Brain Food

Trip Start May 22, 2009
Trip End Feb 16, 2010

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Flag of France  , Midi-Pyrénées,
Wednesday, October 21, 2009

A gory day full of raw meat, but surprisingly it didn’t bother me.  Some issues that have arisen when discussing the idea of setting up our own small holding with the attempt to be as self-sufficient as possible was whether or not we could deal with it.  So far it doesn’t seem to be a problem. 

We’ve stayed a few extra days at this farm with the anticipation of butchering day.  Took 2 pigs to the abattoir on the weekend and they’re ready for pickup and processing.  Brian had always been interested in butchering meat, so here was an opportunity to learn a bit. 

The drive back from the abattoir was more difficult than I’d expected.  Sitting beside 4, pig carcasses was less than comfortable.  +6 degree weather outside we still drove with the windows down and the A/C on trying to get the temperature down to 2 or 3 for refrigeration for the meat.  With wind-chill, that was absolutely frigid for 45 minutes!  And with the winding mountain roads, the weight of the meat kept shifting into me with the occasional trotter popping out from under the covering. 

Watching Austin process the carcase into usable joints of meat was truly a work of art.  His knife flew, knowing exactly where to cut and slicing with one quick motion.  Any small attempts by us on cast away sausage meat revealed how skilled he really was.  Spare rib roasts, rolled belly, chump steaks, rack of ribs, pork chops, and hams were all neatly packaged and labeled.  Bones went into the stock pile, fat went into the rendering pile, and other bits went into the sausage pile. 

After all the good cuts were stored away in the freezer it came time to process the rest of it.  Brian started up the meat grinder and make 2.5kg of minced pork while I pureed the liver to make pate.  Fat was rendered down to a beautiful smooth lard, and sausage meat was seasoned.  It was a shame that we had no sausage skins to stuff, but the meat is still great to use in patties, balls or loaves. 
For a special treat for working through all the meat, Justin saved a special piece for Brian and I:  the brain.  Fried up with sage and butter and served on toast it resembled scrambled eggs in both texture and taste.  Won’t become my favourite dish, but it was interesting to try out.  I can certainly appreciate the effort to use every part of an animal in respect for it giving it’s life, but I did feel a little like Hannibal Lectre.  There’s just something in knowing you’re eating brain that doesn’t appeal over all the other organs on an animal. 
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