I started hunting in high school and when I shot my first deer I quickly realized the next step was harder than the first. When you harvest your own meat you quickly become a biologist. The way an animal is put together and the way steaks are stacked in the open refrigerator in the grocery store are really very different from each other. I have never been someone to pay a person to do a job I am pretty sure I can do myself, so we got a book and butchered each deer ourselves. Fancy cutting to create the perfect roast fell out of favor in the Jones home after realizing no matter how much bacon you use a deer roast will still be dry. We quickly moved to separating meat from bones and making burger or stew meat. It was quick, easy and practical.
That philosophy is something I have applied to the various things I have butchered for myself or others until now. Now, I am a sheep farmer. I can't imagine grinding something as perfect as a lamb chop into burger. So, I decided to teach myself (have youtube teach me) how to properly butcher a sheep.
For our customers now and the foreseeable future this task is done professionally, off farm. For Olaf, last years breeding ram (who got a little aggressive in rut for our taste) I do not see the point in paying someone to do a job I am perfectly capable of doing a mediocre job of myself. My other motivation for doing the job myself is the completeness of the task and the care I know I will put into it. I raised this animal, care for, protected and harvested it. I firmly believe nothing should be wasted. The hide, every muscle, every organ and every bone has a place and a use and by doing the job myself I can assure it gets there. I can assure the animal is honored in the process.
The hide was salted immediately after skinning to be tanned later, the edible organs and fat were removed for sausage, forelegs and lower legs have no meat but are great for dog bones (if raw). The carcass was split and butchered into all the various cuts according to the instructions in a youtube video where a butcher with significantly greater skill (and sharper knives) made it look much easier than it was. Any "trim" went into the sausage bin. Any bones were roasted and then boiled for 24 hours to make bone broth. My total unused trim from the 60+ lb carcass was roughly a pound. The inedible parts went to the pigs who cleaned up everything except the contents of the rumen. The boiled bones (now soft enough to break and crumble in your hands) will also go the the pigs.
We do this to be closer to our food. I learned a lot through the process and am proud of the completeness of our consumption of this animal that made this ultimate sacrifice to sustain us. This time it took me roughly 36 hours start to finish (not including cook time for the broth). Next time will be faster. We put 60 pounds of meat in our freezer. When Lily asks at dinner tomorrow "who is it?" I will finally be able to answer her question with a name, she will know have known him and we will say thank you.