Monday, September 15, 2008

MyTown Monday: Rural Oklahoma

(photo credit YPN--see Psychic Niece, I did credit you!)

This My Town Monday post comes to you all the way from rural Oklahoma where Child #4 and I are hanging with DH's side of the family. Then, on Thursday, I'll be on a panel with four other Class of 2k8ers at EncycloMedia in Oklahoma City ("the City" as they say here). Yikes! So not thinking about that right now. So not getting nervous yet.

Anyway, today I visited Mark, one of DH's best buds from high school. From waaay back when. And this friend and his wife have their very own meat processing business, out here in the country off Highway 270. This is Mark, holding up a steer's tail, which, when boiled, makes great oxtail soup.

Mondays and Thursdays are killing days. I took this photo of a bull yesterday, on Sunday. You can do the math from there. WEIRD TRIVIA: If you're ever planning to have a bull butchered, make sure it happens before he hooks up with a heifer or...the meat will taste funky. Either that or have your bull castrated at birth.

The animal comes in from the pen outside to this pen inside where it's shot in the head. The side of this pen lifts up and the body is rolled out, then strung up by its hind legs way up high on hooks. A barrel is placed under the body to catch the blood. MORE WEIRD TRIVIA: Some people ask the butcher to reserve a jar of blood, which, after it gels, they slice up for fish bait. (Sorry, no pic of the hook system; they weren't descended enough from the ceiling.)

Then the animal us unhooked and laid out on this rack for skinning.

Then, it's back up on the hooks to finish the skinning and take out the insides.

The meat cures in the freezer for a couple of weeks.

The meat is cut into steaks, roasts and ground. A steer (a castrated bull) with a live weight of 1200 pounds dresses out to a bunch of meat packets weighiing about 700 pounds. WEIRD TRIVIA: What we call tri tip in California, they call brisket here.

Here's a bunch of packaged meat in a freezer, waiting to be picked up.



I know there's a gross element to all this, but, honestly, even as a totally citified girl, I found this entire visit fascinating. And not just because I'm a sucker for weird trivia. No, it's because this guy figured out what was missing in his community, filled the void and is making a pretty decent living at it.

And isn't that what it's all about? Finding out where you fit in in life?

Please visit Travis Erwin, the guy who spearheads My Town Mondays. He'll have a list of links to other Mondayers.

27 comments:

Beth Yarnall said...

I'm sure the PC police will be all over this not to mention PETA and other groups, but.... meat is good. It's delicious. Your post is like that show on Food Network called- How'd That Get On My Plate? I thought it was interesting and informative. Thanks!

Laura said...

WOW - interesting!

My cousins live on a rabbit and chicken farm. They take visitors on tours and can name 2 rows of cages rabbits and chicks - but when you get to the third row if you ask them what the animals names are they quickly reply : Oh they have no names, they are on death row!"

Thanks for sharing - I enjoy your Monday posts!

David Cranmer said...

Great post! The bull, heifer funky tasting meat (because of the hook up) is fascinating... And good luck on your panel.

debra said...

interesting factoid about the funky tasting meat. Goat milk tastes funky when the buck is near, too.

deboradale said...

As soon as I read this was a meat processing plant, I had to stop. I'm grateful to be a vegetarian. I couldn't sleep peacefully knowing an animal was butchered so I could slice and serve it to my family. And to think, my father used to be a butcher.

~Debbie

pattinase (abbott) said...

I guess I have much more respect for vegetarians after this.

laughingwolf said...

great stuff, but are they not subject to food inspectors?

the selling of food in canada has become a joke, in many places... :(

Travis Erwin said...

Only problem with this post is now I'm hungry for a good steak.

Charles Gramlich said...

There used to be a little place like this in Charleston, Arkansas that always handled our butchering. I remember going in there at times, seeing the great silver lockers all frozen and packed with meat. I respect vegitarians but I could not be one. And if I'm going to eat meat I don't try to hide from myself what has to happen to it.

Barrie said...

Laughing Wolf: I would imagine they are subject to inspection. They definitely mentioned some of the rules they followed.

Linda McLaughlin said...

Barrie, I thought your post was very interesting. Heck, I'm so old, I remember when every supermarket had its own butcher. Back in the 1950s, my dad used to deliver meat to the markets and it wasn't all neatly packaged. He had to pick up cow parts, including the hindquarters which were very heavy, with his meat hook and haul them inside using people power. The good old days, ha!

Linda

Reb said...

This must be cattle week! Fascinating post, I just picked up some of my sister's beef (and bison, elk and moose) and met the new calves. I used to go to our local slaughter house to pick up the meat for the little food kiosk I used to run. Could never stand the smell in there, but the meat was so good. Now I know what went on in the back.

Angela said...

Food is so disconnected from what it once was.

I do enjoy these posts but don't think I could have done that job.

Larramie said...

This is reality but SO glad I rarely eat meat.

Heather said...

I think that I just became a vegetarian.

Terrie Farley Moran said...

Thanks for an insightful post.

Terrie

Barbara Martin said...

That's the cleanest abattoir I've seen in some time.

Annie said...

LOL - You brave, brave girl

keri mikulski :) said...

Interesting. Thanks for sharing. :)

Mary said...

As a vegetarian, or rather a pescatarian (I do eat fish), I’m extremely uncomfortable with all aspects of the meat industry. But it does exist, and I would never preach about not eating meat. Anyone who identifies a gap in the market then builds a business has my respect. So, yes, an interesting post! :)

Bina said...

Okay, I've been around cattle quite a bit, and I NEVER knew steer's would taste different if they had sex! I wonder if that's why the ONE time we split one with a neighbor, it DID taste funny, and I wouldn't even cook the meat.

Makes me wonder.

Ello said...

I adore oxtail soup! Ok but your weird fact trivia was so hysterical I could not stop laughing about that. Is that odd? Yes that is definitely odd.

Eileen said...

I've been to a chicken processing plant- (shudders)

Carleen Brice said...

Good luck on your panel. I'm doing two Saturday, so I know the feeling!

And if this ain't good writing material I don't know what is!

~Virginia~ said...

and to think i was hungry for a good steak a minute ago...

TJ Brown said...

Great post... I would rather my meat came form a clean fmaily run place than a manufacturing plant. And good luck on the panel... it is going to be fun, you'll see!
Teri

Michele said...

Interesting trivia! Wow. Good luck with your panel...