it was a beautiful Fall day, crossing over the Des Moines river.  The trees were starting to turn.  It is about a 25 minute drive out and the final stretch of road is gravel.

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His house is an A-Frame; on the upper level is the room that holds a lot of guns and ammo. 

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He goes up the stairs, picks his weapon, steps out on the deck and watches for something to come along. He has quite a long view from there.  You probably can't see just how beautiful these guns are and there is a scope on each.

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In the second picture I had spotted a hawk and was trying to photograph it.


When Heidi isn't playing with big rocks, she's at his side. But now we get down to business: grinding & bagging.

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Then we wrap . . .              Throw in bins . . .   And rush it to the freezer.


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Here he has trapped a raccoon. Everywhere on the property you see skeletons, antlers, bones.

I came back the next day and picked up 256- 1# packages of ground veal, around 17 loin chops plus the ribs

The rest of the meat, I brought home and sliced on my commercial slicer ~ about 22 pounds of veal cutlets.

He had never eaten  veal so we put together a dinner party to try out the veal chops.


Cabbage Rolls made with 50% veal 50% pork.  Veal Picatta

Go to Our Cooking School for Detailed Demonstration of Veal Piccata 


Veal Ribs with Apricot Horseradish Glaze; Grilled Scented Veal Chops 

Go to Our Cooking School for Detailed Demonstration of Grilled Scented Veal Chops

Sustainability is an important concept in my state of Iowa and in many other states.  It's a way of life that I grew up in.  Our Farmer's Markets are very well attended.  And before the official Farmers Markets popped up there were other means.  A simple farm stand along the road selling fruits and vegetables, eggs, baked goods was a common sight.

It seems to me that this way of life is highy threatened.  There has been some mention of it at the Tea Party cubit and most recently our government has attempted to pass a bill that could threaten our ability to buy fruit, vegetables and eggs within in our state from the small growers.  What is happening in our country makes me very sad.  Maybe Randy will come along and explain to you the danger of this bill.


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Comments and discussion:
Subject Thread Starter Last Reply Replies
GREAT article! vic Dec 15, 2010 5:54 PM 12
Injured Calves Katg Dec 9, 2010 1:03 AM 0
Thanks for the input, Randy TwinLakesChef Dec 8, 2010 10:08 AM 4
Waste not, want not Zanymuse Dec 7, 2010 1:30 PM 1

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