While waiting for the first saleable meat to finish we wanted to try out the local butcher to see if he would work out for us. We also have four children and are totally fed up with paying for beef at the supermarket when we have health and flavor walking around the fields. So we selected a 14 month old intact bull for slaughter. Yes folks, beef comes from cows.
Here’s the local butcher’s room. Not too fancy but nicely equipped. That band saw on the left is useful.
Our expectations for a young bull were: lean, little marbling, some flavor, some tenderness. A young intact male (i.e. a bull not a steer) can give you good beef especially if you are one of those folk that likes your beef lower in fat. The question was going to be how well do our techniques bring out the flavor?
Here are the best parts of the cow. You have the rib-eye/faux filet/porterhouse on the right of the t-bone and the filet on the left. These are meats you can cook quickly. When you want a good steak it is from this part of the animal. There are other sources of steak on a beef carcass, but this is the fanciest (and most expensive) part.
Splitting it into two give you rib-eye steaks on the right and t-bones on the left, or you can split the t-bone into its constituent parts. We decided to keep them as t-bones just for fun since you can’t find them in France.
The whole carcass was dry-aged for 19 days, which is a lot for a lean young bull.
The meat has a little marbling, but not where the older animals will get to. The bits of fat sticking to the meat on the t-bone below come from the marrow in the bone, some of the best fat there is. Maybe you remember eating the marrow as a kid. I certainly did.
Shank cuts for braising.
Filling up big bags for flavorful stew meat. The bones and scraps on the left will go some very happy farm dogs.
The meat all cut.
The pasture-feeding stores a lot of flavor in the meat, the dry aging concentrates this flavor. The lack of wetness in Salers beef lets you brown the steaks in a strong Maillard reaction. All three things combined to make this beef very tasty, which was a surprise to us. We’re waiting to see how the first fully matured animal will turn out. Now we can be beef eaters again.