The deed has been done and Assado, our young male goat, is no more. Those who would prefer not to learn about how to butcher a goat should probably not read further. From experience though, I know that many of our volunteers are really interested in learning more about the process. I salute them, because I strongly believe that if you eat meat, you should be prepared to kill it yourself.
From this ….
To this ….
But there’s lots of hard work in between!
So, start with your goat. Assado was a male goat, which is why we decided not to keep him. He was born March 12th, making him just over two months old.
You kill the goat by slitting it’s throat, but for kindness sake you’ll want to render it unconscious with a blow to the head. A goat’s head is unbelievably hard, solid bone, so be prepared with a heavy implement and a strong arm. Once it’s stunned, stringing it up will make the latter stages a lot easier.
Save the blood. Add a splash of red wine immediately and give it a good stir. It will stop it coagulating into a solid lump. You can include the blood in a host of recipes. Traditionally there are blood sausages of course, but our favourite is a rice dish. Certainly don’t allow it to go to waste. If an animal dies for your dinner it’s only right to make use of every scrap.
Here’s a tip. Tie up any dogs who may be interested in what you’re doing! An audience is fine, but there’s a limit … !
Cut around the skin of the back legs, then slit it downwards. You can then start separating the skin from the carcass. There’s a membrane which attaches it, and where this doesn’t tear it can be very gently loosened with a very sharp knife.
Cut around the anus, leaving it intact, and remove the genitals. Now’s the time to package up the testicles! A delicacy, honest. Poach lightly then cook in a omelette, with mushrooms if you need to bulk it up.
Now, if you’ve loosened the skin all around, you should be able to pull it straight downwards. You need to pull HARD, and stop and loosen the skin again if you start to tear the meat.
Same procedure with the front legs, then the head can come off with the assistance of a good sharp butcher’s axe.
If you want to reserve the brains for cooking, an axe between the horns splits the skull most effectively to enable their removal. Since raising our own meat I’ve learnt to enjoy many parts I would never have chosen to when meat was something that came shrink wrapped in the supermarket, testicles for instance! But I’m afraid the brain is too much for me still, so this head was donated to a neighbour who was pleased of the treat, much to the disgust of the dogs who are ever hopeful.
Gutting next. Very carefully, so that you don’t nick any of the innards, slit from between the legs down to the join of the rib cage. Placing a bowl underneath to catch everything, pull it all out. Yeauch! Tie the intestines off to prevent them leaking nasties all over your meat. You’ll want to save the liver and kidneys at this stage.
Once the stomach cavity is empty you can carefully tear the diaphragm and remove the heart and lungs. Save these to serve with your liver and kidneys.
Now you’ll be wanting to remove any odd tubes and grisly bits that you been left behind, including that intestine you tied. If you cut around the anus earlier, you should be able to pull it straight through. Tie the top as well if you’re struggling. It requires more hauling and tugging than instructions would have you believe!
Next comes the removal of the feet using that butcher’s axe again, followed by a good wash down. Congratulations, a goat carcass ready to cook!
For the sake of legality, employ a butcher!
We’ve already eaten Assado. He came in at a pretty impressive 12 kilos of meat ready to cook. I’ll tell you about our feast day tomorrow when the hangover subsides.