A reader of this site recently asked me to do a blog post on what tools are needed for home butchering, so this is for you girlfriend. Home butchering is such a fun past time, and if you learn how to do it yourself you can save a lot of money. Buying a whole animal from a farm, for example, will allow you to break it down into all of its important parts and store them separately, make the bones into nourishing stock, and fill your freezer for the year. You can share the cost of a whole animal with friends and do all of this butchering together. Friends that butcher together stay… never mind. It doesn’t have the same ring to it.
Here are the important tools for butchering. If you have anything to add, please share in the comments!
1. First off, you need a butchering workbench. This can be a large metal work table, but I like wood. Don’t worry about the blood, you can sanitize with a lot of salt and a dry brush later.
This is the kind I have in mind:
2. A curved knife it also important, but various sizes are good because sometimes you need to get into crevices or work with smaller animals.
A set like this:
3. Fat will dull your knife faster than pretty much anything else. You must, must, must have a diamond sharpener for all of the knives in your life. Things go so much more smoothly.
4. You will also need a meat saw. That is how you separate the major bones into more manageable pieces, particularly the spine.
Try this one.
5. Because this is serious work, you’ll need some heavy duty butcher gloves to protect your hands from bones and knives. I’ve gotten plenty of small cuts on my hands and they are a nuisance.
These are good. They also come in more expensive metal versions.
6. I get teased for butchering animals in white clothing, but I ain’t scared o’ no blood. Nevertheless, a waterproof apron is useful, since you’ll be hosing things down and getting elbow deep in some serious stuff. Blood does stain.
7. I love my meat grinder because it also works as a sausage stuffer. All of those extra bits and scraps of meat that don’t seem to belong to a particular cut can become sausage. Turn it into this recipe for example and you will have delicious sausage at breakfast every day.
8. A food saver is a popular item for storing protein because it helps remove all of the air from the bag before it goes into a freezer, ensuring that it lasts longer and doesn’t get freezer burn in the process. If you find you are going to be processing a lot of your own meat or fish, this is a worthwhile investment.
9. And with the FoodSaver, you’ll want the appropriate bags to seal things in. They come in all sorts of sizes:
Those are on the top of my gear list, my friends. Feel free to add your tips in the comments!
May your future be meaty and bright!