We have been moving more and more into a lifestyle that looks to combine minimalism, homesteading, self-sustainability and supporting local. Each year we have found ourselves getting closer and closer to our dream of being 80% self-sustainable and supporting local producers. Though where we stay is a magical place we cannot keep livestock and both of us have never hunted before so we looked to other options than just buying meat from the butcher. We love our local butcher but needed to add more diversity to our meal plans.

The Opportunity

Our friends and neighbours came across a local game farmer/hunter that supplies locals with local meat for both people and raw food diets for animals. Once you have placed your order they go out on a hunt and sometimes you get a different meat selection than expected. We were expecting warthog and wildebeest but got waterbuck instead of wildebeest.

No complaints though, I was willing to give it a try. After all, I really do believe that diversity is a key element to gaining a sustainable future. I am very grateful to our friends for organizing this for all of us. We received 28kg of waterbuck and 12kg of warthog. The fillet and sirloin were left intact while the rest was cut into larger pieces. Once we had it all we got some spek/bacon fat and hog casings to make our sausages.

What we Made

Once the meat had arrived we set to making space in the fridges. We couldn’t start immediately with other obligations at hand so it had so stay one night in the fridge before we could begin processing. Though we did have the waterbuck fillet on the braai (bbq) that very night. We were expecting it to be a bit tough, instead it was soft and very tasty. The gamey flavour was minimal and enjoyable.

Now the next day after arrival we looked at what we had and made a plan on what to make along with flavouring ideas. We decided to make sausages as a predominant item since we love sausages and eat it regularly. The best sausage being beorewors just by the way. We started with the waterbuck sausages. The first batch was flavoured with sage, coriander, black pepper and salt. We added a low percentage of fat and would rather increase the fat percentage next time. It tastes really good though. The second batch of waterbuck sausages was flavoured with Szechuan pepper, ginger, lemon basil and pepper. Which also turned out very tasty but does need a higher fat content. We moved onto to making the warthog sausages, we flavoured them with honey, thyme, salt and black pepper. Just too good to describe. It turned out to be extremely tasty and moist, this one we got just right. That night we had them in homemade buns. Yum!

Some of the sausage filling was left over from all three of the sausages, we decided to make those into premade burger patties. I enjoy making buns or getting them from our local grocery store where they are made fresh daily. The rest of the meat we used to make goulash portions as well as ground meat for pasta sauces, meatballs and so on. In fact we made homemade pasta the other day with a meat sauce of waterbuck ground meat and homegrown/homemade tomato sauce. I loved it and look forward to making it again. Processing is never really over though. The bones still had a lot of meat on them and we wanted to make broth. We chucked the bones, meat and all, into a big pot with veggies and aromatics to simmer for a few hours. When it was done we pressured canned the broth and then kept the meat aside to process into ravioli and pie filling. Since you can freeze egg pasta I went ahead and made some egg pasta dough to make waterbuck filled ravioli. This was an absolute winner meal in my book. Bringing us to the last item which is biltong from the waterbuck sirloin. Charl really out did himself with this batch. Perfection.

We spent about 4 days just processing the meat and bones in user friendly items to have on hand either in the freezer or pressure canned. It is a lot of work getting through everything but so very rewarding, at least it is for me. I get so much satisfaction out of having and using this knowledge. On the plus we get to give our cats a nice treat every so often as well. This was great fun, I cannot wait until we are back in the kitchen grinding away.