Thursday, February 24, 2011


It's what's for supper. Yum.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Making Bratwurst!

Kim and I mixed up our seasoning for the Bratwursts on Friday night. We packaged it up in 25 lb packages; until we ran out of rosemary and nutmeg. And then, Kim re-figured the math, and discovered that I am not to be relied upon when quadrupling a recipe. Let's just say I had
oct-tupled the rosemary. But, we figured out how to fix it, and went on our merry way; mixing spices.

Those spices we added to the ground pork and mixed it all in good on Saturday, letting the flavors blend overnight before we put it all in the casings. Our meat grinder came with sausage tubes, so that's what we used.
Bob bought real hog casings from his local butcher shop. Since they come in a salt brine, we had to wash and rinse them before using. (I don't have to explain what hog casings are, do I?)
The above shot is of the Casing on the sausage tube, with Kevin filling the casing.
This one looks a little obscene...however, it's the first brat off the assembly line and the meat had escaped out the end of the casing.

look much better! We made 3 kinds, plain, jalapeno, and cheese brats.

Bob, showing off his nice string of sausages...and all look to be pretty close in size too!
I can assure you, they are delicious.

Monday, February 14, 2011


I'm tired. We butchered 6 pigs and one goat this weekend. That was all accomplished on Saturday. Yesterday, we made bratwursts. 100 lbs of bratwursts. "Plain" ones, cheese ones and jalapeno brats. I'll post pictures later...cause I'm tired.

I would have preferred staying in bed today, but I got up and went to work...but I'm tired.

I'm also proud. Kim and Bob only brought one of their three children--Tate. Bailey and Dual had work and play practice, so they "got" to stay home. We weren't about to leave Miss Kat and Tate home alone--together--alone all day, so we made them come along to help us process our pigs.

Tate worked out in the shed with the other men while Kat stayed inside with us girls. And they worked. Tate deboned meat and got it ready for grinding for hamburger. I asked Tate what he learned out there with the guys and he replied, "What happens in the hog shed stays in the hog shed..." Which makes me wonder exactly what was said out there...

Miss Kat taped and wrapped packages of meat. Some packages she illustrated with pictures of flying pigs, pig angels, pigs withhearts and what-not. Somehow, she ended up with 5 goat shoulders--from one goat. Guess we forgot to tell her that one package is probably ribs and the other two are simply legs--not shoulders. But, still, she was a great help. And I don't even think we embarrassed her...too much... (and WE didn't have to put a "gag" order on her!)

We had great meals though. Deanna had some Taco rolls for lunch and I took enchiladas out for supper topped off with all the fixin's and finished with a pear pie and apricot pie. We went home tired but full.

This was our last butchering session of the year...I hope. Our freezers are plum full. On the other hand, we've got a year's worth--or more of good meat for our family. I might be tired, but it's a satisfying tired.

Now if I could just curl up in my office and take a nap!

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

A night at the auction

Kev and I went to the "Small Animal" Livestock auction last night. We were shopping for pigs to butcher this weekend. Now, we have pigs already lined up, we were just hoping to get some for a cheaper price.

This was our first time at this particular auction. When we got there, they were auctioning off chickens and other poultry. We saw quail, lots of roosters, some pullets, several peacocks and even parakeets. Kevin wouldn't buy me any peacocks. The cheapskate...on the other hand, while I appreciate their beauty, I really dislike their voices. So, I'm glad he didn't buy me any. I was confused by the parakeets--there were 8 cages of them with 10 to 12 birds in each cage. I think each cage sold for $10, but why on earth would you want a that many parakeets? You can't eat them, can you?

We've been told that the local Mexican population will drive up the price on chickens--paying as much as $10 per bird. While there were a lot of Mexican folk in the stands, not many were buying and as near as I can tell...these chickens didn't go anywhere near that high...unless the bid price was per bird in the cage and not the total for the cage. I'm not sure...see, we couldn't understand the auctioneer.

I hate the auctioneer "song". Some, you can understand, some you can't. The two last night were in the can't understand category. Most good auctioneers make their starting point clear and then you can follow along as they try to get a higher bid. These guys last night mumbled something terrible and we struggled to understand what the bid exactly was. At times, we figured it out, at other times, we had no idea. And it's not like we haven't been to auctions before!

After we watched the birds sold, they auctioned off a box of...crap. Tape, gloves, two camo hats...crap. Up next were some rabbits. I have no idea what they went for; I simply couldn't figure out what the bid was. Then came some calves. The first few sold for around $200, after that, they sold for $100 or less. Calves were followed by some cow/calf duo's. But most of the cows were either Longhorns or other beef type, not milk cows although they had one who was very tame and they said she could be milked. They also threw in some newborn calves with heifers (not their mothers) which I thought was interesting. Most of those sold around $600 per pair. I tried to get Kev to buy a couple of them too, but he just sat there and pretended not to hear me.

Finally, they brought in the pigs. Two boars sold for--I think--$700 each. Then a couple of market/butcher sized pigs...but we couldn't understand the darn auctioneer to know what they were going for! We could never figure out what they sold for. Then they brought in groups of pigs--6 or 7 at at time. Most weren't big enough to butcher yet, and you had to buy the lot. Since we didn't want to be stuck with 4 pigs we couldn't butcher yet, we passed.

From there, the pigs got smaller and smaller. Feeder pigs down to pigs just a few weeks old. The little pigs sold for $10 each. If we had a pen...we'd have bought them, but we don't, so we passed. They then brought in a Pot-Bellied pig. A sow. Behind her, they brought in a dozen or more Pot-Bellied piglets. At least two of the piglets belonged to the sow who wasn't happy about being separated, and the piglets were so little they went between the bars of the pen, running straight to their mama. The sow sold for $200, but the piglets...all of them went for a grand total of $1.25. Crazy.

At that point, they moved on to goats. We didn't stay for the goat auction. Maybe because we wanted to go home, maybe because Kevin knows I have a real weakness for goats and I might have bid on some...and he didn't want any. So, we went home.

We decided that we should go again--and maybe pick up some feeder pigs and feed them out ourselves. Of course that means we need to build a pen. I'd really like to pasture raise pigs which would be easier on our land, but I'm not sure how successful that would be out here with just 2 acres of pasture, no trees and not a lot of water. The auction was fun, but it would have been better if we could have understood the auctioneer and if we could have found the pigs we wanted. Who knows...maybe next time we'll go home with a goat or two, some pigs and maybe even a cow and never know what I'll talk Kev into buying!