Roadkill: it’s what’s for dinner (at least at our house)
This is one of those posts where you kind of hope no one new is popping in right now to check out your blog. Or, if they are, and that is you: Hi! hope you feel okay about roadkill!
Dan and I once went to a Oktoberfest party at our friend’s Paul and Stacie’s house. Were you there too? It was 2004 perhaps? Remember that amazing venison sauerbraten I made? When Stacie praised Dan’s hunting skills in front of the knickered-crowd, we sheepishly smiled, knowing it probably wasn’t the best time to announce: actually we found that deer on the side of the road!
And goodness knows, there’s nothing sexy about roadkill. Where “grassfed, locally raised, sustainable beef” has a nice ring, “gravel-embedded, tossed to the shoulder, back legs crushed,” is not how we like to think of our dinner.
And yet. The deer keep dying in miscalculated bolts across the road. And the meat is good, and free, and that animal never saw a syringe full of antibiotics nor a feed-lot heaped with soy pellets and stinking of animal shit.
Dan found the young doe, still alive though wounded, between Bayfield and Pagosa. If you’re local you’re nodding your head because you too have seen your share of roadkill on that stretch of highway. Dan’s co-worker killed her swiftly with a blow to the head, so quick that by the time Dan retrieved his knife from the truck, the deer was dead. The two men gutted her (off the clock of course) and left her head and entrails in the oakbrush for any number of lucky animals. The Bayfield Marshall came by, issued them a “roadkill permit” and thanked them for doing the right thing.
Here’s Col holding the legs up while Dan carves out the tenderloins. And there’s our cat on the left, coming to see what’s in it for her.
It’s a family affair. Even the chickens want in.
This is Dan telling the camera-woman: “keep those hens off the tenderloins!” (Rosie has been given a small piece of flesh to give the chickens. They’re still clucking about it)
And, where she hangs until Saturday butchering day. The shed AKA meat locker.
And one more picture, from a past roadkill donated to us by Claire. This is Dan with the deer’s backstrap. I always thought there was a quiet, respectful beauty to this picture.
Oh dear (no pun intended). I hope I didn’t lose anyone. In honesty, I am proud that my children do not suffer a disconnect between real life and their food. I’m grateful that they will join us at the butchering table tomorrow, helping as they can. I believe that these experiences will help them value the lives that feed them.
And you? What are you doing this weekend? If you’re free, come on over Saturday and help us butcher, we’ll send you home with some good meat.