Picture on the right is of raw skaapstertjies and the next two are alternative ways of cooking them.
Skaapstertjies are probably one of my all time favourite meat treats. When I was a lightie I remember going with my my grandmother to her local butcher to buy them and how she always complained that they were nowhere near as big as the ones that came from the sheep on the farm where she grew up. In her day farmers left the tails on their sheep but these days they're docked for health reasons.
Our matriarch was a pretty tough cookie,she loved meat and knew a thing or two about the subject, having grown up on a farm in the Vryburg district. Once married she had her own small holding until she moved to Cape Town; and having to rely on city butchers for her meat never really sat well with her. Her passion for farmers and farming was one of my original inspirations.
When it comes to skaapstertjies, the saying "the closer the bone the sweeter the meat" has never been more apt. When grass fed, they're also full of wholesome good fat and plenty of natural gelatine, not unlike oxtail.
Gran was a firm believer in the low and slow method of cooking. This gets them really crispy and melt in the mouth soft inside. She did chicken wings the same way and I've never tasted better!
Below is how she did them. I've tweaked her recipe slightly in that I suggest that you whack them, and any other roasty cuts, into a really hot oven for the first 20 - 30 mins before dropping the temperature right down.
Sprinkle liberally with salt and dried thyme and add just a small pinch of cloves. Wrap in foil and put into a hot oven for 20 mins then drop to about 140/150 degrees Celsius and let them go until crisp and melting in the mouth ( a good couple of hours).