Angus, aka Porterhouse

We raised our first steer over the last couple of years. Normal people take about 18 months, start to finish, for a steer but we kept thinking we would find the time to process him at home. Eventually I told Mark that either he had to train him to pull something or I was taking the steer to Central Meats . He never came home with a yoke and I took the absence as Word. I took the steer to Central.
I chose Central Meats in Chesapeake, VA for several reasons: they have been in business in my home town for a long time; they have a decent reputation; they asked that we bring the steer a day or two early so that he could calm down before butchering day. Adrenaline flavored meat is nasty and I didn’t spend 2 years feeding corn and peanut hay, sending loving thoughts and saying ‘thank yous,’ to our bovine buddy just so that someone could treat him like hell on his dying day.
My satisfaction rating with Central is about a 7. For the most part they were good but there were some glitches. Mark called to schedule drop-off and was told to call back and confirm that he would be bringing the steer on that date. When he called, he was told that he wasn’t scheduled and that it would be another week. The next week I dropped him without any problem. If I had it to do again I would only take my animal 1 day, rather than 2 days early. I called and gave Richard my order for processing the beef 2 weeks later. I told him that we would need to pick up our meat in 11 days. He was a little put out by that and now I know that I need to call sooner with my processing instructions if I have a deadline for getting the meat. Mark, smart enough after the drop-off thing to call ahead was told that I hadn’t called or told then when I needed to pick up… I had even told the poor guy my Beef Wellington for Grandpa’s birthday story. Maybe he was punishing me? Anyway, the beef was ready on the designated day, processed as ordered, packaged, packed and ready to go. Overall the experience was good enough that I will continue to use Central when we have meat to be processed.
The way we raised Porterhouse was not the most cost-effective way of raising a steer. We fed him corn every day for 2 years. He was on grassy pasture and had a round bale of peanut hay. He got to compete in butting competitions with our Suffolk ram. Sometimes the horses would herd him even though no one was riding them and telling them they should. All-in-all, he had a pretty good life. He was also healthy.
We brought home 572 pounds of meat and bones. The doggies love the bones and we are eating way too much red meat these days. It is insanely satisfying to open the freezer and see all of that food in there, especially after yesterday’s news about the beef recalls. I know that our meat is safe and our school lunch program often has beef on the menu in the form of leftovers from the night before. No worries.
I need to mention also that the flavor of the beef is wonderful. So far we’ve had Beef Wellington (cooked by our daughter’s Michelin-starred chef BF), pot roast, steaks, tacos, spaghetti and chili with stew beef. The cuts, even the ‘cheap’ ones, are tender and tasty.
Over the last 2 years I spent a lot of time trying to make sure our steer was leading a happy life. He did. I can taste it.


About Bettina Colonna Essert

Illuminated Magdalene High Priestess and facilitator of empowerment and healing circles for girls and women, including a monthly Red Tent Temple. BA in English, minor in anthropology. Waldorf homeschool mom. Reiki master, cranial sacral therapist, herbalist, menstruvist, feminist, epicurian.
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