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butch-goat-art - 7/14/98


"Butchering a Live Goat, for (and by) Beginners, or What I Learned on my Holiday" by Charles McCathieNevile.


NOTE: See also the files: butchering-msg, p-butchering-msg.





This file is a collection of various messages having a common theme that I have collected from my reading of the various computer networks. Some messages date back to 1989, some may be as recent as yesterday.


This file is part of a collection of files called Stefan's Florilegium. These files are available on the Internet at: http://www.florilegium.org


I have done a limited amount of editing. Messages having to do with separate topics were sometimes split into different files and sometimes extraneous information was removed. For instance, the message IDs were removed to save space and remove clutter.


The comments made in these messages are not necessarily my viewpoints. I make no claims as to the accuracy of the information given by the individual authors.


Please respect the time and efforts of those who have written these messages. The copyright status of these messages is unclear at this time. If information is published from these messages, please give credit to the originator(s).


Thank you,

    Mark S. Harris                  AKA:  THLord Stefan li Rous

                                          Stefan at florilegium.org



Date: Tue, 23 Jun 1998 15:03:52 +1000 (EST)

From: Charles McCathieNevile <charlesn at sunrise.srl.rmit.edu.au>

Subject: SC - Butchering for beginners


An article from Nordmannia...




- -----------------------------------------------------------------------

Butchering a Live Goat, for (and by) Beginners, or What I Learned on my



Warning. This contains pretty graphic descriptions of nasty things

happening. You might like to skip this page if you are not actually

interested. It is an explanation of how to prepare a live goat for

eating, based on a single (successful) effort, from catching the goat to

cooking it, with a bit of unpleasant stuff happening in between.


You have been warned...


By way of introduction, let me explain my feelings about eating meat. I

am all for it. I enjoy it immensely. I also feel that it is dishonest

somehow to eat meat but not recognize that it is the result of killing

something. Meat IS murder, but if God hadn't meant us to eat animals, he

wouldn't have made them out of meat.


Recently I found myself in Darwin, with a group of people lined up to come

to a feast, a goat organised by our hosts, who had gone to a lot of

trouble to convince someone to give it to us, but no butcher in sight (the

goat was at this stage wandering around the yard of its owner). Several

people gave advice, or thoughtful suggestions, but nobody wanted to do the

deed.  This included me, since I had only ever killed ducks and shellfish

before, both of which are relatively easy - especially shellfish - they

donŐt look at you, or say anything. And I hadn't actually enjoyed doing

that. But as the person responsible for the feast I figured that meant

making sure there was meat on the table. So here is what I did, and how I

did it.


First catch the goat. The important thing here is to have it in a small

space, rather than run it down for miles and miles. If it gets the

adrenaline pumping the meat will be tough - if it is frightened for a

couple of hours it will make a dog sick. I had been told that you could

shoot it in the head, but I know nothing much about guns, and didn't have

one. Cutting its throat was going to be the way. I had also been told

that this could be done by thrusting the knife through the neck and

cutting outwards, but this seemed a dicey technique, relying on a sharp

knife, a good point, and good aim. Instead I ensured my knife was

razor-sharp (literally, and it is important), lay the goat on its side,

on the ground, held its front legs and body in place with my knees/legs,

all the while talking to it and trying to relax it.


When I had thanked the goat and felt very brave, i pulled its head back by

the mouth, and cut across its throat like I imagined from the movies. The

important thing was to make sure the cut went right to the bone, all the

way from one side of the neck to the other. That way the major blood

vessels and windpipe are all severed in one go. It means the goat won't

cry anymore, which is pretty important (to me anyway). At this point

relaxing the goat is still important. In a short while the heart stops,

there is no breathing, and no more movement. At this point you need to

hang the carcass by the back legs, to drain out the blood, and the

contents of the throat. End of Stage one.


Stage two - getting off the skin.

I was told a pretty nifty trick by the person who had owned the goat. Cut

the skin around the legs (roughly at the knees), and insert an air-pump,

like you would use to blow up a football, between the skin and the meat.

The air pressure will help to separate the skin from the body. (When I

buy an icy-pole, i tear the top off the packet, and blow in it, so the

paper doesn't stay stuck to the icypole and comes off easy. This is the

same.) When actually skinning it, start at the back - cut the skin around

the legs, and then connect the two cuts, going across the back and around

both sides of the anus. As you peel the skin back, use a small, sharp

knife to cut away the connective tissues, and ensure the no strips of

meat come away with it. I peeled the skin off almost to the front legs (I

had to cut away the testicles and associated pieces) before I slit it

down the stomach - the hair is thickest on the back, but the leather is

softest on the front - if you want to make parchment, slit it down the

back perhaps - and then I cut around the front legs, carried those cuts

to the gap in the throat, and peeled the skin across the back of the neck

as far as the ears. Rub the skin down thoroughly with salt and keep it,

then cut off extra pieces of skin which are on the body (don't worry

about the lower legs unless you were really keen to eat those bits...)

End of Stage two.


Stage three - preparing it for the spit.

This is an icky bit. The important thing to keep in mind is that if you

cut open the stomach, or one of the little gooey things, you, your goat,

and everything else could be rapidly covered in unpleasant, smelly stuff

you don't really want to know about. (Nuff said) For this you need a

small, sharp knife and a lot of care. The first thing is to make a small,

shallow incision in the stomach. I am assuming the goat is still hanging

by its back legs, which means you start it at the top (rear end), just

forward of the pubic bone (pelvis bit). If the incision is more than zero

millimetres deep you risk cutting the stomach lining as well as the

flesh, with unpleasant consequences. While you are doing it, stand to one

side of the body.


Place your fingers gently inside the cut, pushing the stomach, which will

be warm and heavy, away from the flesh, and slowly extend the incision

until it reaches the sternum (breast-bone). The first bit to get out is

the intestinal tract. A bit of judicious manipulation before you start

will ensure that each end has no contents when you cut it away, which is a

Good Thing (TM). Before you cut it off atthe ends, make sure you have

seperated it from along the spine, and from the liver - it will usually be

attached by lumps of fat. Let all this drop onto a sack or something. If

you want to make sausages, keep it, stick a hose in one end, and clean it

up.  Otherwise, bury it deeper than the dog will dig...


You now have a liver, Be careful - there is some nasty bladder bit

connected, which you need to cut off without puncturing after you have

taken the liver out. It is connected near the spine - cut it off. When

you have removed the bladder bit you will want to check the liver and

make sure there are no little worms in it - squeeze it out like a sponge.

Put the liver aside, and cook with butter, garlic and herbs.


Leave the kidneys in, and make up your own mind about the testicles. I

had a male goat, but I suspect for a female you should just take all the

girly bits out. With a bit of care you will now be able to cut out the

anus from the outside. Throw it away.


The next thing you run into is te diphragm. In a goat this is a very thin

membrane, which you need o cut through, Then you find the lungs and

heart. Cut these out and keep them with the liver.


Now you want to chop off the head, or at least ensure that the windpipe

has been completely severed. You can then pull it out throught the chest.

(I chopped the head off short - it took several blows with the machete to

do, but made cooking neater)


Now the animal is ready for the spit. Take a sapling about two inches

thick, sharpen it at one end, and put that end first through the hole

where the anus was, and then guide it through the windpipe area, where it

will be held by the sternum. Use tie-wire (for a goat) or something

heavier (for a heavier animal) to secure it to the stick at a couple of

pointts along the spine, and tie the legs close to the spit.


You now need two fires - one for burning wood into coals (unless you have

charcoal) and one for the coals to cook your beast. The animal should be

a foot or so above the fire, which should not be flaming. You will need

to watch it, particularly for the first hour or so, to ensure that

dripping fat does not cause flames to catch the animal - if it catches

fire it will burn away in about six or seven minutes. It only needs to be

turned about every hour, and should only need three or four turns for the

whole thing - maybe two goes on each 'face', and it should be done. Allow

about 6 hours for the cooking, and make sure that the coals do not either

die out, or get too active. Leaving a bucket of water beside it for

emergency dousing, and keeping a lazy eye on it, should be fine.


The fire should be concentrated at each end - when the back is closest

put some more coals in the middle to cook the fillets, but otherwise it

can be two piles of coals, at each end, where the meat is thickest. If

you re not ratating it much the fire should be a little less vigorous

than for an elctric spit with constant rotation, but you need to leave

each side to cook properly rather than constantly turning it.


When the meat seems ready, serve away. Most of the meat will be in the

fillets, shoulders, and around the hind legs. There is also good meat on

the neck.



Charles McCathieNevile, June 1998 (c) charlesn at srl.rmit.edu.au


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Date: Wed, 24 Jun 1998 08:41:12 +0200 (MET DST)

From: Par Leijonhufvud <parlei at algonet.se>

Subject: Re: SC - Butchering for beginners


On Wed, 24 Jun 1998, Charles McCathieNevile wrote:

> Actually, I'd recommend geting a professional. It's not fun. And I'm not

> an expert - I did it once, and thought I'd tell what happened to me.


I can only think of three things to add to your description:


* I was taught to tie off the digestive system in both ends before

  removing it, since this reduces the chance of tainting the meat.


* If you want to save the hide be very carefull about how you skin

  it: many hides are ruined by "hack and slash" type skinning. In many

  cases it is possible to just pull the hide off, with no use of a



* If you leave the outer membrane on the meat intact (as in e.g. just

  pulling the hide off, rather than cutting) it will recieve less

  attention from flies and suchlike while hanging.



(oh, and lanolin does *not* improve the taste of mutton ;-)

- --

Par Leijonhufvud                           parlei(at)algonet.se


<the end>

Formatting copyright © Mark S. Harris (THLord Stefan li Rous).
All other copyrights are property of the original article and message authors.

Comments to the Editor: stefan at florilegium.org