Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Of Mutton and Saws- Alls

Our friend Pieter Ditmars raises grass- fed meat sheep on Dunhill Ranch in the western foothills of the Magdalenas, using livestock guard dogs (Pyrenees) and border collies as assistants.

We always buy a lamb from him. But we had found him a lot of new customers, and this year he offered us a 5 year- old mutton ewe free if we did the butchering and cleaning ( we are also buying a lamb). As Peculiar and Mrs P were also down to get a bunch of lamb for the Santa Fe contingent we decided to make it a day.

After quickly dispatching the ewe with a .22 and bleeding it out we hung it from an ingenious stand made by Pete.

It made skinning much easier.

A Saws- All makes cutting off the lower legs or cutting through the ribs easy too.

Mrs P proffers a tray of organ meats (Mr P calls this photo "Cocktail waitress").

As a storm comes roaring in, Pete sends out a collie to bring the sheep in. They are visible as a white streak at the bottom of the hill. They came RUNNING.

Libby thinks we should make a commercial for Saws-All but I think the time for things like that may be past. Or future.

(All pics courtesy Andrew Jackson Frishman)


Anonymous said...

Juliette DeBairclay Levy, considered to be one of the founders of holistic veterinary care in the 20th C (and incidentally the lady who founded the Turkumen Afghan Hounds, acestors of all my dogs) often suggested that a severed goat or sheep head, buried for several days, then dug up and tossed to the dogs made an especially intriguing treat for a litter of young sighthound puppies. I assured Juliette that my neighbors would probably object to a thoroughly seasoned sheep head, but it always sounded like a reasonable idea to me.

Steve, you could surely try this with your pup if you've been frugal with that ewe's head? Let us know if you try it.

Ricka - Lady with odd looking black dogs, who got the letters "headstag" for a word verification for this comment.

Steve Bodio said...

Pieter sends many of the heads to some scientific place to check for neurological diseases (he has never found any). If I had known they were a sighthound treat I would have asked for mine!

Peculiar said...

It's not the first Sawzall I've ever used, but it was a novel context. It's nice to indulge in a Bruce Campbell-style locavory.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, yeah .... but was the saw produced locally?

It is said that Afghan Hounds will herd livestock, but looking at that expanse between Pieter and the sheep, I'm sure my Afghans would be distracted by something low to the the ground and fast moving before they ever reached the sheep.

Clearly a job better suited to a Border Collie.

Neutrino Cannon said...

My father (who is a country lawyer and thus knows about cuts of meat, 'cause he sometimes gets paid in them) tells me that saws work very well for disassembling cows and sheep, but less well for deer or elk.

Heather Houlahan said...

What blade did you use in the saws-all?

I tried this once with a deer that froze solid while hanging overnight. It worked, but cleaning up the saw was as much trouble as cutting up the deer.

Maybe I had the wrong kind of blade -- needed something less spattery? Or longer?

Cow pelvis makes a great dog treat, too.

Steve Bodio said...

I'll ask Pieter about the blade. Neutrino Cannon (above) says they don't work for game as well--?? Our friend Rudy, a butcher, does ours for a quarter of the animal.