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Wednesday, December 31, 2008

How To Butcher Your Meat Goat

We need to back track a bit with the story. Sunday I called my good neighbor to ask if he still planned on raising heritage turkeys this spring, we wanted to do a little dealing with him so that we could skip turkeys this year, and raise geese. With those plans made, he asked about our previous squatter, who is now out of jail. The squatter had called and said he planned on being out here on Monday, and Good Neighbor wanted him to butcher his 2 Boer kids for him. "we can do that."

Monday the good neighbor came over, it was decided that if the squatter wasn't here by 2, that we would go ahead and do it ourselves. The squatter didn't show, and a few minutes after 2pm, we heard a gun shot.

To kill your goat, separate him out from the rest of the animals, distracting him with a pan of food. While he eats, place your gun close to the back of his head, right below the horns. Goats skulls are hard, using a hammer or just hitting him, might knock him out, Good Neighbor used his .38.

Next throw the goat into the back of your truck and drive over to our house. Not sure why these things must occur on our property, and that we can't come to their property. It's not like every one already thinks were odd or something.

Now we need to hang the goat. We have a wood rack, without wood, that we flipped, reminds you of monkey bars, and hung one leg, tied with rope, on each side. Slit the goats throat to allow it to bleed out.
Pose with the goat
Then pose with the goat for a photo opt. This Boer kid is not a whether, and is 9 months old. I have read that it is normal for a goat to be butchered between the ages of 5 months to 9 months.

Once again I run into the problem of no one agreeing with how long to allow the animal to hang before doing everything else to it. We decided on twenty minutes.

Starting at the top of the upside down goat, you want to cut the skin, without cutting into the meat, around the genitalia, then down his chest. Of course this takes 2 men to do that part of it.

Take two

But do you know what only takes 1 person to do? Cutting around the anus of a goat, pulling it out and tying a bow around it. And do you know who gets to do that part? Correct, the girl!

Good neighbor couldn't breathe he was laughing so hard, and he took this photo,
Neighbor thought this was too funny
Yes, that would be my finger inside of a goat butt. Hey, in my defense I was trying to keep hold of it as I cut the bottom (no pun!) side of it.

You need to use a piece of twine to tie the intestine. Of course the boys, I mean men, didn't hand me a piece of string, so I tied a bow.

Tie it with a bow

We discovered that it takes a bit of time to skin a goat. Maybe that is why there is no notes on how long to bleed one out.
Father son moment

This is a project that should be started in the early morning and not in the late afternoon.

Once you get the skin down to the neck you can either cut the skin off there, or continue on, depending on what you want to do with the hide. We decided to stop at the neck.


Next you step back and stare at it, while the horror freak mentions that this reminds her of a scene from HellRaiser. . .

Then all the boys tell the girl that she needs to cut the umm...scrotum off the carcass. Said girl gives boys the evil eye, then using a pair of field dress scissors, to cut the scrotum off, while the boys make all kinds of crude comments about how the girl didn't even hesitate on doing that, and ouching at certain times. Flip the scrotum sac inside out and pop the testicles out. Throw some salt inside the empty sac, and you have a coin purse to remind those boys that you have a pair of field scissors and ain't afraid to use them. Next you remove the penis. This is the simplest thing to remove (no pun) start at the belly, snip underneath it, then cut all the way up. We discovered that this part doesn't come out with the innards, so snip it off. No photos because boys are wusses.

Remove the head.

Now you want to saw open the aitch bone. (H-bone)

Saw through the aitch bone

As you can see here, this is like the pelvic bone. It is rather tough, saw is the best way to go. BE CAREFUL!!! You don't want to rupture anything inside, that would be yucky. At this point the goats belly is bloating up ~shiver~ If you hear a hissing noise, that means something has ruptured and it will stink once you open your goat. No worries however, this doesn't spoil the meat like it does with birds.

Carefully slit the meat from the aitch bone, between the ribs, down to his shoulder.

Here is the point where one of my customers arrives. The poor guy, every time he comes over he has a new story to tell the family. Lucky for us he is a hunter and has dressed out a deer before. If you have dressed out a deer, you can dress out a goat. He just happened to have a specialty knife in his truck. It was called a skinner, has a hook at the end of it. This helps with the splitting immensely. He also stayed and helped with the rest of the dressing out.

Once you have your goat open, gravity is suppose to take over and the innards fall out. HAHAHAHA! Those of you that read this blog know by now that things are never as simple here as they are in the books. There was no falling out.

The men grabbed the front legs and lifted the goat, still nothing.

Gravity works

Now, can you guess who the boys volunteered to reach inside of the goat Correct, me! No pictures of this maneuver. Reach inside the goat and start breaking the membrane, just like you do with your chickens. The stomach is pliable, so don't worry about breaking it, that is unless you need to use a knife. There was still some meat attached to the innards, so a knife was used for a brief moment. As you are breaking the membrane, feel around for the throat. Once you find that, pull, and pull hard. You might slip and fall, landing in goats blood, but hey, those jeans of yours could use a little more color.

Use a garden hose to rinse the inside and out thoroughly. Next hang the goat in a cool dry place.

Hang in cool dry place

We hung ours in the garage. You can age it for a few days as long as your temperatures are not going to be over 45F. Since we were expecting 50F the next day, ours only hung over night.

Here is your gratuitous Rocky Moment.

His own Rocky moment

He's single ladies.

The next day, take your goat down and move it to your butchering table.

We placed our chicken chopping block under the legs, to prevent too much damage to the table. Chop the legs.
remove feet
Good Neighbor wasn't wasting time, and used a 3lbs ax.

With all four legs removed, you can now cut off the meat, but in this, our first time, we decided to leave it whole and roast it in celebration this weekend. Wrap with newspaper and deli paper and of course paper tape.


Happy Birthday!

Luckily for us, not too many things went wrong, everything that did go wrong on that day was in yesterdays' post. How's that for a nice full day?

Ask, if you have any questions. I tried to be thorough here, but I can be a bit absent minded.

(hide: we will be keeping the hide for a hat, or so good neighbor has informed me that is what he wants. Once the hide is removed, clean off as much of the none skin junk as you can, use regular table salt to cover. You can never use enough salt. roll up the hide and place it out of the sun, for 7 days. We will get back to this on a later post)


Janelle said...

How cool!!! Will you still be wanting the pig to butcher?

Phelan said...

We do, but because of funding issues we are trying to find someone that is willing to go in with us. Can we still do it on your property? Or does your husband want us to haul it off first?

Tim Appleton (Applehead) said...

That looks good. Thanks for sharing. I wonder how much meat you are going to get. Your goat is just about the same size as mine. I'll post pictures too when I get to it.

Phelan said...

Tim, we estimate that the carcuss, once fully dressed out, weighs 35 lbs. We are questioning how feasible this goat raising thing (for meat) really is. We thought maybe a whether would weigh out to be more meat. But for the effort, there just isn't enough on it.

Anonymous said...

You always have the coolest posts!

Anonymous said...

Have you raised rabbits/butchered rabbits yet? I wonder if they are worth the work and are good eating? Their droppings are good for the compost pile. =)

Phelan said...

Annette, No rabbits yet, though it is on our to do list. Tim, commentor up above you, has. He has some recents post on it.

HermitJim said...

Thanks for the very informative and educational post this morning! You guys are a wealth of "how to" stuff!

Man, I can almost taste the bar-b-que goat from here! There doesn't seem to be a bad way to fix 'em!

Howling Hill said...

Excellent post, Phelan. Thanks so much for this.

I got a little queasy when I saw the picture of your finger in the anus but then I get queasy when I see anything in an anus. Well, except what should be in an anus.

Moving on, I think Wolf will be doing the butchering. I'm not sure I can take it. Cooking and cleaning will be fine with me though, along with feeding and caring for the animal when its alive. Fair trade?

Gail said...

What is it about those men? Mine acts so tough but I have to do the gutting every time.
Proud of you!
Happy New Year!

Cygnus MacLlyr said...

Thanks for the very informative post-- and no harm in the humor that i gleaned from it, i'm sure!
Think when it comes to goat i may trade/barter for the meat, milk etc., esp. after your estimates on dressed meat.

Thanks for sharing the experience!

And as rabbits are my plan for the future, i'll be vistitng Applehead's site soon.


Anonymous said...

Wonderful post phelan! Thanks so much for sharing it with us!! What is up with those wimpy men anyway? (Loved the bow, btw!) I'm wondering....what does goat taste like? We've never had it before. How do you cook it? You mentioned that dressing out a goat is similar to a deer. My dad has about a billion years experience with that, so would the meat be cut up in a similar fashion? Thanks again phelan! :)

Phelan said...

HermitJim, that's good to know. I have never had goat before, and was told that any of my game meat recipes will work.

HH, if it makes you feel any better, the goat was dead before I did that. I really didn't want to do that, it just kinda happened. It was easier to hold onto.
I say fair trade, that was the agreement my husband and I had. . . ha!

Gail, they're all a bunch of wusse :D Thank you.

Cygnus, you are welcome. I too will stay with the bratering on this. It seems however that the barter agreement is that we butcher and dress them out to keep one. But at least I am not spending any money to feed them.

Farm mom, nope, never had it. I will tell you how we cookedit and hw it tasted Monday. I have a few wild game recipes that I will see if it works with goat. From what I am told, butcher it like you do deer, but it s not recomended that you make any roasts with the cuts. From the amount of meat on this goat, any roast would be in the hind legs, and small.

Anonymous said...

"Next throw the goat into the back of your truck and drive over to our house."

Crap dude, I got a dead goat (killed him with my 12 guage) in the back of my Miata and I am ready to drive him to your house! I just need your address...

Great blog! Gonna add you to my favs... I think by the time you're buthering your own goats you're no longer a homesteading neophyte though! I thought cleaning turkies was tough...

Phelan said...

Thomas, bring it on! I think I will be a neophyte for a long time, there are so many things I still have to learn. Turkeys? Naw. . .they are nothing compared to goat.

Unknown said...

The butcher who killed Pan refused to shoot him, saying that it was too dangerous ~ I didn't catch the exact reason why, though. He cut his throat & stabbed him ~ I refused to get close enough to watch: after all that puc tried to kill me & the young puc & had become evil.

Unknown said...

The butcher who killed Pan refused to shoot him, saying that it was too dangerous ~ I didn't catch the exact reason why, though. He cut his throat & stabbed him ~ I refused to get close enough to watch: after all that puc tried to kill me & the young puc & had become evil.

fosterbe said...

I am a band director in Cheney, WA who usually buys pork or beef from kids in the band. Bought a goat from a girl this year and decided to do the butchering myself with a friend. Raised steers as a kid and helped with that butchering so figured a goat couldn't be that hard. Your blog gave great info and moving ahead to goat roast next week! Yum

Anonymous said...


I've just discovered your site! My goats have just given birth this morning (my first goat birthing experience ever) so I was on the hunt for a 'how to' and found you.

Any recipes for the goat meat? I've never eaten it before, but that is the plan.



Dalyn said...

good job guys! *U*

Anonymous said...

I have an "emergency" question for you. Our goat was killed by a dog this morning. It is not torn up just has three puncture wounds. Can it still be bled out and butchered? If so do we just follow the same procedure?

Phelan said...

you can. (sorry I wasn't around early) the meat might not be as "tasty" because of trauma if it wasn't a quick death.

Sorry about your loss.

Anonymous said...

that is so mean thatwas some ones pet

Phelan said...

um, no. it was never anyone's pet.

ivybrook farm said...

i'm a 4-H goat leader and here we go by age of the goat for butchering we recommend butchering at no longer than 18 months of age for more meat i recommend the 18 months of age. goat meat tastes like a mix between deer and pork put together. that's what i think it tastes like. it's very good!

Q Farms said...

Nice description
Can i repost this on my blog ?

Anonymous said...

how long do you normaly hang it befoe you butcher?

Phelan said...

QFarms that should be fine.

Hanging, well with hardly any of the books agreeing, we hang for 20 minutes before we start skinning, then all the meat to rest over night before doing the cuts.

MyAutism said...

This was awesome! I've done quail, chickens and ducks, and I spent a few years working behind a real meat counter, dismantling hundreds of chicken carcasses and breaking down the Niman lamb carcasses, plus beef and pork blah blah... so while I have some of the basic anatomy this was the first time I did a ruminant from scratch for real.

I'm not saying I couldn't have done it without your photos, but it could easily have added an hour to my work to not have seen what to do. The stupidest pygmy wether is now completely broken down, the two leg roasts and the rib racks are sealed and in the freezer, the chili cuts are in a bowl chilling on the porch until I get the kitchen clean AGAIN, the awful offal I didn't set aside or wash and salt down for meat stick casings are in the Dog Food Box in the freezer, the organ meats are in the fridge (I have to trim those up and seal for the freezer) and... your documenting your efforts have been wonderful assistance. I used old shoelace instead of a bow. The chickens helped clean up the yard. The only truly scary part was getting the gall bladder before the innards were cut free into the bucket.

I noted to my 8 year old assistant that goats are tons easier than chickens. Longer time to do, but not quite so delicate and yay for skinning and not plucking!

Unknown said...

my dad did a lot of deer hunting and he always taught me that you never slit an animals throat to bleed it out. instead you open the abdomen ( with out cutting in to the stomach, run your hand up the esophogus, squeeze it off, cut above your hand and pull the esophogus out before you let go and release the stomach gasses away from the animal so it does not flavor the meat. after that you can cut to bleed it out. has any one else used this method? it could be that it is an Indian way as alot I was taught was. Sala

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