This past weekend was probably the most fun I’ve had in a long time. I had been traveling with work my past two birthdays and when I found out that this past weekend was open, I was pumped. Then, I learned that it was my family’s annual butchering weekend and we would be able to be home for it … my month was made!
If there is one thing you must know, my entire family (mom AND dad’s sides) are all a big bunch of Germans. My grandparents spoke German as their primary language until they reached confirmation-age. I say “puschen” instead of “house slipper” … which I didn’t realize until college that people didn’t call house slippers, “puschens”. Scott and I danced to polka music at our wedding. We love a good chicken dinner with German potato salad. And who can forget all the beer?!
But my absolute favorite tradition that we continue to keep is making our own summer sausage, slim jims, pork sausage and bratwursts. We have family from all over gather together in my uncle’s basement to cut, season and grind meat. We stuff the meat into casings using an 1883 cast-iron meat press thing and then hang the meat in my grandpa’s smoke house where we smoke it and let it cure for a few weeks. We call this weekend, BUTCHERING … and it is awesome.
Prepping all the meat isn’t what gets me excited about this weekend, but rather my crazy, hilarious family. They are seriously nuts, but I wouldn’t trade a single one of them in any day.
Everyone started first thing in the morning prepping the meat by cutting off all the fat, drinking some awesome brews and eating way too many homemade cookies and awesome snacks.
Next we bring in the children and subject them to child labor by sealing the bratwursts and pork sausage into bags to be frozen (these aren’t hung in the smoke house). Gotta start these little ones young. We may or may not pay them in cookies. And don’t mind their strange hair-dos …. sometimes we get a little bored and have to entertain ourselves!
And this is when it gets crazy. All the “cousins” stay the night at grandpa’s house, he takes out his hearing aids, and we have a meat smoking party. We have to stay up all night and make sure the smoke is still going in the smoke house. So, we play games, drink adult beverages, and eat some more. It’s wonderful. It makes me so incredibly thankful for the hysterical motley crew that we are. Here is the smoke house:
Then, we headed over to see Scott’s family. Scott’s grandma made an AMAZING apple pie and our adorable little nephew helped me blow out the candles, gave me tons of kisses, and played with balloons for hours. I wouldn’t have it any other way!
What about you? Any crazy traditions that you keep with your family? Scott and I are thinking of adding a beer brewing portion to our butchering weekend … maybe even bring Scott’s dad over to play accordion. Now THAT would be fun. 🙂