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- Publié sur Amazon.com
This book describes the setup, tools, steps and details of on-farm processing of livestock animals, and the subsequent butchering, packaging and storage of the same.
If you are looking at your own on-farm slaughter, then this book walks you through everything you need to know: tools, location, setup, killing, bleeding, evisceration, skinning (or scalding hogs/plucking poultry), cooling, cutting into primals, breaking down sub-primals, cutting individual portions, and finally packaging and storage. If you are looking to process an already-slaughtered animal (from a processor), then the handling of the carcass is also handled exceptionally well.
The book covers a lot of territory. The slaughter operations is detailed, and the photos are clear and descriptive. For those who might be looking for a "coffee table book", please skip this one. The pictures are quite detailed and many are not the least bit appropriate for the squeamish.
Slaughter is covered for pig, goat, lamb, chicken, duck, goose and some more I probably forgot. You learn those and you can tackle most anything (note that there are no "game" processing in here - it does not cover deer processing through the book would absolutely help you there, as well).
Likewise, lots of detailed pictures on butchery of a carcass. There are useful and engaging sections on the biology and chemistry of muscle and aging - from rigor mortis through outright decay. The trick is to find the happy middle, and this book gets you there by discussing proper aging techniques and times, as well as what to look for and what to expect.
The book shines especially for on-farm or homesteader operations. The slaughter pictures are absolutely spot-on for these crowds: all pictures are "in the field" and assume nothing more than the average farmer might have: tractors, loaders (for big animals), etc. The author does not assume you have a concrete bunker/abbatoire, walk-in coolers or flash freezers.
Sanitation and hazard control are priorities, and much time is spent walking through the ways the farmer or at-home processor can significantly decrease the risks and issues inherent in processing of freshly slaughtered animals. That said, this is not a USDA facility prep guide. You cannot sell this stuff to the public without going through state or federal processes (and in some cases, facilities).
What I like about this book most is the realistic and pragmatic understanding of what on-farm processing entails. For instance, when discussing aging it talks about the optimal aging experience (cooled, controlled and monitored chilling and aging for specific times) and then dives right into the issues many face: no way to guarantee those conditions using "natural" cooling (cold night after a daytime slaughter). The author gives about as clear guidance as possible here: based on conditions, in many you need to process immediately rather than risk bacterial spoilage. You cannot control the weather, but you can control spoilage.
On the downside, the hardcover pages feel like they might eventually slip out from their bindings.
I am not new to these topics. I have slaughtered several species on-farm using many of the same techniques. I am also state-certified and inspected for poultry (big livestock must go through the feds if you plan to sell the end product). But the book is quite valuable because I was able to get ideas to do some things better, and also learned some things I have never tried. Also, I never tire of seeing people do the same thing I do, in different ways.
Another great good point for this book: no recipes that fill pages. If I wanted a cook book, I'd buy one.
Summary: if you are thinking of slaughtering your own animals - or butchering one that was slaughtered for you - then this book is going to get you through those steps on its own. It is the singular best source for this information I have yet found. If you have done ti before, this book will almost surely give you ideas and advice that will help. For the cost of a decent knife, you get a great resource at your fingertips.