Wednesday, April 18, 2012

History: Butchering Before Refrigeration

PLEASE HELP

I'm researching how butchers, cowboys and pioneers slaughtered and cooked cattle in the warm months from March through November before there was refrigeration.

In the East, cattle were often slaughtered during the warm summer months to celebrate holidays (July 4) and weddings (in June), to feed armies (especially during the Civil War), etc.

In the West, drovers and pioneers trailed cattle, which were often injured and put down.

My question is: How were cattle butchered and cooked?

BUTCHERED BEFORE OR AFTER RIGOR?

The weather was warm, so butchers, cowboys or pioneers had to act very quickly before the beef began to spoil.

Did they butcher and start cooking the meat before rigor started, which would be within about 6 hours after death?

Or did they wait until rigor resolved (usually after about 24 hours after death, depending on ambient temperature) to begin to butcher and start cooking?

USUALLY BOILED?

How did they cook the beef?  There would not have been enough firewood (or time) to cook entire sides of beef over a pit of coals.  Since the beef could not be aged, it would have been extremely tough.

Did they boil the tenderest cuts and leave the rest of the carcass the to rot?

MODERN TRIAL?

Have you ever cooked and/or tasted beef from cattle that was slaughtered and immediately butchered and cooked without refrigeration?

Or do you know of any blogs or articles by those who have?

THANKS FOR YOUR HELP!

I'd appreciate your help in these matters.

CONCLUSION

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6 comments:

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