Our sheep dogs are members of the family here at Shepherd Song Farm, but they’re also a part of the sheep and goat family, as the dogs serve as protectors and adopt the animals as their own (Read more about dog and llama protectors here). So, it goes without saying that all-natural, grass-fed lamb and goat dog food and treats are a passion of ours at Shepherd Song Farm, as much for the natural parallel to the dog’s ancestral diet as for the way it helps us utilize every part of our grass-fed lamb and goat, so that nothing goes to waste.
We have a whole dog treat series Chef Alan Bergo developed focused on showcasing our grass fed lamb and goat, and how it can be used to supplement a dog’s diet alongside other natural foods, there’s heart jerky, liver and kidney bites, and frozen squares: all grain-free, salt-free, and as minimally processed as possible. All of the treats are great, and the dogs loved them, but, there was one treat that stood above the rest that made the dogs go absolutely wild: the whistles.
What’s a lamb whistle? They won’t make music, but your dog will when they know you have some. Technically these whistles are windpipes/trachea, par cooked and stuffed with a mixture of organ meats and ground meat, then roasted, frozen or dried and sliced into small pieces for portioning out to your dog. Trachea is a great source of collagen, while the liver and organs are a nutrient-rich treat for your dog.
They take a little work, and you’ll need a sausage stuffer, but for a special occasion, like a furry birthday or Christmas, you might try making some to spoil your special canine member of the family. The whistles need to be frozen after cooking or dehydrated for storage.
This recipe is by chef Alan Bergo. A chef from Minnesota, Alan is a veteran of the culinary industry, former executive chef of acclaimed Lucia’s Restaurant, and the Salt Cellar. Founder of the website Forager Chef, he’s best known as a respected authority on Midwestern foraging. Learn more about Alan and his hunt for mushrooms, wild and obscure foods at Forager Chef.
- Preheat an oven to 350. Bake the windpipes until just cooked through, about 15 minutes. Cool the windpipes until you can handle them. Meanwhile, cut the liver and trim into pieces the size of a nickel, then pass through the large die of a meat grinder.
- Fit the meat grinder with a small gauge sausage stuffing attachment as shown in the picture. Put one end of a windpipe onto the stuffer, then stuff each windpipe full of the lamb liver-meat mixture.
- When all the windpipes are stuffed, bake or smoked them for 20 minutes at 350, or until cooked through. Smoking the windpipes will give them a nice color, and extend the shelf life, but is optional.
- Cool the windpipes, then cut into 1 inch pieces to make dog treats. From here, the windpipe pieces should be dehydrated at 145-150 F until crisp and dried, about 24 hours, or frozen for storage, as there is no salt to extend the shelf life. Under refrigeration they will last a few days.