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Saturday, October 31, 2009

How to butcher a deer

Okay now we can learn how to remove the meat from your deer.  Or what I like to call house friendly venison.  Mamma doesn't take to kindly to whole venison quarters laying on the counter top.

First thing I do is to cut the belly flap and fold it into the ribcage.  This makes a "container" for your fat and undesired trimmings.  Keeps the big brown dog from any "treats" too.

I begin by exposing the back loins.  Cleaning up the silver skin and fat all the way to the front shoulder blades.  Before
In the next photo you can see I am pointing to the shoulder blade.  This is where you begin the removal of the front shoulder.
Next I remove the front shoulders.  Grab the leg and let the weight of the carcass assist you.  Begin slicing at the exposed tip of the shoulder blade down towards the "armpit".  The shoulder will naturally pull away from the carcass.

Set aside until later
Repeat on other side.  This is a good time to also remove any flank meat or meat on the outer carcass along the ribs.
Next I expose the back loin.  This is truly the best cut on the deer so take your time and do it right.  Begin by cutting along the back bone through to the ribs.  Cut along the top just under the hind quarter.  Run your knife along the ribs toward the back bone to release the loin.  Work this process all the way to the neck. 

When finished you should have this.
Repeat on the other side.  Next is the neck.  If you would like a roast then simply remove the esophoghus, clean up the fat and sinew and cut with a saw where you finished removing the loin.  I do not prefer neck roasts so I just strip out the neck for burger meat.

Now I move on to the rear quarters.  I use a chainfall for hanging my deer.  I adjust the carcass so the rear is at a comfortable level to work on.
Begin by making a cut as shown below.  The bone is just under the muscle on the interior side of the leg.  You can feel for it with your finger.  Cut down the length of the bone to the hip socket area.
Once you have achieved the cut above you can simply roll the meat off of the bone.  Make small cuts working your way down and around the bone.  Let gravity pull the meat downward for you.
Next follow the tail bone and cut down and along the end of the spine to remove the whole muscle group from the carcass. I have drawn a line on the picture.  It is in green.

Repeat on other side.

Now you can clean up the carcass as much as you desire.  There are little tid bits everywhere.
For removing the meat from the front shoulder follow the bones.  I usually make burger or stew meat from the front shoulder.  I ran out of batteries for this process but it's pretty self explanatory.

Most people do not realize how little meat is obtained from a deer.  This deer was approx. 135 lbs gutted.
I ended up with about 38 pounds of pure meat.  All boneless as well.  I made 17 pounds of burger.  I saved one roast out of the rear quarter for a venison ham I want to smoke.  Total of about2.5 pounds.  I also had about 15 pounds of steak. 
Pound for pound this is a great savings on our grocery bill.  We are buying beef burger from Meijer at $4.89 a pound and I have must confess I find it to be almost unedible.  If I do the math using burger prices I save $185.82.  I paid $15 for the license and $3 for freezer bags.  I spent about 2 and a half hours total from skin to freeze.  Many people do not like the taste of venison.  I believe most of these people have had there venison processed commercially.  A band saw running through fat, bone, marrow, and hormone secreting glands sliding across the face of your steak I agree is not palatable.  Burger made from everything and anything on the deer I agree is not palatable.  Steak sliced from nothing but pure venison and burger ground from pure venison however is quite delectable.
I did not capture the slicing and grinding phase due to time constraints but I assure you I will on the next one if I am fortunate enough.  The rear quarters consist of 3 main muscle groups.  Isolate these groups and slice into steaks or stew meat or jerky etc..Thanks to all and good eating!!!!

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