Why We Butcher our own Turkey

November 28, 2016

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OH MY GOD. HOW COULD YOU RASIE THAT ANIMAL AND THEN KILL IT?  HOW CRUEL!?  YOU ARE SO HEARTLESS!  THERE IS NOTHING KIND ABOUT KILLING.

Ok, I get it.  I was vegetarian for SEVEN YEARS.  I have seen this mentality.   My choice to be vegetarian  was not always in the mindset of “killing animals is wrong.”  It was more in the mindset of “if I cant raise this meat myself, take its life, or hunt this meat I will not eat it.”  I refused to be another person in line at the supermarket with a pretty package of meat in my hand having no idea where that animal was from, how it lived, or how it was butchered.  More than likely it would have been a gross, yet pretty, package of “fresh” meat that made its way to the shelf from the  ins and outs of a meat slaughter house that has taken over our country to provide unhealthy meat to consumers.  I could not afford to buy grass fed meats from local farmers.  I was not in a place to have a farm to do it myself.  So the answer was obvious.  I didnt eat it.  Now the folks who cry to me about how unethical it is I think I would take those concerns to those folks in line at the grocery store.  Those of us who choose to live this lifestyle, who are responsible for what we put on our table to nourish our bodies and feed our family face your same questions each time we are face to face with the animal we must butcher on the “big day.”  I am not some heartless person who does this for fun.  I dont find joy in knowing I am feeding this animal his or her last meal.  What I do think is that this is responsible and if I am going to eat meat along side my family then we will make sure that animal is healthy, has a safe place to live, fresh food and water every day, and is respected from the day it arrives to our farm to the day it goes to my freezer.

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I EAT MEAT, BUT I JUST COULDNT DO THAT.  THAT IS WAY TOO HARD.  I COULD NEVER DO THIS.   I DONT KNOW HOW YOU ARE ABLE TO DO WHAT YOU DO.

This one makes me more frusterated than just about anything else I hear.  “Oh good for you!  Here is a pat on the back!  I just couldnt do that though.  That is way too hard.”  You are right.  It is hard.  I dont like butchering day.  I actually mourn the days before hand.  Nothing about this is easy.  If it ever does get easy and I can go about my day like butchering these lives we raise is JUST ANOTHER DAY then I dont need to do this anymore.  It isnt suppose to be easy.  Its suppose to be hard, sad, and a whole lot of uncomfortable.  But the peace I have after the deed is done, knowing that this animal lived the best life it could and that it never once suffered…not even at death…is worth all of that uneasiness.   Its not that I like to consider this as playing God or that I am able to do this and one of you arent.  Its that I feel an obligation to do this.  A responsibility to do this.  A respect for myself and for the animal I chose to feed my family to do this.

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**CAUTION** PHOTOS BELOW SHOW GLIMPSES OF WHAT TURKEY BUTCHERING DAY IS LIKE. THEY ARE VERY MILD, BUT JUST A HEADS UP IF YOU DO NOT WANT TO SCROLL ANY FURTHER.

(but if you do theres a yummy brine recipe at the end…just sayin 😉

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My family started a tradition about 3 years ago now where we butcher our Thanksgiving turkey.  The turkey gets here when he/she is about 3 days old and we gently raise it by hand until a week or so before Thanksgiving. Before we know it,  its time to say goodbye and we butcher the turkey in the back yard.  It is hard the morning of butchering day.  I dont like going out that morning to feed and freshen water.  I have a sad heart and I always make it a point to spend some quiet, peaceful moments with the animal.  I thank him or her for the nourishment of my family and say a little prayer before going about my day.  I do feel like they can sense something is going on so I try to keep it as normal and stress free as possible for as long as I can.

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Sometime in the evening it will be time to do the deed.  After its done we all gather around to help pluck.  The boys run around in the yard and we talk about big things that have happened that day.  This is normal to my kids.  Which I like to think is a good thing.  They know where their food comes from and every single step of the process.  I wouldnt have it any other way.

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Once the turkey is done we put him in the sink and I finish cleaning and getting any last little feathers plucked.  He goes from the sink to a brine.  My favorite brine recipe is as follows:

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Put the turkey in a giant 5 gallon, food grade bucket.

Dissolve 1 cup of sea salt and 1 cup of coconut sugar in about 4 cups of water on the stove.  When this has dissolved let it cool while you gather 5-6 bay leaves, fresh thyme (or rosemary), a couple tablespoons of dried sage, the peels from 3 oranges, a few fresh peppercorns, 1 cup of raw apple cider vinegar and 1 cup of organic apple juice.  Then pour the sea salt/sugar water mixture in and fill the rest of the bucket up with water until he is mostly submerged.  I let the turkey sit in the brine for atleast 24 hours.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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