Homesteading Forum banner

1 - 20 of 36 Posts

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
2,373 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I am quite impressed. We just got our first jersey steer back from the butcher. Filled one of our freezers and we should not need meat now for quite a long while.

We have chickens galore, 105 more of them going to freezer camp starting tomorrow and hopefully finished in the next 3 days, rabbits going in soon, got some turkeys that I think are going to go in there, and some pot bellied pigs. We don't have veggies this year, but next year that will come along.

We have 2 more steers that we will send to freezer camp soon too.

This steer dressed out at just over 600 pounds. Okay, probably not large by most folks thoughts but for our first one, I'm pleased with it. We didn't know what we were doing when we got them, raised them from bottle babies, lost 2 to pneumonia in the winter, and now we have these 2 left to do. They started out at $30 and then the feed for them, hay and corn in the winter, and summer pasture plus a little corn.

Now, don't make fun of us, cause I'm not sure how long they should take, but these steers are 2 years old. Is the meat going to be tough or am I going to enjoy it? I am so thrilled with the freezer being full of beef. We haven't eaten beef (except hamburger and an occasional steak on special occasions) for most of those 2 years, so my mouth is slickering for a wonderful roast. I'm going to cook one tomorrow.

We feel that even with all the financial problems this farm has given us, we are truly blessed to have this food that we can provide for ourselves here with God's help.

I look forward to your comments, but please, be nice! LOL How long should the steers take to raise? Oh, we got these because they were so cheap, and we didn't have lots of money to spend, but next time, we are looking at a black angus or a hereford. What is your opinion on that as well.

Thanks everyone! :angel:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
13,422 Posts
I'm easing into beef next year and I'm pretty excited about it, and I echo your sentiments about being blessed with land that provides.

All my knowledge of beef comes mostly from books and a few conversations with older farmers. A two year old steer is going to be tougher than what you're used to from the grocery store, but that's mostly due to the fact that it's been walking around in a pasture as opposed to crammed into a feedlot somewhere. Muscle is better than fat. It's a healthier meat, as a rule.

My plan is to have dairy cows (Jerseys or Swiss) and then breed them to a Black Angus. The resulting cross will put on weight nicely and we'll butcher them after about one year, just before we put them on hay for the winter. We'll pull in about 400-500 pounds of meat, they tell us, and it'll be a premium meat for coming from a calf so young. Plus I get the added bonus of not having to carry it through the winter. That's a pretty low cost beef there.

Let us know how that roast comes out!
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
2,373 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
Thanks Ernie! I sometimes feel so dumb for asking things like that, but I have been around lots of critters being raised, just not calves. I am so excited and anxious to try this. I was a little embarrassed when the butcher said, okay, how do you want this cut up. I said, :shrug: "HUH" I have to decide this? LOL

He was very nice and explained it to me, but boy did I feel dumb.

I can dress out any critter you want me to, but it may never look like what you get in the store. LOL

I have had farm raised beef before, I just wasn't sure if my 2 year old meat was going to taste like shoe leather or if it would be pretty good stuff. I wish I had someone closer to help me and my husband figure out stuff like this.

We will get another experience in a few months when we start dealing with the pot bellied pigs. Have quite a few boars that will be ready to go, and we are going to do them ourselves. I have checked with George's website on the pigs, so hopefully we'll do it right. :hobbyhors Gotta love the farm life!
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
819 Posts
I just bought a 1/4 of a steer and the guy I bought it from said his only dressed out at about 450 #'s this time. The butcher also lets it hang for 10 days before cutting, wrapping and freezing which helps make it tender. Did you have yours aged? We age deer and chicken which we process here at home too.

Sherry in GA
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
2,373 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
Yes, ours was aged, but only a little. The guy ages these about 6 days before he cuts them, but I'm okay with it. He has been in business for many years and comes highly recommended. Another part of this forum said I needed to request the heart, liver, and tongue or he would keep them and sell the tongue for $15 a pound. Well, not so here. He told me that he would just cut the liver and wrap it, and slice up the heart and send it, and oh yeah, he'd send the tongue too. Now, I'm not going to eat that thing, but I may find a friend who wants it. I don't do the heart either. Hubby does the liver. What I wanted was some soup bones and I think he packed up about 5 packages of those for me, so there is some nice beef soup in my future!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,447 Posts
2 years is not too old at all. As a matter of fact, I prefer beef that is 1.5 to 2 yrs. of age. It actually has time to develop flavor. Commercial cattle is fed to kill weight in the shortest time possible and they don't develop good beef flavor. Commercial diet has a lot to do with it too.
It seems that there is a big difference between making money on beef and making good palatable table fare (IMHO).

Congrats on putting up so much of your own food. It's really a cool thing, isn't it?
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
2,373 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
Yes, it really is. We do have a commerical processor sometimes do our chickens but this time we have run out of money at the time they need to go, and the processor has raised his prices on us by 25 cents, up to $1.50 and then charges 25 cents more for each of the bags that are really good bags from the butcher, so 100 chickens gets to be a little expensive to process. We have an old flat top style plucker and last year when we tried it, we broke more wings and tore up chickens everywhere, but I think the big problem is that we got the scalding water too hot, and it just cooked the meat before we even plucked it, but this year, we are going to do it a little different.

I do have a question though, if you are doing chickens, and you don't have a plucker, how many chickens can you do reasonably in a day, with just 2 people? I am thinking we should be able to get at least 30 of these birds done tomorrow. Do you think that is unreasonable, even if we don't get to use the plucker?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,802 Posts
If you don't want to eat the liver & tongue - feed it to your Muscovy! They'll go crazy for it. ;)
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
2,373 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
I have dogs too, but hubby likes the liver and for some reason he wants to save the tongue. I am not sure if he is working up the nerve to eat it or what, but he better decide to eat it raw, cause I'm not cooking that thing! LOL I don't have a clue how to do it anyway. LOL
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
685 Posts
I'm learning this stuff too, but from what I've read, the time to butcher varies. Most of the time it is at about 1 year or so, but 2 years is pretty common too.

Besides age, another major factor in toughness is how the animal was cared for during the last few months of it's life. I was reading on the CattleToday site and there was a fellow who butchered and ate even his older animals (6 years or so, if I remember correctly). He said the key was to put them in a paddock / corral for the last few months. He didn't grain feed them like they do in the feed lots, he just provided lots of fresh hay. But being confined to the paddock, they get less exercise, which decreases toughness. Another poster said age was less of a problem if the meat was aged for more than 10 days or so.

Apparently, there are several factors affecting toughness:

1) the amount of activity the last few months of life
2) Processing (how long it was aged)
3) the age of the animal
4) the cut of meat
5) genetics of the animal

Those are the ones I've identified in my quest for great steak... hope this helps.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
609 Posts
Don't knock the tongue my first time to try it was back in early 1980's. We had a run of bad luck and all the meat was gone except the tongue and ox-tail.The ox-tail makes great soup, the tongue after I cleared my mind and did not think about were it came from was tender and great tasting. Just hard to get my wife to cook it. Glenn
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
572 Posts
The best beef and noodles come from the heart. Just cut off all the stringy stuff and crockpot it all day or all night-----you will never want noodles with anything elese again.

Toung----same thing---crock pot it. Put ing the fridge--the next day, slice it and then peel off the skin and dicard the skin. BEST sandwich meat ever.

Don't say ICK-----you aint a true country person unless you eat heart and tounge.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
6,787 Posts
If you keep the temps near freezing 21 days is the optimal time to age always ask the buther if he can age it that longthe last steer I had donecost me $5 to have it aged 21 days instead of 7
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
2,965 Posts
I found directions for cooking tongue in The Joy of Cooking cookbook. It was difficult to do, but I thought that I should, so I just pushed ahead. Those directions also called for chilling and skinning after cooking. We had it on crackers and it was surprisingly good.

We didn't even have a cow, I purchased the tongue at the grocery store. Every once in a while, I feel the need to push out of my confort zone a bit - and preparing tongue surely did it!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,388 Posts
dunroven said:
I do have a question though, if you are doing chickens, and you don't have a plucker, how many chickens can you do reasonably in a day, with just 2 people?
Please don't laugh, but the most I've done in a day is 5. But that was by myself, and because that's all the refrigerator space I could come up with. I'm still new to it and it takes me about 20 minutes a chicken. :rolleyes: I spend a lot of time flipping it over and furrowing my brow :help:

I skin my chickens. Once you do a few of them you get the hang of it and it goes pretty quickly. Maybe y'all could skin a dozen or so and see how it goes?

Marilyn, I always admire people for pushing out of their comfort zone. Good on you!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,990 Posts
dunroven said:
I do have a question though, if you are doing chickens, and you don't have a plucker, how many chickens can you do reasonably in a day, with just 2 people? I am thinking we should be able to get at least 30 of these birds done tomorrow. Do you think that is unreasonable, even if we don't get to use the plucker?
I got so I could do 20-25 broilers in a day all by myself (and not a particularly long day). I think you and Ross could do 30 in a day easy.
 

·
gracie88
Joined
·
913 Posts
We skin our chickens too. I realized that with store chickens I was pulling skin off for cooking most of the time anyway. The only time I left it on was for grilling or roasting a whole chicken and that just was not worth the extra time and effort of plucking for for me.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
660 Posts
Longer aging for beef makes a huge difference. If you can find someone who will hang it for you a *minimum* of 14 days it will be much more tender.

Also, we keep chickens refrigerated for at least 24 hours before cooking or freezing. We think they are much more tender that way also. The most chickens I ever did by myself with no plucker in one day was 10 or 12. I am not fast at hand plucking. We always pluck rather than skin.
 
1 - 20 of 36 Posts
Top