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Old 02-07-2017, 10:47 AM   #1
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Butchering question WWYD

I'm wondering if you all could answer this.


Friends butchered a cow for the first time. They rushed to process it themselves. They just threw a tarp over a ping pong table at the small school we have.

My friend got a portion of the meat in exchange for helping.

She said she opened a package and it smelled like barn. It smelled like animal as opposed to raw meat. Her kids wouldn't eat it. Other packages have been fine.

Now she's worried that she has all this meat and it's going to go to waste.

What do you think is the issue? Is it safe to eat?

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Old 02-07-2017, 10:53 AM   #2
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Re: Butchering question WWYD

It's plenty safe. They should have hung the meat for a week or two before processing it. It could affect the flavor of some of the cuts (like the one package smelling like barn) but it is perfectly safe to eat. Assuming it's frozen and cooked properly of course.


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Old 02-07-2017, 12:57 PM   #3
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Re: Butchering question WWYD

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It's plenty safe. They should have hung the meat for a week or two before processing it. It could affect the flavor of some of the cuts (like the one package smelling like barn) but it is perfectly safe to eat. Assuming it's frozen and cooked properly of course.


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Thank you. I don't think the meat was hung. I'll let her know.
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Old 02-07-2017, 08:20 PM   #4
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Re: Butchering question WWYD

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Thank you. I don't think the meat was hung. I'll let her know.


I have no idea how to hang meat, just that it should be hung.

It's the same process for deer. If you skin and process the deer immediately after killing it, it will smell and taste like a sweaty animal. But if you "cure" it somehow, by hanging or soaking, it will lose what some people refer to as "gaminess" in the taste. There are a million different ways to do it for deer, but I don't know if it's the same for something as big as a cow. Deer have to be kept pretty cool while curing. I'm sure cows do too and we don't have the facility to do the same for cows. Yet. It's on our list!

This is something our family is debating now actually. We are splitting a cow with my grandmother this time. She wants to use a different processor. The new processor hangs meat for two weeks and charges twice as much. Our old faithful processor hangs for one week and doesn't charge as much. He is farther away but not by much.

Why on earth does she want to change things up now? Why pay more when the old processor is fabulous? She drives me nuts with her non-logic. I don't think I want the meat to hang for two weeks. That is yucky to me. Sigh. I have always hated group work.
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Old 02-08-2017, 04:40 PM   #5
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Re: Butchering question WWYD

My understanding is that hanging it let's the blood drain. If they didn't hang the meat out the muscle will be saturated in blood which will give it a stronger taste.
I think fresh small produced meat will taste different than mass produced grain fed meat from the store.
Chirpy, the new processer may be federally inspected which would cause the price to jump like that.

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Old 02-08-2017, 04:53 PM   #6
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Re: Butchering question WWYD

If they processed the meat immediately and correctly, the innards, meaning the intestines (bile, fecal, bladder, organs, liver, etc.) would not have contaminated the rest of the meat, nor given it a spoiled barn smell. Many times, spills spoil the meat even after flushing it during the process. The hanging to drain blood is separate, and meant to dry it out from the fluids causing gaminess and rancidity. It deals with the gaminess in the taste of the meat, not the smell, as you posted concern on. Just want to add that what one purchases at the supermarket meat section looks, smells, and cooks differently than farm processed. If she wants to eat it, then I guess cooking it properly, maybe with a pressure cooker reaching 220 degrees or so, just for safety. I would not consume this myself, but this is a WWYD question, just MHO, and I would err on the side of not sure it is safe. I go by, "when in doubt, throw it out" philosophy when it comes to food. Asking a butcher in the area to guide you with this, or perhaps, to have you watch him process meat (if possible) will help for this, and any other processing in the future.

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Old 02-08-2017, 06:52 PM   #7
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Re: Butchering question WWYD

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If they processed the meat immediately and correctly, the innards, meaning the intestines (bile, fecal, bladder, organs, liver, etc.) would not have contaminated the rest of the meat, nor given it a spoiled barn smell. Many times, spills spoil the meat even after flushing it during the process. The hanging to drain blood is separate, and meant to dry it out from the fluids causing gaminess and rancidity. It deals with the gaminess in the taste of the meat, not the smell, as you posted concern on. Just want to add that what one purchases at the supermarket meat section looks, smells, and cooks differently than farm processed. If she wants to eat it, then I guess cooking it properly, maybe with a pressure cooker reaching 220 degrees or so, just for safety. I would not consume this myself, but this is a WWYD question, just MHO, and I would err on the side of not sure it is safe. I go by, "when in doubt, throw it out" philosophy when it comes to food. Asking a butcher in the area to guide you with this, or perhaps, to have you watch him process meat (if possible) will help for this, and any other processing in the future.
Ha I go by "when in doubt, cook it good and eat it." I can't stand throwing out food. Something smells a little funny? I'll cook it and serve it, and if it doesn't go down well, THEN I'll consider throwing it out I have a lot of faith in cooking to kill bacteria
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Old 02-08-2017, 07:04 PM   #8
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Re: Butchering question WWYD

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Originally Posted by MamaChirpy View Post
This is something our family is debating now actually. We are splitting a cow with my grandmother this time. She wants to use a different processor. The new processor hangs meat for two weeks and charges twice as much. Our old faithful processor hangs for one week and doesn't charge as much. He is farther away but not by much.

Why on earth does she want to change things up now? Why pay more when the old processor is fabulous? She drives me nuts with her non-logic. I don't think I want the meat to hang for two weeks. That is yucky to me. Sigh. I have always hated group work.
Hanging a cow is just like hanging a deer...it partially cures the meat through bacteria. The longer it hangs, the better the flavor. It is kept cool enough to be safe but warm enough to break down the tough connective tissue and make it "melt in your mouth." I've had cows that hung for one week vs two and the difference is very striking. Worth the extra expense IMO.
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Old 02-08-2017, 07:05 PM   #9
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Re: Butchering question WWYD

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Hanging a cow is just like hanging a deer...it cures the meat. The longer it hangs, the better the flavor. It is kept cool enough to be safe but warm enough to break down the tough connective tissue and make it "melt in your mouth." I've had cows that hung for one week vs two and the difference is very striking. Worth the extra expense IMO.


Ooh that is great information! Thank you!
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Old 02-08-2017, 07:12 PM   #10
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Re: Butchering question WWYD

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Ha I go by "when in doubt, cook it good and eat it." I can't stand throwing out food. Something smells a little funny? I'll cook it and serve it, and if it doesn't go down well, THEN I'll consider throwing it out I have a lot of faith in cooking to kill bacteria
Be careful, the really dangerous toxins in food can't be killed by cooking because they aren't alive to begin with. They are the toxins released by bacteria in/on raw meat before it is ever cooked, or on cooked meat that has sat out and gotten recontaminated by the bacteria in the air. If it is long enough--even if it's been the fridge--the bacteria reproduce at an exponential rate. Their waste is what causes it to smell funny or look off. That toxin waste is what is so dangerous. You can kill e.coli and salmonella, for example, but you can't kill their waste matter by heat or cold because it's not alive.

I can't stand throwing out food, either. We raised and butchered our own chickens last year and I had cooked one and was letting it cook a bit before taking the meat off the bones. I accidentally left it out all night. It looked and smelled fine but it went to the cats to eat :/. There was 8 pounds of free-range meat on that bird, not to mention the bones to make broth, but I couldn't chance it.

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