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How much gets thrown away?

Discussion in 'Hunting' started by HankR, Dec 5, 2013.

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  1. HankR

    HankR Member

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    Hi All,

    Longtime shooter, relatively new to the hunting thing, and finally learning to process our own deer. I've had two separate acquaintances show me how they butcher their deer, and it both cases it seems to me like a lot of meat gets thrown away. A lot of the smaller muscles, low on the leg, maybe 1-1 1/2 inch diameter, maybe 4-5 inches long which I would think would make decent burger or stew. Both gentlemen threw these in the trash as "not being worth messing with". When asked, both thought that a better grinder might work OK with those, but that they couldn't get enough of the membrane stuff off to make it worth their time. One had a hand grinder, and I'm not sure about the other. One (a buck) had what looked like a lot of neck meat to me, but the gentleman said the veins made it unsatisfactory. After cutting out the loins/backstrap, tenderloins, and big roasts from the rear quarter the pile of left-overs for the grinder was about half to two-thirds the size as the trash pile (with no roasts from the front quarter, all to grind). Does this seem right? I'm hoping for a late season doe, and would like to process it ourselves but don't want to be wasteful. (My dogs on the other hand wouldn't mind a bit if they ended up with more.)


    On a related question, which would you buy first. A grinder or a vacuum sealer?

    Thanks,

    Hank
     
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2013
  2. 1911 guy

    1911 guy Member

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    Buy the grinder first, as it is easier to live without the sealer for a year, while processing without a grinder is very difficult.

    There is as much meat on a deer as you want to spend the effort on. Personally, I'm in your camp. I make steaks, chops and stew meat out of anything I can. All the meat between the ribs, bits here and there, etc, gets turned into burger. When a bone is tossed into the trash pile, there should be no meat on it, in my opinion.

    To freeze better with no sealer, pat the meat dry after processing, wrap TIGHTLY (as in roll in up on a sturdy table) in plastic wrap then cover in butcher paper. Moisture and air cause freezer burn.
     
  3. Arkansas Paul

    Arkansas Paul Member

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    I agree.
    Even if you can't grind them because of the membrane, they will still work great in the crock pot. Slow cooked all night and they'll be falling apart. Then add veggies for stew/soup or do other things with it.

    Sounds like they're just too lazy to do it.
    I've always cut off the neck meat and used it for grind or stew meat. I've never tasted anything bad because of veins.

    That part is just personal preference. I don't make anything into roasts. The hams get steaked out. What I can't steak out, goes into the grind pile.
    Shoulders all go in the grind or stew pile.

    If you think what your friends did was wasteful, you don't want to have it processed. I'm always shocked by how little my friends get back. I will NEVER take one to a processor.
    Now, I do take grind meat to a local place and have jalepeno/cheddar summer sausage made. Mmmmmm
     
  4. dab102999

    dab102999 Member

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    As stated depending on how involved you want to get (only out time not money) there is a lot of meat. Learing with time how the tenions run will allow for better cuts also. I am in the boat of definately get a grinder first. Also experiment with adding beef or pork to some grind to get a good blend.

    As far as a grinder goes watch you local auction sites for kitchen supply place auctions and also Craigs list. I bought a real nice grinder and band saw (stainless) off Craigslist years ago for pennys on the dollar of new and have put lots of my own and tons of neighbors deers thru them.

    If you are looking for a smaller countertype one do not go cheap...it will not last to long. I have even seen nice looking models from Cabelas take a crap after a couple of deer.
     
  5. HankR

    HankR Member

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    Thanks. As for the grinder, my wife has a pretty serious stand-type mixer (Kitchenaid) that she never uses. I see grinder attachments for these when I google. Is that a viable option? Seems like the beefy motor part is already paid for, and I would think that is a decent brand.


    If you stew the small muscles does the membrane layer just go away, or do you just need to eat around it?

    As stated depending on how involved you want to get (only out time not money) there is a lot of meat

    Gotta admit, at the end of the evening, cold and shivering, fingers too numb to grip the membrane, I was starting to agree w/ them. We were doing this in an unheated building both times. Good for the meat, not so good on my old bones.

    Thanks again
     
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2013
  6. der Teufel

    der Teufel Member

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    This is all just opinion. Other folks may have other opinions which are certainly as valid as mine:

    The Kitchen Aid is okay, but not great. I have one, an old K5 model, which I use to make small (5 Lbs at a time) quantities of breakfast sausage. For that it's satisfactory. I've used it in the past to make larger quantities (20-25 Lbs) of link sausage, but nowadays I just de-bone the meat and take it to a processor. They grind, season, and stuff it for $1/Lb. If you want them to add fat or other meat to it you'll pay for that, of course. The Kitchen Aid just doesn't have the umph! to work through the membrane material so it keeps clogging up. I keep looking at dedicated grinders, but can't really justify the cost. Maybe if I found a good one on Craigslist . . .
     
  7. Centurian22

    Centurian22 Member

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    I got my first deer this year and made the intimidating choice to process it myself. The deer weighed 125 after field dressing and only 10lbs went in the trash. That was the spine and the pelvis after it was picked clean by my wife. She spent about 1.5-2 hrs and extracted a total of 14oz of meat from the pelvis. Worth it to her but not quite to me after I had been processing for two days straight.

    The skin is getting tanned, the antlers will be a gun rack and the head was given to a friend. I estimate a total of 80-90lbs of meat. After skinning I quartered it into a large (30gal maybe?) clear Rubbermaid bin. Then moved the operation inside. Big black trash bag over the kitchen table and went to town. Working out of one Rubbermaid, into ziplocks, into another Rubbermaid. All the leg bones are saved for my four dogs. If I would have had to stay out in the cold it would have been much harder to care enough to be so efficient.

    Glad I made the choice to do it though. Skinning and Processing was WAY easier than field dressing. Good luck!
     
  8. WayBeau

    WayBeau Member

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    I have a Kitchenaid mixer which I was thinking about getting the grinder attachment for. . . until I read some of the reviews. Now, I like to think that I'm fairly level headed on such matters, as online opinions seem to vary from one extreme to the other and it's hard to know what's true or not. That being said, I read too many reviews of the blades not being up to the task and the need to 're-grind' or stop and clean the machine after a small amount of meat going through. If you're going to buy a grinder, invest in a good one (that's my plan at least). I'm keeping my eye on the classified ads and eBay for a good deal on a quality one. Nothing worse than trying to grind meat and you're having to stop every few minutes to clean the blades/disks/etc.

    The other thing to keep in mind, you want to get the meat as 'clean' of membranes as possible before grinding. The littlest bit of silver skin can gum up a grinder very quickly. Also, slightly freezing the meat before grinding seems to help.

    Hope that's helpful. I don't make stews with my deer. All jerky (which the smaller pieces are perfect for), steaks, and roasts for me.
     
  9. wyohome

    wyohome Member

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    We use a Kitchen Aid for stuffing pepperoni and links. The larger grinder gets used for summer sausage and general grinding. Get the largest grinder that you can justify the expense of. Also, the colder the meat, the better it grinds.
     
  10. goofyoldfart

    goofyoldfart Member

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    just reading through some of the posts on this forum and found this one. I was just wondering if, for one doe, a hand grinder could be used for a "first time try" by an old retired fart like me. the advice of Centurian22 on the use of the Rubbermaid containers makes A LOT of sense. One thing I have a lot of is time (and a warm basement). thanks for any responses. God Bless to all and theirs.

    Goofy
     
  11. HankR

    HankR Member

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    Is it OK for the meat to warm it up to household temps for a few hours while processing? Any tricks in gripping the membrane to pull it away and cut it off? Not sure if my fingers were just numb, but I couldn't really grip it well and ended up whittling it off when I tried to do one of the smaller pieces I mentioned. Ended up looking gnawed on, with lots of meat on the membrane.
     
  12. WayBeau

    WayBeau Member

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    Yes. I usually do one section at a time and move it to the fridge right after I'm done. Then grab the next section out and work on it. A cooler works well for this if you don't have the space in the fridge/freezer.

    I usually just try to filet it off like you would the skin of a fish. I can generally get it all off with minimal meat lost. There might be better/easier ways to do it, but I don't know any.
     
  13. mnhntr

    mnhntr Member

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    Meat should be processed at cooler than room temp and partially frozen if grinding. It should hang in 36-42* temp for a week for optimal quality. The lower leg muscles are easily taken off the membrane with a sharp fillet knife. Buy a grinder and the money you will save will pay for the vacuum sealer. I throw away the hide and bones and most of the organs, everything else is used. The heart and liver are good and most guys throw the ribs away but they make great BBQ.
     
  14. Arkansas Paul

    Arkansas Paul Member

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    If you cook in the crock pot overnight like I do, the membrane is pretty much dissolved into the mix.
     
  15. HankR

    HankR Member

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    OK. Can people recommend good grinders? Probably won't get one this year, but I can at least figure out what brands/features/construction are good.
     
  16. inclinebench

    inclinebench Member

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    My wife has a Kitchenaid and we have used that grinder. Then I bought a dedicated grinder, and I will never use the Kitchenaid one again. I was amazed at the power and speed a dedicated grinder gave me. At the risk of sounding like an advertisement, I will just say I bought an STX Turboforce 3000 grinder. I am sure there are other models just as good, but this one has been pretty good to me.
     
  17. Bull Nutria

    Bull Nutria Member

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    LOWER LEGS ON DEER MAKE EXCELLENT SOUP, IT WILL SURPRISE YOU HOW TENDER AND TASTY THAT TOUGH LOOKING MUSCLE WILL GET!!

    bULL
     
  18. mnhntr

    mnhntr Member

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    Look for #8 or larger grinder if you do more than 1 or 2 deer a season. The best grinders have metal gears but are more expensive. If you pick up a cheaper one with plastic gears get it from somewhere that will warranty it. LEM has some of the best equipment.
     
  19. Cocked & Locked

    Cocked & Locked Member

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  20. travisd

    travisd Member

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    I take mine down to the bone with the exception of the ribs. Never found it worth it to mess with. Hardly any meat there and half of it is the membrane stuff and some of it is always going to be ruined from the shot. Maybe if you had a huge deer you could get something out of it.

    I'm also going to be buying a grinder before next year. Bringing in meat ready to grind doesn't cost anything to get done but it'll save a couple bucks and mainly an hour drive round trip to the butchers.
     
  21. DM~

    DM~ Member

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    Different strokes for different folks!

    I grind most all of my deer, only "steaking" the tender loins and back straps... I'm just not that fond of venison roast ect...

    DM
     
  22. Liberty1776

    Liberty1776 Member

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    Pardon me but the guys you were watching were lazy, stupid, or both. ArkansasPaul has it right. As far as the lower legs go, I use them all the way down until the meat runs out. You can grind it, stew it or make soup but usually I take the entire lower leg and bake them long and in beef stock with onions, mushrooms and red wine until tender.

    And they were just plain wrong or lying about the neck. Once you remove the lymph glands, the neck makes a wonderful, tender roast. I bone out the front shoulders and once the silver skin is removed from the three main pieces the meat is just as tender as the rest and makes great steak for Swiss steak, etc.

    And definitely do it yourself. I would NEVER take my deer in to a processor... you CANNOT be guaranteed they will do a good, efficient job or that you get your own deer back.
     
  23. Wolfgang james

    Wolfgang james Member

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    I have a great butcher here in town and I skinned for him for a few yrs so he will grind and package for me for a 12pk but I know he don't charge others more then like $20 and its a better finished product then we got from a small stainless (kitchen) grinder. In my case I'd buy the vac sealer but its also not an hr round trip to get some grinding done, well unless you count the bsing and drinking some of the payment.
     
  24. Gunnerboy

    Gunnerboy Member

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    Sounds to me like these guys have never gone hungry before....
     
  25. DM~

    DM~ Member

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    Depends! There's a place here that makes sure you get YOUR deer back. YOUR license number stays with YOUR deer all the way through the whole process, and i've stood there and watched them push deer through. They cut/wrap/freeze them anyway YOU want them and do a VERY good job. The cost is 50 bucks...

    I have them do one deer a year, and split it with a friend, any other deer, i do myself.

    DM
     
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