pull the meat

Despite having an abundance of our own pork and beef, I often go days without digging any out of the freezer. It’s easier to grab a jar of yogurt for breakfast, saute some veggies with leftover rice for a quick supper, or make a grilled cheese sandwich, baked mac and cheese, or a big ol’ chef salad. But then every now and then, I remember: MEAT, Jennifer. PULL THE MEAT, and I run down cellar to grab an assortment of things to use in the next few days. 

ground sausage, burger, ham, beef shanks

It’s not that the meat is better food, necessarily, but there’s something about pulling meat out of the freezer that makes me sit up and pay attention, culinarily speaking. 

  • If I don’t use the meat once it’s thawed, it will go bad, so there’s that. 
  • One well-rounded meat-based meal often stretches to two or three, shape shifting in more creative ways than my non-meat meals. 
  • Meat byproducts spawn new life: bones to broth to the cooking liquid for rice and soup; fat (bacon or sausage) into scrambled eggs, stirfries, pie dough, and cookie dough (bacon fat chocolate chunk cookies, anyone?).
  • A little bit of leftover meat fluffs a non-primary meat meal exponentially: a single leftover scoop of sausage into a quiche filling, those couple pieces of bacon into a tomato sandwich, a leftover hamburger patty chopped up into a pasta sauce, a slice of ham tucked into a cheese sandwich.
  • Because meat packs an enormous flavor punch, I find that cooking with it delivers a more satisfying cooking experience, and that’s fun.
  • Meat-centric meals extend our budget.* The meals tend to be more complex and interesting (perhaps because I pay more attention to the various components when cooking with meat?), which means they leave the masses more satisfied, which means we’re less likely to snack on cereal and chips in the evening, which means our snack food lasts longer, which means I spend less money.

*Remember: the meat I’m talking about comes from our back yard, and the slaughtering and packaging costs have long been recouped. 

One thing I’m trying to do more of: pan-cook meat on the grill. I used my largest cast iron skillet  and then close the grill lid to keep the heat in and reduce splatters, because even though it’s outside, it still makes a mess. 

Case Study Number One
The other week, I fried up sausages for breakfast, and then fried the eggs in the fat. The eggs cooked, there was still some grease in the pan, so I browned a couple beef shanks and, after that, I sauteed the garlic to add to the beef stew.

Case Study Number Two
Just this weekend I opened a cube of ground sausage, sliced it into wedges like I’m cutting biscotti, and then fried the slices in the skillet. While they browned, I quick sliced a couple onions and peppers and then, the sausages done, I reduced the heat and slow-sauteed the peppers and onions while we ate breakfast, and then I got so wrapped up in enjoying my buttermilk pancakes, sausage, and coffee that I forgot the veggies out on the grill so they got extra crispy caramelized, but they’ll still be delicious added to a stirfry with the leftover sausage, or added to scrambled eggs, or turned into a pasta dish. We’ll see.

Point is, serial skillet cooking on the grill first thing in the day makes me feel like I’m slaying dragons.

But to do this, I gotta remember: pull the meat.

This same time, years previous: chocolate cherry sourdough bread, the middle years, family road trip: coastal Maine, nova scotia oatcakes, the quotidian (6.24.19), teen club takes Puerto Rico, buttermilk brownies, fruit-filled coffee cake, better iced coffee.


  • Candi R

    We process our own deer and this past fall my husband harvested four deer for us. I bought a Blackstone grill and now I’m gradually using up the accumulated deer and discounted chicken. Last night we ate deer fajitas. I loathe cooking meat indoors because of the odor and grease splatter. Cooking outside has solved that problem and increased our protein intake. It’s great seeing others appreciate frozen meat.

  • jurgen dorneburg

    now you know how I feel when I use my own Home-Made Bacon,Sausages and Pork-Schmalz,even when it is just a Slice of Rye fried in Lard and rubbed Garlic on Top.What a Snack more satisfying than Chips.

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