Processing your game

Discussion in 'Hunting, Fishing & Gathering' started by Hunt4lyf, Dec 9, 2016.

  1. Hunt4lyf

    Hunt4lyf Guide Bushclass I

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    My buddy brought a whitetail doe over to my house last night and I butchered it for him and it got me thinking that I haven't seen a thread on butchering yet. Here's what I've got and how I do it. I'm using pictures from both my buck and my buddies doe.

    Gotta start with an animal
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    This buck was a couple miles in so I had to quarter it and hoof it out, I put the meat on some trees to cool

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    Round steaks and backstrap all cut and trimmed ready for wrapping, from my friends doe.
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    Bacon ends to mix in with ground venison, soooo good!!!

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    3/4 hp grinder and a bunch of burger, the lighter colored meat is the bacon

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    My 5 yr old mixing up the meat

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    I package the burger in appx 8 oz chunks in sandwich bags and then put 10-12 of them in heavy bread bags, this is the easiest way I've found to make individual packs of burger and it allows me to pull out exactly how many bags of of burger I need.

    IMG_1919.JPG

    42 8-9 oz packages of burger stuffed in the bread bags and 18 lbs of cut and wrapped steaks, this is from my friends doe.
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    I was out this evening trying to fill my doe tag with no luck and I still have a couple more days and if I do I'll be turning it into sausage so I'll post up here how that goes.


    Now, how do all you guys do yours? Any recipes and sausage/seasoning mixes that you use that you'd like to share would be awesome also, I'm always on the lookout for new ways to cook dinner.
     
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2016
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  2. PJC

    PJC Tracker

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    Did you say bacon ends and venison ground together.
    IS THAT ILLEGAL!!!
    That would be so good.
    Our flintlock season starts on Saturday.
    I can only shoot a doe. I filled my buck tag earlier.
    BUT if I am fortunate to shoot a doe, I will definitely try this.

    Pat
     
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  3. sweet trav

    sweet trav Supporter Supporter

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    Thanks for this thread!

    T
     
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  4. GoodOlBoy

    GoodOlBoy Scout

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    Fine looking deer, and fine FINE looking meat. Only one problem I see. I don't see the neck, or rib meat in there. I know alot of fellers don't keep that meat, but lemme tell you it makes good stew and chili meat. Then again sometimes I tend to just throw the ribs on the barbque pit while I'm butchering everything else. Makes for a handy snack later. I also know of a few folk that will keep some of the organs, mostly heart and liver to eat as well.

    A tip for those that might not know. Keep your deer skin when you pull it off, and you can wrap everything in it on the fleshy side and bundle it up for packing out of the woods. If you plan on tanning that hide later keep the brains as well for use in brain tanning.

    Thanks for the post, and congrats that is sure a purdy deer.

    God Bless, and One Love.

    Richard
     
  5. stillman

    stillman Supporter Supporter Bushclass I

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    Thanks for sharing your process and starting the thread. I'm looking forward to learning from the folks here.

    I've only done 8 from start to finish, so I'm no expert, but I will share my process if I can get some pictures or video made next time I kill one.
     
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  6. NVRDONE

    NVRDONE Supporter Supporter Bushcraft Friend Bushclass I

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    I second GoodOlBoy. The neck is a great cut of meat. I cook it whole in a slow cooker, the meat has a texture like pulled pork. Here is the recipe I usually use:

     
  7. GoodOlBoy

    GoodOlBoy Scout

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    Brother let me tell you. It don't matter if you have only done 8 or done 80 I for one learn something new every dang time I skin one. I look forward to seeing any pictures or video anybody has. These days I'm still in bad enough shape I'm having to live vicariously through everybody else, and honestly I can't get enough.

    Brother when is dinner? I'll bring some homemade beans and cornbread!

    God Bless, and One Love.

    Richard
     
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  8. Haggis

    Haggis Supporter Supporter

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    I save the heart, liver, kidneys, tongue, and "buck bits", then skin the animal down to its ears.

    The tenderloins (inside the critter), and the backstraps are cut into thick pieces and butterflied,,,

    All the fat is trimmed off for the birds, and all the remaining meat goes into my big electric grinder,,,

    I don't leave enough meat on the bones to attract more than the chickadees,,,

    The antlered buck heads, hide, hair, and all, get thrown up on a shelf in my barn,,, my macabre trophy room of sorts,,,

    The venison burger ends up in chili, wild rice jambalaya, or S.O.S. ,,,
     
  9. WRHC TopGun

    WRHC TopGun Hobbyist Hobbyist Supporter

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    Excellent thread and description of your process. Thank you!

    We have evolved to using bacon to mix with our burger too. At various times in the past we have used beef tallow, pork butts and fatback, depending on what we could find when we needed it. Bacon is definitely our favorite. The other thing we do is vacuum seal versus plastic bags and/or freezer paper. I don't think it's necessary if the meat will be used within a couple months though.
     
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  10. WRHC TopGun

    WRHC TopGun Hobbyist Hobbyist Supporter

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    I also agree with GoodOl boy about the ribs. They mix in great with burger but they are fantastic on the grill and even better on the smoker.
     
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  11. Seeker

    Seeker Woods Bum Supporter Bushcraft Friend Bushclass I

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    My wife is still pretty grossed out by game processing, though she did take a picture for me a couple years ago, and has continued to do so (big step for her)... but I still can't bring a carcass inside and process it. (Have to respect that. At least I can now do the backstraps inside. Little steps.)

    It's so hot here most of the early season that I just field dress it, stop off for some bags of ice at the closest store, stuff 'em inside the cavity and in an ice chest, and get it home to skin. I save the tongue and heart. Kidneys and liver are filters, and I don't eat them. I trim out the tenderloins and backstraps myself.

    I generally take mine to a local guy to have it processed. As my daughter who eats venison is off to school, I generally have it split 1/3 stew meat, 2/3 "snack sticks" (like a slim jim, only longer, unspiced, and ground however I want with pork or beef fat). I can then enjoy a year of stew and field lunches. (I share about 1/4 of this with the landowner.)

    If I take a second deer, I will have the butcher get a little fancier, as half of that kill goes to the landowner, he has kids, and they all eat venison... so I get sausage, cutlets, roasts, and steaks if there's enough deer to go around to all that.

    I think my favorite venison dish is stew... never likes the steaks or roasts, and they make really spicy cajun sausage down here (not like back in NY, where it's more of a german/polish tradition based.)
     
  12. GoodOlBoy

    GoodOlBoy Scout

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    Yeah I forgot to mention that because the meat is so very very lean if you are going to use it as burger we always cut it either with bacon, or a good cut of pork with some decent fat on it. Otherwise you wind up with something that is dry as a powder house if cooked on a grill as just "meat". Not as big a problem in chili or stew. That's one of the reasons that you sometimes get a "venison" sausage that is so dry it will make you pucker. Look for pork and venison, or if you are having it made from you own meat pay the extra money and get it cut with good pork fat/bacon for a better sausage. Same thing can happen with rabbit sausage. It will be so darned lean it will be dry as heck no matter what seasonings you put in it if you don't cut it with something.

    God Bless, and One Love.

    GoodOlBoy
     
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  13. Hunt4lyf

    Hunt4lyf Guide Bushclass I

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    Well, it's not illegal but it should be, it's delicious! When you get you your doe try to find "bacon ends", I but them in 3 lb blocks for $10 so it's a bit cheaper than buying regular bacon.

    I always take whatever I can, depending on where the bullet hits, including the neck and ribs but I've always just chunked them out and ground them up for burger. I'm not a fan of the organs, heart is ok but the rest I prefer not to eat, something about them filtering the bodies waste just turns me of.

    I've done a few (dozen) more but I'm always learning something new every time, I find it fun and relaxing to do and now that my daughter is old enough to help I want her to know where her food comes from. Please do show your process, I'm always interested in how others do theirs.

    Do you cut through the bone and cook it with the bone in the neck, I couldn't tell in the video if it was bone in or not? We have CWD here in Colorado and unfortunately it lives in the spinal and brain tissue.

    Thanks for the video, I've got a couple roasts and I'll have to try that out.
     
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  14. WY_Not

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    As a kid we used to process a few steers every year so no lack of knowledge or experience. When we go to Wyoming we let someone else do it though. We field dress them and haul them in to town to be processed. More time for us to hunt, hang out, visit, and enjoy.
     
  15. Hunt4lyf

    Hunt4lyf Guide Bushclass I

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    Pretty much exactly how I do it, my buddy commented on how little meat was left on the carcass, I like to hear that.

    That's been my progression also, I was taught to mix fatty beef burger in with it, next thing you know I'm using bacon and so is most of my family. I always keep some as just plain venison burger though for chili as I don't want to taste bacon in my chili.

    Thankfully my wife doesn't care at all, when I call her up and tell her I'm bringing something home she'll have the paper and plastic out for me, the counter cleaned off and my knives out, is my daughter is getting in on it as she likes to step on the grinder pedal and turn the meat mixer handle.

    Do you have a recipe for the rabbit sausage?
     
  16. Hunt4lyf

    Hunt4lyf Guide Bushclass I

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    Yeah, if I'm out of state then I'll sometimes let someone else do it just for the reasons you stated, plus I don't have all my gear with me to do it.
     
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  17. GreenFrog

    GreenFrog Supporter Supporter Bushclass III

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    Just about the same as you but with a hand grinder and a vacuum sealer.
    I also like you add some pork fat to give the venison some cooking juice. The ground meat is my favorite so most everything we can scrap off goes into that pile.

    Hard to take photos during the process but glad I got one.

    edit to say that I like your individual burger wrapping. You could spice the mix in advance but what about adding egg, do you not bother?
     
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2016
  18. GoodOlBoy

    GoodOlBoy Scout

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    I will check. My great grandad had the recipe but I haven't made any since I was in my early teens. Honestly I think it's probably been lost to time. I hadn't even thought about it in years. But like I said, I will check.

    God Bless, and One Love.

    GoodOlBoy
     
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  19. WRHC TopGun

    WRHC TopGun Hobbyist Hobbyist Supporter

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    Seeker's post about his wife not letting a carcass in the house reminded me of why I'm not allowed to makes sausage in the kitchen any more. I was using my grinder with the sausage stuffer attachment on the kitchen counter. Apparently you can try to stuff too much ground meat into a natural casing, as I learned the hard way. The end blew out of the casing and shot sausage across the kitchen and all over the walls, cabinets and appliances. The dog and I thought it was great but my wife didn't see the humor in it. I'm banished to my workshop or outside when grinding and stuffing now.
     
  20. feellnfroggy

    feellnfroggy Guide

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    Backwoodsman has some great recipes, but basically 80%venison, 20% fatty meat like pork or beef just to alleviate the dryness. Great thread. Every one had different ways of processing. My dad hangs hind legs up, I hang (or will) head up. Just depends on who taught you.
     
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  21. NVRDONE

    NVRDONE Supporter Supporter Bushcraft Friend Bushclass I

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    I do leave the bone in. I'm sure you could cut out the chunks of meat, I would guess its almost like pulling the backstraps (Don't quote me on that though).
     
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  22. Hunt4lyf

    Hunt4lyf Guide Bushclass I

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    Next deer I shoot im going to try and get a decent sized roast out of its neck and try out that recipe you posted. Thanks!
     
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  23. Hunt4lyf

    Hunt4lyf Guide Bushclass I

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    I love burger almost as much as the backstrap and I literally scrape the bones to get as much as I can off.

    It is hard to take photos as I'm normally in the zone and just trying to get it done and pictures are normally the furthest thing from my mind, hence the reason I used pictures from 2 different deer.

    I really like the individual packaging also, each bag is 1 burger and i can pull out exactly how many I need for how many people are eating. I also like to make sausage in 1 lb batches as I want them and it makes it super easy this way.

    Edited to add: I've heard of using egg as a binder but I've never really felt the need to try it.

    I had one that was good but I've misplaced it, it actually made jackrabbits taste good.

    I had that exact thing happen once but thankfully I was in the garage and my golden had a great time finding all the chunks.

    I'll have to check out that website, thanks!
     
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2016
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  24. PJC

    PJC Tracker

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    I'm not a fan of the organs, heart is ok but the rest I prefer not to eat, something about them filtering the bodies waste just turns me of.

    The Heart is not OK, It is the BEST. Heart is muscle, the finest, leanest piece of steak on the whole deer.
    I usually pan fry it with a hint of pink in the slices.
    I do not know if I like it better Hot out of the frying pan or cold the next day.
    Either way. I love it. I have a few friends save the heart for me as they do not partake.

    Pat
     
  25. NVRDONE

    NVRDONE Supporter Supporter Bushcraft Friend Bushclass I

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    This is true. I actually just ate my first heart a couple days ago. I used one of Steven Rinellas recipes and it was insanely good.

    Sent from my SM-G900P using Tapatalk
     
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  26. stillman

    stillman Supporter Supporter Bushclass I

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    Does anyone else use the bones to make stock? Makes for better soups and stews, IMO.

    Venison Broth Recipe
     
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  27. Hunt4lyf

    Hunt4lyf Guide Bushclass I

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    No I never have but that sounds good, I'll have to try it sometime. Thanks!
     
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  28. clueless on the delaware

    clueless on the delaware Tracker

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    reading this thread just had a thought. i make it a point to save bacon fat out of the frying pan, goes in a mason jar at the back of the fridge. would adding a dollop or two of that to ground venison be good fat substitute? my hunting has been (and will be) severely limetid this year, so i dunno when i'll get to try it.
     
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  29. NVRDONE

    NVRDONE Supporter Supporter Bushcraft Friend Bushclass I

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    I've done it. Whether its good depends on the end product. I wouldn't use it for burgers because to get a nice even mix of fat and meat you will have to mix it and the meat takes on a paste consistency and you lose the mouthfeel of the burger (if that makes sense). Now I've ground up some bacon with my venison to make burgers and that was delicious.

    I've used bacon fat in meatloaf and meatballs and they came out great. Just remember to adjust your recipe for the saltiness of the bacon fat.
     
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  30. 1trader1956

    1trader1956 Tracker

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    I would strongly suggest boning out the neck roast.that makes the meat alot easier to eat without having to deal with all those small neck bones that are very hard on the teeth.
    once boned you can remove the windpipe,a few glands,some fat and the yellowish strap thats in there.then take your cleaned up neck meat spice it roll the spices inside tie it with cotton string then it's ready for the crockpot.
    I dont understand why your grinding your meat and fat seperately.i combine them on my first grind through by the time they've been through three times they are well mixed.when i make sausage i spice the meat before the first grind also.
     
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  31. feellnfroggy

    feellnfroggy Guide

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    I almost forgot. The book "shots at whitetails" is an amazing book on the processing of deer, as well as every other aspect of hunting. It's on its third edition right now, but the writers preserved all the original works in their versions for accuracy. Really great book.
     
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  32. Offshore Angler

    Offshore Angler Tracker

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    I purchased a large grinder two years ago, and its been the best investment me & the wife have ever made when it comes to our kitchen. Yes the processing of our wild game is great, but it helps also in how we deal with our other meats as well. We purchase pork butts when on sale, and some of the pork sausage, and bratwurst we make are to die for. We have the attachment to make our own cube stakes, and burger patties, and we can add our mixer to it as well. This allows us to purchase meat in larger quantities , and when on sale, and allows us to make the product's, and cuts we prefer, plus save a little money. Making bacon is the best money saver out there, and why more people don't just amazes me. I also just enjoy the processing thing, just another way of connecting closer with what I happen to be consuming.

    Off Shore Angler
     
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  33. MT_Fin

    MT_Fin Hobbyist Hobbyist Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    Yup, also great for braising liquid

    [​IMG]
     
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  34. MT_Fin

    MT_Fin Hobbyist Hobbyist Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    Always butcher our own, I enjoy the whole process as much as other parts of the hunt. I've done dozens and dozens over the years and like to try new things but the general breakout stays about the same. Every inch of fat/silver skin/blood shot/etc is removed.

    -Backstraps become steaks

    -Hind quarters become roasts/steaks

    -Front quarters become blade roasts and shoulder roasts

    -Neck becomes a roast

    -Ribs become cooked ribs :)

    -Shanks are kept for Osso Bucco

    -Bones are roasted and simmered for stock and canned

    -Small good cuts are kept for stew meat, this year I pressured canned some

    -Scrap is ground for burger, nothing added. Usually get only a pound or two.

    As stated, stew meat and stock is pressure canned and the rest is vacuum sealed for the freezer.

    Bone stock
    [​IMG]

    Before/during/after (the jars are the canned stew meat)
    [​IMG]

    Most importantly for me, it turns in to this!!!! Started as a blade roast braised in bone stock and wine with root vegitables and lots of garlic, aand then I made the leftovers in to this stew and had some of my homemade Dutch oven bread on the side....... Yum!
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2016
  35. NVRDONE

    NVRDONE Supporter Supporter Bushcraft Friend Bushclass I

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    Can someone share a good recipe for a front leg roast?

    They usually go through my grinder, but I'm off from work tomorrow and feel like cooking something new.

    Sent from my SM-G900P using Tapatalk
     
  36. MT_Fin

    MT_Fin Hobbyist Hobbyist Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    This one is a proven winner that can be made as is or played with as you see fit
    Bone-In Blade Roast With Root Vegetables
     
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  37. NVRDONE

    NVRDONE Supporter Supporter Bushcraft Friend Bushclass I

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    Thanks! I've cooked plenty of Steve's recipes and they always turn out good.

    Sent from my SM-G900P using Tapatalk
     
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  38. .356luger

    .356luger Scout

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    To many baggies for your burger.

    I like to toss patties on a cookie sheet and freeze them then vac them in groups of 4-5 but I can see how the bag streamlines it. A bit for space saving.
     
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  39. Hunt4lyf

    Hunt4lyf Guide Bushclass I

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    Honestly I grind it separately like that because I only ever grind the meat once, it's what I was taught and all I've ever done, next time I'll have to try it that way and see how it goes.

    This is the main reason I started this thread, to see how others do it and maybe pick up something new to try out. Thanks!

    I do the baggies like that because it's mainly me that eats it, my wife isn't a fan of deer, as she prefers elk so having it in single serving baggies is perfect for when I want to grab a patty for breakfast or something. By keeping all the patties in the larger bread bags it's really easy to just reach in and get what I need. Thanks!
     
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  40. stillman

    stillman Supporter Supporter Bushclass I

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    I didn't get one this weekend so I don't have any pictures.

    I pretty much skin, gut, and quarter like most everyone else. The only exception may be that I don't saw through the pelvis or leg bones. The lower leg is separated at the joint. I cut the meat away from the pelvis and separate the ball joint in the hip. The bones that are practical to save are boiled for stock.

    As I quarter, the meat goes into in a couple of plastic bags, inside a cooler with ice. I don't like for the meat to get waterlogged and gray. When I get home, the meat goes into a couple of plastic food bins and into the fridge.

    All of my free time for the next few days goes into butchering and vac bagging. The bags are labeled with the date, which deer it was, and the cut of meat (unless the cut is obvious through the bag.) The tenderloins go together, then the backstraps are divided into lengths to fit one section in a bag. The pieces are left large as possible so that they'll last longer in the freezer.

    I take a 1 quart metal bowl and put it in a 6 quart bowl. The space between them is filled with ice. As butchering commences, trim meat is cut into stew cubes and thrown into cold holding until there is enough to bag. Silver skin and other unusable trim gets cooked down for the dog. There is usually a pot going on the stovetop while I work but some of it gets frozen.

    Hams are mostly separated at the seams. Some of the smaller parts are cut up for stew meat but the roasts are left whole and vac bagged. The shanks are removed whole, at the joint.

    Shoulder shanks are also removed whole, and bagged with the ham shanks. I'll cook them with Hank Shaw's garlic shank recipe. Shanks just might be the best part of the deer. The smaller part of shoulder meat is usually cut into stew, as is the meat from the inside of the scapula. The larger part is frozen as a roast.

    Neck, flank, etc goes into the stew meat.

    My main knives for butchering are a 10" breaking knife and a curved boning knife (both Dexter Sani-Safe) and a Rada flexible filet knife.
     
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  41. baptistpreach

    baptistpreach Tracker

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    I've hung them from hind legs or neck, that makes no difference to me. I try to make as much in roasts as possible, Shoulders are saved to make a large meal, and then I make roasts out of the rear hams. Anything large enough to slice is turned into jerky, and the rest gets ground up. I usually have about 6lbs of ground venison when I'm all finished.
     
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  42. 1trader1956

    1trader1956 Tracker

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    Start with the grinder plate that has the biggest holes than switch to a plate with smaller holes.after twice through the grinder cook a patty so you can check the consistency.If it's suitable stop if not once more through the same plate should do it. I always do beef three times,deer two or three times and pork twice ground. when you put your grinder together put some mineral oil on the plate and knives to lube them.
     
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  43. GoodOlBoy

    GoodOlBoy Scout

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    I've looked and looked, I asked my grandmother and she couldn't remember the recipe either. I don't know that either of us had it written down, but If I DO find it I will post it.

    God Bless, and One Love.

    GoodOlBoy
     
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  44. mtwarden

    mtwarden Supporter Supporter

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    a couple of little things I would add

    if possible age your meat (deer/elk/antelope) for about week- not always possible, but very well worth it if you can- a little mold on the outside doesn't hurt anything- it can be sliced right off (the most expensive steak houses in the US age their steaks w/ mold on them)

    I double wrap everything- saran wrap, then butcher paper- we usually have our freezer very near empty by the time hunting season rolls around, but never had any freezer damaged meat- occasionally I would miss something at the bottom and look at the date thinking this might not be good, but it always was

    still worthwhile putting the year on the package though :4:

    I tape my punched tags to the top of the freezer

    I butcher while sitting down (this was a tip from my mother-in-law!) saves the back big time

    for several years my wife didn't want me to cut any roasts as they didn't turn out too well; then she went to culinary school and told me to go ahead and cut some roasts- she would rub them down with a variety of spices, cook them at a very high temp for just a short period (searing) and then cut the temp back and most importantly remove the roast on the rare to medium rare side- she was simply overcooking them beforehand, they need to be pink in the middle- now she wants me to cut as many roasts as possible
     
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  45. thedutchtouch

    thedutchtouch Scout

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    how long do you guys (and gals) typically hang your deer before processing? (or do you hang them at all)
     
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2016
  46. mtwarden

    mtwarden Supporter Supporter

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    if possible I like to hang them about a week- obviously if it's too warm that's not going to happen; sometimes it's so cold they become bricks in a day and probably not aging much at all and sometimes you have to bone everything in the field to get it out- which makes it tougher to age (although a buddy of mine uses an old refrigerator set to just below 40 degrees to age boned meat)
     
  47. tomme boy

    tomme boy Scout

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    Just a little hint for you guys. I know a few Chinese people that have their own food joints. I take them the whole rib cage for them to make into soup. All they want is the rib bones. they boil them for about a day.

    They trade me free food. Might be another simple resource for some of you.
     
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  48. 1trader1956

    1trader1956 Tracker

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    If your back bothers while cutting it's because your cutting table is too short block it up higher.A littel too high is way better than a littel too short.
    I'm not sure aging deer will have as much of an effect on the meat as it does with beef.Beef has a much higher moisture content and alot more marbeling than any wild game.
    If you want tender good tasting meat kill a nice young animal and make sure it dies quickly.
    I make no extra effort to remove all of the fat or silver side from the meat and have been known to save the fat from a young deer to add to the grinds when running short of pork fat with no ill affects on the end product.The only silver side i remove is on the backstraps and on the side of the bottom round opposite of where the eye of the round is located.
    meat that is frozen or has the hide still on will not age .
     
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