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Butchering tips

Discussion in 'Hunting' started by ohihunter2014, Oct 1, 2019.

  1. ohihunter2014

    ohihunter2014 Member

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    Anyone have any tips on butchering deer? I may try and do one myself because its $90 each time I get one cut up. I helped do one years ago and I can skin, etc. but I am not really sure how to get what cuts, what to saw and now saw and what meat gets kept or tossed. Also not sure what knives or other things I need.
     
  2. bob97

    bob97 Member

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    If you dont have a buddy who can help show you, there is always YouTube. I like Steve Rinella although I am not sure his methods would be best for a beginner.
     
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  3. BWS

    BWS Member

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    It takes some practice. Think about a grinder,any mistakes in your cuts won't be wasted. I used one of those "U grind it" hand crankers for years..... and still would be using it but,my 4 grown sons bought me a nice electric model.

    A down N dirty method for us used to be; cut the tenderloins out.... cut the two back "hams" off,grind everything else. We'd freeze the hams whole,then take them out and cut steaks on a bandsaw. Never letting them thaw,then wrap up the steaks and throw'm back in the freezer. Can cut a ham up this way faster than it took to write this post. Cuts right through bone and all. And yes we would use wood cutting BS's,haha...pretty redneck but works.

    For years too; we'd again,freeze whole hams and then pull one out and make the whole thing into jerky. You don't let the ham thaw completely,you can cut WAY better jerky when it's about half thawed. Then throw it in a cpl glass bowls un fridge..... with the spices for a day or two.
     
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  4. cheygriz

    cheygriz Member

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  5. Bfh_auto

    Bfh_auto Member

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    Always try to cut straight across the grain of the muscle. Think of it like cutting wood. The shorter the grain, the easier it is to chew.
    Try to cut as little hair as possible ie put the knife under the hide and cut out.
    Keep your knife sharp.
    Watch videos on how to cut the hams. I've done it since childhood but can't explain as well as a good video.
     
  6. George P

    George P Member

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    Neck meat makes great stew or chili meat
     
  7. ohihunter2014

    ohihunter2014 Member

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    I am not really a roast person and prefer backstraps, steaks, and lots of ground. I make jerky with a jerky gun and dehydrator.
     
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  8. Laphroaig

    Laphroaig Member

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    When I used to butcher my own deer, I'd take the ground meat to a local processor to be ground. They'd only charge a couple of bucks. Deer meat has a lot of gristle, and the home grinder I had would get gummed up pretty fast.
     
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  9. troy fairweather

    troy fairweather Member

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    The meat will show you were and how to cut if. Keep things clean and neat. I like making hamburger, I can use it for a lot of cooking. I go to the butcher and get good clean beef fat and pork fat. I'll make hundreds for patties and a bunch of morning sausage. Also 1 pound bags of hamburger, for meatloaf, chili taco meat whatever you want.
     
  10. Flintknapper

    Flintknapper Member

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    Yep, I always grind meat for hamburger patties and morning sausage. Save the better meat (straps and hams for other stuff). I make Jerky and Sausage most years as well.
     

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  11. troy fairweather

    troy fairweather Member

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    Yup Got to make the jerky, I am limited with my dehydrator. One day I'll get a good smoker.
     
  12. Flintknapper

    Flintknapper Member

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    You can make Jerky right in your kitchen oven (if need be). My wife always get upset...when I do that...but sometimes I have sausage pretty much filling up the smoker...and need to get the jerky done. Kitchen Oven can be one big dehydrator for jerky that is marinaded and not going to be smoked.

    Very tender, never lasts more than two days (everyone eats it up that fast).
     

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  13. Random 8

    Random 8 Member

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    There are some good basic videos and print books out there. I'll try to browse some and find a couple I could recommend. I would watch a few videos, then have a pictographic book on hand for quick and dirty reference. I'll try to boil down a few basic tips to get you started gear and technique wise.

    Cutlery and gear: Forschner/Victorinox boning knife. This is first for a reason, as this is your bread and butter tool. Get a 6" or 8" curved model with medium flex and a quality butcher's steel to go with it if you don't already own one. Leave the pull through "V" sharpeners to people who like cutting with dull knives. Keep a couple of other filet knives handy if you have help, you can turn the trolls loose with those to trim grinder meat. You should also have a heavy breaking knife...I like the inexpensive "Old Hickory" model, a stout clip or drop point hunting knife will work as well. If you want to have it all, a quality carving/slicing knife like a Henckles or Solingen will make cleaner steak cuts and be a dandy for carving Thanksgiving turkey, but the Forshcner will work as well. Plastic tubs...Don't need anything fancy, but you should have 2, and a couple of small clean buckets and a couple of 5 gal buckets. Basic sanitation is with bleach water (pre-butchering, allow the bleach time to evaporate from surfaces) and vinegar water (cleaning and sanitizing during butchering). You should have a sturdy table (that you can get some knife nicks in) and at least 2 largish cutting boards (I use roughsawn pine and treat them as disposable as I have a ready supply of these. The rough edges help to hold the meat in place, but will catch and hold bacteria, hence they are disposable). Butcher paper to cover your table/work area and for wrapping cuts for freezing (f you use this method). A few large (2 gallon) freezer bags for your grinder meat, and some smaller ones for stew meat or special cuts. Grinder...most of the electric models work well, if your wife has an upright mixer, there are grinding attachments for them that work well. The hand grinders available at second hand stores etc also work well, but are a lot of work. You'll also want a propane torch handy to get rid of the random stray hairs on the carcass after skinning. You can skin with any hunting knife, an upswept skinning knife will make the job slightly easier. Skinning gambrel and swivel. The inexpensive wrought steel ones work, or you can make your own from a sturdy green ash pole and heavy lag hooks. Get a swivel and clip from your hardware store.
    https://www.amazon.com/Victorinox-Curved-Fibrox-Boning-Semi-stiff/dp/B001U57EJ4/ref=sr_1_32?crid=1CU4ARCAF9XHJ&keywords=forschner+boning+knife&qid=1569969050&s=gateway&sprefix=forschner,aps,287&sr=8-32
    https://www.amazon.com/Ontario-Knife-Hickory-Butcher-Kitchen/dp/B01EMO1LZW/ref=sr_1_6?crid=NHEW67D871KW&keywords=old+hickory+butcher+knives&qid=1569969180&s=gateway&sprefix=old+hickory,aps,239&sr=8-6
    https://www.amazon.com/Victorinox-S...pening+steel&qid=1569969315&s=gateway&sr=8-24
    Skinning: Hang deer from the hind leg tendons. Make a cut around the legs, being careful not to cut the tendons. 2 other cuts down the inside thigh to the groin. Try not to rupture the membrane around the muscle as you work these cuts down. Now work the skin loose and down the deer towards the shoulders. You'll have to cut lightly here and there to free muscle/fat from the hide. Use your fingers to get in and pry and pull. A leather glove and a golf ball come in handy to help get a grip. Work down over the shoulders, and cut the hide from the inside of front leg , down the leg to the joint, then around. Work hide off front legs/shoulders and down the neck and cut free from the carcass by severing the neck very near the joint of the skull. You may need a wack with the hatchet or a saw to do this.

    Now it's time to quarter. I like to leave the carcass hang as long as possible, and butcher one quarter at a time. Start with the front shoulders. Pulling away from the ribcage on front leg, cut the thin connective tissue from the chest of deer towards the shoulder joint, it will kind of start separating magically. As you get to the joint, you'll have to work the tip of your knife in there a bit and feel for the spot that releases it. Cut free from remaining connective tissue and transfer to butcher table. The larger cuts on the shoulder can make roasts or stew meat, grind the rest. Filet the meat off the bone with your boning knife. Use the point as a probe to find where the bone runs. Try to remove as much tallow and connective tissue as possible. In all steps remove anything bloodshot, foul or otherwise contaminated. Cut/shave until you see good clean red. Even pretty nasty looking cuts will usually reveal good meat with a little shaving.

    Backstrap. A video will be helpful first. Starting at the shoulders, make a very careful cut to bone either side of the spine to the hip area. Filet off following the ribs to the flanks and pull the saddles away as you work up. These are your chops. Cut across the saddles into 1-2" thick chops depending on your preference. A slight angle to the cross cuts will produce better textured chops, ditto for steaks. About 15 degrees from perpendicular to muscle grain is perfect.

    Hind quarters. These are the most difficult to remove. Plan on making some quality stew or philly meat (quality tender steak cuts you buggered). Lay the carcass on table. Work the hind quarter away by cutting from the belly side towards the pelvic joint. This part will require some figuring out with your knife point to get the joint to pop loose from the pelvis. Doesn't take a lot of brute force, just the right cut. If frustration prevails, expose some of the femur above the joint and use a sawzall. Lay the quarter on your table. The thickest part is your steak area. Separate the lower part at the leg joint (more tricky cutting to get the joint to pop, but you'll get it with some trial and error). The lower part is tough grinder meat, bone out and add to that pile. The upper part contains the femur. Probe with your knife tip to find it's layout, the expose one end and gradually filet it out of the cut with your boning knife. Square this block off on the ends (this is quality meat, put aside from your grinder pile for fajitas, philly steak, stir fry, etc). Now, cut this section across the grain into your desired steak thickness. Then trim steaks of fat, gristle, and small fragments that will disappear on the grill (put these in the good pile also).

    I blend my grinder meat with about 30% fat pork. A Boston Butt with a healthy fat capp works well for this. Holds up on the grill and makes good taco and spaghetti meat.

    That's the quick and dirty of it. Best if you can work with someone experienced.
     
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2019
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  14. Rembrandt

    Rembrandt Member

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    Boils down to return on investment and how much of a butcher shop you want to outfit.

    Kids and I were hunting several states and bringing home 8-to-10 animals a year, got too expensive to have it done by others. Went out and bought about $1000 worth of equipment to do my own, paid for itself the first year. That was over 20 years ago.....figure I've probably saved 15-to-20K in meat processing costs since.

    If you only take one animal a year, $90 doesn't sound that bad. You can have an animal cut up and in the freezer in a couple of hours with nothing more than a knife and some zip-lock bags.
     
  15. Armored farmer

    Armored farmer Member

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    A sawsall with a fine blade is helpful for splitting and quartering.
    Stock up on freezer paper, tape, and sharpie.
    I use a variety of knives....fillet, boning, and cleaver.
    Cut out the best steaks and eat them up asap. Take the rest boned meat to the butcher shop and have them blend in some pork tallow and pkg it up.
    That's how I do it.
    Best wishes.
     
  16. LoonWulf
    • Contributing Member

    LoonWulf Contributing Member

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    admittedly, I couldn't make a "cut" of meat if my life depended on it.
    I simply take all the meat of and cut up the shoulders and small muscles for stew, teriyaki, or stuff like that. Cut the straps into roasts, cut the hinds into roasts (I can cut them into stakes later). Grind anything left over.

    I don't particularly care for the texture of ground venison, or the fact that it's hard to keep it rare in stuff like spaghetti, or chili, so it's mostly mixed 50/50 with beef and used for patties.

    My wife's family grinds probably 2/3s of each deer they shoot, and use it for everything.
     
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  17. Random 8

    Random 8 Member

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    In re-reading my reply, I find it could be rather daunting for a novice. It's not as hard as it sounds. You can always grind your mistakes, and it is a skill that will improve with time. The first deer I butchered solo was such a beast. Ended up with lots of ground, and felt a bit like peeing up a rope. Like loading your own ammunition, placing your own stands, and successfully hunting in general, it is rewarding on a deeper level. Your skills and knives will last a lifetime and improve with age, ready to be passed on to the next generation. For a little more than your cost of having one deer butchered, you'll be invested in the proper gear to do it yourself, and after a few deer under your belt you'll feel like a bit of an expert, and start critiquing butcher's cutting jobs in the meat case when you shop!
     
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  18. Fine Figure of a Man

    Fine Figure of a Man Member

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    I have butchered and processed well over 100 deer but I can't think of any good way to explain how to do it in a post. I'm sure there are YouTube videos that would be helpful.
    If you have small town butcher shop nearby they would probably give you a crash course in exchange for helping out for a day. Sadly there a fewer of those than there used to be.
    One thing different about butchering a deer vs a steer or hog, you want to trim off as much of the fat as possible. Unlike beef and pork, fat on deer meat is undesirable I would even say disgusting. Contrary to what many think, venison from a "nice fat doe" is not nearly as good venison from a buck that tend to be much leaner. I don't save any of the ribs as they are about 3/4 fat and sinew. I feel the same about deer bone as I do the fat. I de-bone everything and think it is actually easier than using a band saw. Bone dust left on the meat after sawing will give it a particularly bad flavor. "Gamey" tasting venison can be do to diet but most often it is from fat or bone dust.
     
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  19. FL-NC

    FL-NC Member

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    Butchering deer is one of those things where there are many ways to do it, and people do what works best for them. I have noticed different "preferred methods" in different places. I recommend watching some of the different methods on youtube, and asking other people who regularly do this to give you a call next time they kill a deer so you can watch and help. Doing it is the best practice. For knives, I use a gut hook, a outdoor edge folder with the scalpel blades to quarter and remove backstraps, a razor sharp filet knife to debone and remove rib meat,and a very sharp case pocket knife to help removing the hide.
     
  20. FL-NC

    FL-NC Member

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    I did the same thing for years, but then I started saving the meat between the ribs by cutting it out with a filet knife. That and the points at the front of the rib cage are perfect for jerky after marinading. I found that once they are in the dehydrator, the fat and sinew just separate.
     
  21. Fine Figure of a Man

    Fine Figure of a Man Member

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    There is some meat there if you work for it, on larger deer especially. I can get a stack of tags so it isn't worth the time.
    The scraps are not wasted, it all gets put out for the bald eagles. This year may be different after an eagle killed my little dog.
    upload_2019-10-2_7-49-45.png
     
  22. Loyalist Dave

    Loyalist Dave Member

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    Nothing really different from me, except I remove the "silver skin" from both backstraps, and soak it and using the back of a knife blade, scrape off any meat. Then I split it down lengthwise to make sinew for sewing projects like shooting bags... but I hunt with a flintlock so....

    In Hot Weather...,
    Here's a trick that might save folks some of their meat, what with the weather temps jumping about. Us folks doing Early Muzzle Loader and the Bowhunting crowd have a good chance of a temp spike during the season and of course the Southern folks.... who knows....
    Get your cooler, a big Coleman style chest type works fine. I disinfect mine with 95 proof Everclear on a couple of paper towels, and I wipe down the insides. Any residual "disinfectant" gets diluted with water and leaves no taste nor scent.
    Now put in a couple of 8 lb. bags of ice. Next, add a cup of rock salt for making ice cream or kosher salt, sprinkled over the ice. Then add some water. The ice will float... and when it's level half way to three quarters way up the inner sides, stop adding water.THEN start your butchering.

    You see that ice water and salt bath will get very very cold, and as you remove pieces of deer meat, you submerge it in the solution. You're fighting bacteria, and in the heat the bacteria have an advantage. Plunging the meat into the ice water bath chills the meat down fast, the salt helps to retard the bacteria, the meat stays below the layer of ice so no flies can land on it, and there is very little salt added to the meat. The salt also helps to draw out any blood left within or on the meat which is what sometimes causes off flavors if the blood remains.

    Once you get the deer broken down and into the cooler under the layer of ice. You can then remove the meat, and package it for freezing. :thumbup:

    Dump the water from the cooler in a place where the salt and blood won't harm plants. A sewer drain is fine...they salt roads and deer get hit on roads, so....then be sure you wash the cooler with soap and water.

    LD
     
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  23. armedwalleye

    armedwalleye Member

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    Once the carcass is skinned and hanging, legs are removed, take a propane torch and run quickly over the carcass. It'll burn off any residual hair. A commercial butcher showed me that one.
     
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  24. buck460XVR

    buck460XVR Member

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    ^^^Yep

    Honestly, there is no really incorrect method of butchering a deer as long as you get the meat you want from it. wreck some of the steaks when cutting it up, you have really good stew/stir fry meat. I recommend a good quality grinder. Never let the meat get warm when butchering it. Remove as much as the tallow/fat as you can as it produces a poor taste. Debone the meat instead of sawing thru bones. The marrow in deer, like it's tallow, can produce a undesirable taste, and with the risk of CWD, deboning is the recommended method. Grind your meat semi-frozen and do not add pork fat at the time of grinding unless you are going to eat the burger right away. Freezing venison with pork fat, due to the enzymes in the venison, can make the pork fat go rancid over time, even when frozen. Add the fat right before using the burger. Beef tallow is different, but I prefer not to add anything at all. As others said, cut your steaks perpendicular to the grain. As for rib meat, neck meat or how close to the wound channel you go, it's up to you. I'm pretty picky about what I eat......kinda why I butcher my own deer.
     
  25. George P

    George P Member

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    What we used to do is just go buy a boneless pork shoulder (Boston Butt) - it has enough fat to make the meat nice and juicy.
     
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