Mar 3, 2009

062- Meat Packing Assignment

We live very close to one of the very few meat packing plants owned by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (It supplies the US, Canada and Mexico). Every so often our ward is asked to volunteer for a 2.5 hour shift to help in the meat packing. This morning Gordon & I went along with other members from our ward. It is always a fun experience.

Our neighbor, Kevin and Gordon getting ready for work.

Today we were assigned to the Franks (aka hot dogs) packing room. We've both done this before so we kind of knew what we were doing. But today I got to learn more about the process. (I'm just like a little kid, I want so see and know everything and how it works.)

The head-frank-guy took the time to show me around and explain some of the specifics to me. They use only 100% beef. It starts as hamburger- 1/3 very lean bull meat and then 2/3 65-35% fat hamburger. It goes into an enormous mixer with blades moving at 3500 RPM (don't stick your hand in there!). They add the spices and some water to the very lean meat and somehow that makes a natural enzyme in the lean meat come out that then binds the whole lot together (so there are no added thickeners), then they add the higher fat meat and blend until it is the consistency of baby food. It is then packed in the *casings* or tubing and goes into the smoker/cooker (I still smell like a wienie roast even after going for a walk in the wind to blow-the-stick-off!). The franks are then cooled, removed from the casings and brought in huge red tubs to the packing line.

There were 4 men putting the 8-franks each into the bottom half of the packaging, it goes through a long machine that removes the air and seals the top part of the packaging...

Our friend and ward member Mike Hill with other workers.

THEN it was my turn to take these packages of the conveyor belt and pack them into boxes that held 27 packages (each roughly 1 pound each).


When the boxes were full Gordon would send them through a binding machine that put strapping around the box, added a label and loaded the boxes onto palettes. (Is all of this way too much information?)

Like I said... I'm just a little kid and love to know how things work and watch the machines do their job. Bless those engineers and designers who build them.

The head-frank-guy said that the demand is up 40% over last year. And that fact makes me so grateful for the fact that I am-
  1. Not in need of Church assistance because of unemployment or illness.
  2. Strong and healthy enough to go work to help others.
  3. Part of a wonderful Church that has a system in place to help those who need it.
  4. Live close enough to be part of this work.
It was a fun morning... I'm glad I could go.


Lillie said...

Looks like fun!

Dean and Sheri said...

Your lookin' pretty sexy in that sweet hair net Joanie! You have a GREAT smile there girlfriend.

Looks like Dr. Gordon's gonna deliver a baby!!!

Anonymous said...

We could have used hazmat suits like this while taking care of dad. All I can say is "thank heavens for rubber glove"...I know, only you and I really understand that but it's all about us anyway.

Sheri is right, you do have a GREAT smile.

Rosehaven Cottage said...

I think I would have loved this assignment as much as you did! I am fascinated with how things are made. I love how you've written down all the steps. I didn't know what all went on in making franks. I think I would have been in hot dog heaven with the smell too.


Anke said...

What an assignment!!!! Love your pictures. I can't believe you had your camera with you! Great shot of you, hairnet and all!!!

Joanie said...

My sister says I carry it (my camera) around in my marsupial-pocket! She's not far wrong!

Mom and Dad said...

Your marsupial pocket is becoming legendary, no?? Another label for the ages!
I love the pics of Gordy and his hat-bearded (or is is beard-hatted) friend. And I am glad someone took your pic too. You DO look like you're having fun. Always NICE PEOPLE on an assignment like this!
And, about having to KNOW everything --- is this a Caraway thing?? I do it too!
Thanks for sharing the smiles!!
Love YA!! Annie