3 years ago I stopped buying meat.
Whoa… Whoa… Easy. I didn’t become a vegetarian. Far from it. In fact, Meatless Monday would cost me more than it would save me.
Here is how I get my family of 5 (… Ok, one is a baby…) enough meat for a year, without ever buying it from the supermarket.
Get Some Pigs
You don’t need acres of grassy pasture to raise healthy pork for your family. We started with a 16×16 pen, on concrete. We filled it with lots of hay, had a little hut for shade, the hose hooked up to a nipple waterer, and a feeder filled with locally sourced feed.
We raised 2 pigs (always have at least 2, one will not be happy) , giving them plenty of grass clippings, weeds from the garden, and slop from the kitchen scraps. They in turn gave us almost 400lbs of pork in 4 months time.
That’s all our sausage, bacon, ribs, steaks and chops, as well as the organ meats and oddments.
Hunt… A lot
Some guys hunt to get outside and enjoy time in the woods. Others hunt to kill trophy animals. I love the time I spend in the woods, and appreciate a big buck as much as the next guy, but I hunt to fill the freezer.
I make the goal of shooting 4 deer through deer season. Depending on the size of the animal, I can get anywhere from 40-60lbs of meat on average per deer. I butcher these myself, to cut back on cost, and increase the meat used.
Killing 4 deer is no easy matter. Deer are incredibly smart, fast, intuitive animals. It usually takes me 5 months, using both a rifle and Bow to harvest 4 deer. This adds up to about 200lbs of steaks, chops, stew meat, and burger. This is our only source of red meat.
Get Cornish Crosses… (They are not the devil.)
The Cornish Cross is a commercial breed of chicken. Some people hate them because they are unnatural. So are many breeds of dogs we have come to love. So are many of the hybrid vegetables us beginning gardeners find easy to grow. The Cornish X is just another thing bred for a purpose, and that purpose is to make meat.
Our birds get a great life. We keep them in a safe coop, and let them pasture on the lawn every day. They get a locally sourced feed. In 8 weeks they are butchered by us, on farm, and dress out to 4-5 lbs. We raise 2 batches of 50 birds, and with deaths and gifts to our processing help, we usually wind up with about 75 chickens, and get about 330 lbs of meat.
total it up
So, if you figure half a pound per person, that means we need 2 lbs of meat per night, times 6 nights a week, (gotta have pizza night, right?) for a year, that means our family needs at least 630 lbs of meat each year. With our pigs, deer, chickens and fish, we average 900+ lbs a year! which is plenty for us and company from time to time.
the spice of life…
Does this sound boring? Just 3 meats all yearl long? Yea it would be…
So we make sure when we are out to dinner to get some beef, and we trade a little pork for lamb, beef and turkey. Thus we get a change every now and then.
So…Take a look at your fridge. What could you stop buying?