Look at Pepper if you think you will be upset. Isn't she beautiful?
At this point I'll allow tender folks and goat snugglers to opt out and provide ample warning that we are gonna talk about butchering a goat. Yes a goat. That soft eyed little lovekins you have in your yard. We butchered one and we don't even feel bad. If you feel bad then don't read on. This is not a step by step but just an account of what happened. There is only one picture of meat on a table, a couple stupid jokes, and a fair amount of insensitivity. If you feel the need to tell me you are a vegetarian and blah blah blah I will not publish your comment. I am clear on your position. If you are going to cry then please look at beautiful little Pepper and then look away. Come back tomorrow, I'm sure we'll talk about tomatoes.
First, I'll say that guy had it coming. Yes I'm talking about Tommy Boy. After Nibbles had her babies I think she went back into heat because he was on a mission to get to her. He might have actually gotten her which is a problem because I don't know what I'd do with babies in October. He was also wildly in rut and becoming not only a pain but a little dangerous. Sure he was not a full sized Boer, but I need to work in the barnyard and not worry about bending over to pick up a feed dish and him conking me on the noggin.
The final straw was when he destroyed the door of the turkey house. So I went out there, chased him down, drug him back and relocked the door. Then Kai started barking and again there he was... he had jumped thru the glass window! Unfortunately his zeal cost him is position a this farm. I do not have time for that kind of foolishness.
So we boldly marched out there on Sunday morning. The problem was that there is not a ton of information on how to effectively butcher a goat. I supposed it was much like processing a deer. I read what I could and all I could surmise was that everyone is different and there is no "right" way. So as always we did what works best for us.
Before we let any of the barnyard inhabitants out we went and got our volunteer. We walked him to a spot near a tree with a sturdy branch, secured the trotters so there would be no running away, I ran away to the deck to stand with the dogs, and my husband provided the kill shot. It worked. It was not dramatic. Easy peasy. We would suggest a downward shot to the back of the head with a bigger-than-a-.22-slug.
Then hubs used a sharp, boning knife to cut the throat just behind the jaw (to preserve as much of the neck as possible) to allow the bleed out. This worked really well. Then the dogs and I looked at each other and shrugged. That was it.
We used a 'come-along' to hoist the carcass as to hang it from the sturdy branch. This worked great. Then I got the dogs and let them sniff all around. They thought it was terrific.
Then we went and did chores. The chickens showed up and they thought it was terrific.
The goats were all peeping out from under the goat house door when I went to let them out. Mostly they wanted to be fed but Nibbles walked down the hill and gave me a questioning look. But she forgot all about it when I brought out the feed scoop. I don't think they thought it was terrific but they they didn't seem overly concerned.
Look how much meat we got! This was a small, "mini" type goat. But tons of meat.
Then we had to get down to business. To be sure this was a first for us and a trial run. We figured if the meat was bad, it was too hard to butcher, or we were just creeped out then we'd just toss the carcass on a huge burn pile and be done with it. But we sure wanted to give it a go.
The first thing I learned was that this whole thing about how you skin and gut a carcass while it's hanging is for the birds. There was way to much flopping around and I was exactly at eye height with his.. um.. that is... uh.. "coin purse" which was freakin' me out, man. So we went and got my table, lowered the carcass, and got to work.
The skinning wasn't going smoothly so I asked my hubs to go and get my small, hooked paring knife. Instead he brought me my 12" cimeter and I skinned that carcass like a boss. It was awesome.
Because we had laid out the carcass on my worktable we just proceeded to gut and skin like we process pigs. I had a little trouble with the hip/pelvic bones but I think next time it will make more sense. Once again we used the sawsall to take off the trotters and to split the halves. This worked much faster but my meat saw worked just fine.
Then we just needed to quarter up the sides and shove the whole thing in the fridge to cool down.
We had heard so many stories of how the meat from a buck would be stanky, gross, tough, etc that we had no idea what to expect. So I took off the hocks - the lower leg bones - and we fired up the grill eager to see what we got ourselves into. Soon the outside smelled like BBQ heaven....
After double dog daring each other several times, calling each other's courage into question, and some chest beating... we took a small piece of cooked meat.. and ate it.
It was marvelous. Not lamby, not beefy, not porky... but something between lamb and pork. It was tender and mild and not stanky.
As there wasn't much meat on the hocks I gave one to each dog, thusly securing their love for me. They thought it was terrific.
We also couldn't find any consistent information about if or how long we should chill or age the meat. My trusty friend, J, provided the most sensible advice which was if we were gonna cook it then fire it up... and if we were gonna freeze it then let it rest in the fridge for a day or two. So that's what we did.
One thing that made the most sense, tho, was the idea that much of the goat meat is consumed in hot climates.. so there is no refrigeration. I'm guessing they just proceed with the cooking. As I understand it, goat meat is pretty lean so you need to use lower heat so it doesn't get tough.
Our first goat meat experiment was last nite - I made a stir-ish fry. I love meat fried up in a pan so I got out my favorite cast iron pan, heated it up, added some chicken fat then tossed in some meat pieces. With zero spices and no salt the first piece tasted like... meat. Yep. There you have it. It was not stanky or bucky or gross. Just meat.
So then I spiced up the rest of the pieces, tossed with flour and corn starch, fried it up, added some peppers and green beans and voila.... General Tsao's Goat Meat. It was terrific. I'm just about to go and make fried rice with the left overs. Today I'm going to marinate some meat in yogurt, make pita's and we'll have kebabs. It will be terrific.
How about some Q and A with typical questions that I normally receive when we do this kind of thing....
Q. EEEWWWWEEEEEEEE how could you DO that!?!? *gasps* But... but... wasn't that goat your FRIEND and did you LOVE him?
A. No. Calm down. It was not horrible. We'll just file this under "everyone had their own limit" so do what is best for you. Remember that we won't do meat rabbits - for no good reason. But this was very easy and we are not emotionally damaged. And it's now exceptionally peaceful and quiet in the barnyard which are the perfect conditions for me to go and fix the turkey house from all that damage.
Q. But... but wasn't there crying?
A. Only when the dogs saw that I was bringing them a tray of meat... then there were real tears of love in their eyes.
Q. What tools did you use?
A. A gun, a boning knife, my bad assed cimeter, a paring knife, my meat saw, and the sawsall (because it was faster). We worked on an outside table, had the hose nearby, and a big garbage can so we could just dump all the guts right in there. Easy peasy. You can also check out my Amazon store for all our butcher day tools, with links to my knives and such.
Q. Are you sure the meat isn't gross, gamey, stanky?
A. Seriously. It's not. And I was a little surprised. That guy was stanky in life but as meat it's just mild and delicious. We took care not to contaminate the meat from any ...um... spillage. I was worried that the hair would make the meat stanky... which is why we mostly skinned the carcass before we got to the gutting.
Q. What are you going to do with the meat?
A: Eat it. We'll use it like we use all the meat we grow - fried up in a pan, I might grind some, but I'll cut most of it up into chunks so we can grill it as kebabs or use in General Tsao's Goat Meat. And curry... I gotta make a curry.
Q. Will you do this again?
A: Oh yes. This was such a raging success that we are thrilled with the results. In fact we are hoping for a slew of bucklings so we can load up the freezer. This has revolutionized everything. Our only regret is that we waited so long.
Q. But now you don't have a buck for breeding this fall.
A. We'll get another - around here they are a dime a dozen. We just won't wait so long this time.
So that's what happened. We are completely sold on goat meat and are absolutely excited that we have learned a new skill.
Happy Tuesday everyone! Is anyone freaked out too bad? Do you think you can butcher a goat? I know you can, come on now... lets get this goat meat revolution underway!
Editor's note: How could I possibly be so insensitive as to include affiliate links to my Amazon store in a post about butchering a goat!?!? Well because folks always ask what tools - exactly - we use. I've tried to say "a boning knife" but then people ask, "which one." So that's why. It's not predatory marketing I'm just trying to answer the questions. And that cimeter is totally bad ass so you should get one. Just don't cut your hand off, seriously it's for professionals. Remember, anything you buy from Amazon by clicking on these links gets me a tiny percentage of the sale. If you like this blog, or if I've helped you at all in your farming efforts, just make a purchase from Amazon from one of the links, my store, or the black Amazon search box on the right side of this page. You can buy anything - hopefully something you need anyway. Thanks!