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Old 11-01-2004, 08:03 PM
RatherBHuntin RatherBHuntin is offline
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Default Butchering/Processing

A continuation from the skinning/gutting thread previously. All other techniques would be great to see.

To truly appreciate the hunt, and the fact that you just put meat in your own freezer, without any help from Winn Dixie, Safeway, Publix, HEB, Piggly Wiggly or wherever the rest of the uneducated get their prepackaged, PETA approved, thinking that no animal suffered in the making of this meal meat. As if penning an animal in a 4x6 stall for 12 months and then slaughtering it before it has even experienced life as it was meant to is better than hunting your own meat from a wild animal that has lived a long and full life, chasing does, breeding, frolicking under a full moon and being free for many years.

If you want to go ahead and quarter it, just hang him by his back legs, between the big tendon and his femur high enough that his head clears the ground. You can cut off the legs after the knee if you want, just make sure it is below the knee and dont cut that big tendon above the knee.

Cut the hide in a ring around each leg, and cut down the center of the inside of each leg to the cut in the belly, then it is as simple as pulling the skin off. You should be able to pull the whole thing withoutt the aid of a knife, which will preserve the meat and the hide. Once you get it as far down the neck as possible, cut it loose.

Now you're ready to start with the quartering. You will be able to see the tenderloins along the spine, between the hindquarters in the stomach cavity.Cut them out, starting as high as possible and going as far down as possible. Put em on ice. Take these and guard them with your life, as your felow hunters may not have been as fortunate as you and will be hungry. These are the best part of the entire animal. Any animal. It's what you would call prime rib from a cow I beleive. You know that stuff that comes wrapped in bacon and costs about $20 at a restaraunt. These are yours and should be shared with only your very closest friends and only those that you intend to have a long lasting relationship with. The only exception would be to convert someone to eating venison. There are only two per anilmal, my sons he got the other day will be shared by me and him only, the rest of the family can have backstrap from the other side. It runs along the spine on the outside, also pretty darn good eatin. Pull it off with a sharp knife along the spine to help out, throw it on ice.

You will be able to see the seam? where the muscles connect, and they will be held together with some spider web type connecting tissue that can be pulled apart by hand mostly, but you can use just the slightest pressure from a sharp knife to assist if neccessary. Start at the front shoulder and seperate the big muscle along the shoulder balde from the ribs. This is really the only thing holding the front leg on. Throw them in the cooler, minus the forelimbs.

Do the same with the hams, there is one big? 2" thick muscle you will have to cut through, otherwise, go in between the muscles, down to the joint. You can break this, or cut around it all the way and it will come loose. You just need to get the tip of the knife in between the ball and the socket to cut the tendons. Throw them in the you guessed it, cooler. These ought to be fairly substantial. You can cut the differant muscles off the quarter or just leave them on it.

There isn't alot left at this point. You should be able to get some burger/sausage meat from between the ribs. The rib skirt can also be ground. It's that big flap of meat on the outside of the ribs. The neck meat can be cut off in slabs, to be cubed as stew meat or ground.

After the meat has been cooled at between 33-40 degrees for about 3 days, you can process the meat into family sized servings. The backstrap is generally round and can be cut in 1-1 1/2" thick steaks crosswise. This is good stuff. Remember a steak doesn't have to look like they do from the supermarket. The front shoulders can be cut into steaks but will make better stew, burger, jerky or chili meat. Just cut the meat from the bone in the type of cut you want. The back quarters make better steaks, just slice the meat off of there, against the grain. You can seperate the differant muscles to make it easier, or just leave it on there I guess. Theres two, experiment.

Remember, if you screw up a steak it turns into burger, so nothing lost, no need to worry. What ever scraps you have left over, throw in a ziplock bag, freeze or take directly to the local butcher and have him work his mojo on it and give you back sausage or burger. You can take the whole thing to him if you like, but whats the challenge and satisfaction there? The more you do the cheaper it will be for you. You can buy a grinder, but this is hard work with venison. As an example the fairly expensive butcher I use here charges
the following. I use him because he makes the best sausage within a hundred miles.

$.50 a pound to grind into burger or a little courser chili meat
$.75 to cut into steaks and burger, if you already have it quartered
$1.20 a pound for sausage, if you supply the pork to mix, $1.65 otherwise
$55 to completely process with the skin still on it, you gut
$65 to gut and process

Some afterthoughts, the silver membrane on most of muslcle should be cut off, but wont be too bad if you leave it on. When sepperating the muscles, occasionally you wil run into some gristle or tendon or whatever that needs cut, just cut it and keep moving. I got to tell you, I get MUCH more satisfaction when I process it myself. I took one and had him do the whole thing, and it just wasn't the same. This one I am going do myself for the most part, except the grinding and perhaps one ham that I want to get smoked. The jerky is excellant, the tougher and chewier the better. So those bad cuts of meat, and old bucks will make fine jerky. Or sausage. You can do the jerky yourself too, just use a real sharp knife to cut the thin strips. I use a fillet knife or a big cleaver on half frozen meat, it's easier to process then.

"Politics is supposed to be the world's second oldest profession. I have come to realize that it bears a very close resemblance to the first."
Ronald Reagan

Last edited by RatherBHuntin; 11-01-2004 at 08:05 PM..
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