Butchering Season

Reader Contribution by Texas Pioneer Woman
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The weather has been awfully cold in my little corner of the forest, so that means it is butchering season. The children are almost all grown up, and it’s just me and the mister on the farm now, so we just butcher one large animal each year supplemented by poultry every now and then. When the children were still at home, we butchered one pig and one cow every year. Butchering our farm animals is how we get all of our meat for the year.

As I’m writing this, the temperature is 18 degrees outside, which is mighty cold in Texas. The coyotes are howling in the woods, but the farm animals have been fed and are locked in safely for the night. Having a freezer full of homegrown meat sure puts my mind at ease, provides a sense of security, and is a real testament to American farming and independence.

Slaughtering a cow or slaughtering a pig is not that difficult. It just requires a bit of planning and willingness to do a bit of work. After slaughtering and the carcass is cooled down comes my favorite part of butchering a cow, which is cutting up the steaks and making ground beef. My favorite part of butchering a pig is making sausage. I have also made hams and fresh homemade bacon from the pig as well, including rendering lard.

Here is a simple pork sausage recipe you might like to try to make this season.

Pork Sausage

12 pounds combined pork meat and pork fat *
4 tablespoons kosher salt
6 teaspoons dried sage
3 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
3 1/2 teaspoons brown sugar
2 teaspoons dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried marjoram
3/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

* I do a 75-percent meat and 25-percent fat blend. You can control your own ratio but, sausage has to be mixed with sufficient amount of fat to cook properly.


I mix the seasonings in a bowl and then sprinkle the seasonings over the pork meat and pork fat a bit at a time, blending it well with my hands to cover all pieces of meat and fat.

Next I cover the container with plastic wrapping and label. I then place my seasoned meat into the refrigerator overnight so the spices and herbs have time to permeate the meat.

Next day, I freeze the sausage for a couple of hours before grinding the meat. I use an electric meat grinder to grind up the pork to make sausage. I fry up a small sausage patty to taste to see if I need to add any more seasonings. Once I am content with the taste, I grind up the entire remaining sausage. I place a plastic meat bag at the end of the sausage funnel. I then feed small amounts of meat through the electric meat grinder. I pack the bag firmly.

After packing each meat bag, I twist the top and tie off with meat bag tape. I pack the sausage in 1-pound packages, label and date the packages, and place them in the freezer.

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