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Author Topic: Butchering and Meat Processing - My way.  (Read 329 times)

Offline CoolBees

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Butchering and Meat Processing - My way.
« on: October 12, 2021, 05:58:44 pm »
There are many different ways to butcher and process large animals. At the "shouted" request of 15th, I'm posting the way I do it ...

I do all of my own butchering and meat processing - from pulling the trigger (or releasing the arrow) to smoking the sausages and drying the jerky. From Bear (just got one 2 weeks ago), to Deer, to Elk, to Antelope, to Cattle, to Pigs, etc. We made a roast in the slow cooker over the weekend - Bear and Elk - Amazing!

For the record - I will not eat any meat with a "Gamey" flavor. I throw up at the smell of it - instantly. ... and unfortunately, many people have "gamey" meat because they don't handle the meat properly - which is as simple as killing the naturally occurring bacteria in the meat as fast as possible. This is done by "chilling" getting the meat below 40 degrees as fast as possible. The bacteria begin attacking the meat the moment the animal dies - the bacteria then begin to "outgas". It is the "outgassing" of the bacteria that is the source of the "gamey" flavor. ... or at least, this is my understanding of what occurs.

My meat never has a Gamey flavor.

As to actual processing - there are many ways to do it. Here's how I do it:

Note - All deer & goat species have the same internal body/bone structure, when it come to processing.
Note - Work in a clean environment. Wash your hands - regularly (I keep a bucket of warm soap water at hand). Don't let dirt get on the meat or body. Wash the carcass with a garden hose if needed (but I try to avoid this unless necessary - bacterial loves water, so its a catch-22).
Note - I've found I prefer to work with the animal on a table, rather than hanging it, although I've done plenty both ways. I do all my hunting de-boning on the ground on the field - using the skin as the work surface.
Note - I am usually backpacking the meat back to the truck. I don't eat bones, so I don't carry bones out of the field. I de-bone every animal right where it dropped.

I skin the animal first. I do not "gut" until the end. Do not (try not to) pierce the gut outer lining while skinning.
Then i remove one front quarter by lifting the leg and cutting along membranes between the ribs and the quarter, from the brisket up towards the backbone. There is no bone connection here - so it separates easily.
Then I remove the hind quarter in the same basic manner - you have to figure out the Hip joint, by cutting the tendons to separate the quarter at the hip ball joint. Follow the bone lines along the backbone to remove this quarter.
Then I remove the backstrap on this side of this side of the animal.

Then I flip the carcass and repeat - the animal has not been gutted yet.

Now you have a carcass that has only the ribs and backbone and guts. Here's where I gut the animal. I open the gut membrane and pull the guts out - cutting membranes where necessary to separate from the body cavity. Try not to pierce the guts themselves. Cut the diaphragm loose (this is where you get into the blood) and pull everything out from that end. Then pull the large intestine loose - from the other end. Everything should come out in a relatively neat package.

Now I can get the Tenderloins out. If your keeping the ribs, cut them right along the cartilage connection at the backbone. Now shave any other viable meat from the bones that you can find. I eat the heart. I throw out the lungs. You should now have an empty backbone (with or without ribs).

Now take each quarter, lay on (cleaned) table, and de-bone. Bag the de-boned meat from each quarter separately and chill or freeze. Once you've de-boned a few quarters, you see that the front shoulders have a specific unique set of cuts, and the hind quarters have their own set of unique cuts. These cuts are the same for all big game animals - except pigs and bears are a little different. You'll get used to it.

Actually "Processing" the meat - making Steaks, Roasts, and Ground meat, can be done any time you want - later. Freeze the meat if your not going to Process immediately.

I Grind any part of the animal that I can't make into Roasts, Steaks or Ribs. Often, I shave the ribs with a knife to remove all meat, and grind - rather than keep the ribs themselves. I grind the Hocks, Tendons, and all smaller pieces of meat.

I use the Ground meat to make burgers and sausages.

Hope this helps - lmk if I can answer more detailed questions.
« Last Edit: October 12, 2021, 06:28:37 pm by CoolBees »
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Offline CoolBees

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Re: Butchering and Meat Processing - My way.
« Reply #1 on: October 12, 2021, 06:00:48 pm »
15th, to your question regarding Goats: I've never specifically done a goat. However, Antelope is in the goat family. The Goat family is especially susceptible to "gameyness" - you have about 1/3rd of the time frame to prevent "gamey" meat, as compared to a deer, elk, or cow.  So, the first rule (imho) is - from the time to goat dies, to get the meat off of the bones as fast a reasonably possible, and get the meat cooled down as quickly as possible. The bones hold heat (and therefore bacteria) longer than any other part.

BTW - I LOVE properly handled Antelope meat. Most people hate it because it wasn't handled correctly - in which case, yes - it's nasty.
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Offline NigelP

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Re: Butchering and Meat Processing - My way.
« Reply #2 on: October 12, 2021, 06:12:00 pm »
An interesting topic. Here in UK butchering yer own is a big no no. Any butchering/killing an animal  has to go thought regulated abattoirs.  All our livestock is tagged and registered.Big brother is watching over us...
It;s driving the small producer's, who sell (or sold) their produce  at Farmers market's, out of business. UK is mainly all Bed and Breakfast pigs (read battery chicken equivalent) in the effort to produce cheap meat. Just think small barn with overpowered numbers of of pig constantly squealing and fighting  each other 24/7.


Offline CoolBees

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Re: Butchering and Meat Processing - My way.
« Reply #3 on: October 12, 2021, 06:17:03 pm »
Some additional notes:

Sharp Knives make all the difference. I keep several handy from the start. All my knives are razor sharp - I can shave with them. A dull knife makes for a slow, tiring, day. With a sharp knife, I can walk up to an animal, and walk away 45 mins later with the entire animal de-boned, and the meat packaged in bags. I cannot stress the importance of good knives enough.

I've heard of people "soaking" meat in a brining solution (water, salt, vinegar, etc). This is done to get rid of the gamey flavor. ... it isn't needed, if the meat has been handled properly.

I've seen people hang a deer for 2 weeks or so - if the temps are hovering in the high 20's to low 40's. I've done it, but I don't do it any more.

I take very few pictures of animals I've hunted - because time matters for proper meat - I walk up and start cutting. When I see people bringing a deer home in their truck in the afternoon (that they shot in the early morning), I cringe. ... but, as long as they are happy, and they don't invite me over for dinner, it's all good.

I suppose: That I should mention how many animals I've processed. ... here goes ... the ones I've taken: 182 deer (Whitetails, Muley's, & Colombian Blacktails, combined), 14 Elk, 8 bears, 14 wild pigs, 1 antelope, a few dozen (purchased) cattle, PLUS every one of the animals taken by other people in my camp ... another 400 in total maybe?
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Offline CoolBees

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Re: Butchering and Meat Processing - My way.
« Reply #4 on: October 12, 2021, 06:26:42 pm »
An interesting topic. Here in UK butchering yer own is a big no no. Any butchering/killing an animal  has to go thought regulated abattoirs.  All our livestock is tagged and registered.Big brother is watching over us...
It;s driving the small producer's, who sell (or sold) their produce  at Farmers market's, out of business. UK is mainly all Bed and Breakfast pigs (read battery chicken equivalent) in the effort to produce cheap meat. Just think small barn with overpowered numbers of of pig constantly squealing and fighting  each other 24/7.

That really sucks Nigel. I enjoy processing my own meat. I like to get a good look at it. I can see if there are tumors, parasites, etc. ... I won't eat meat from a store. I've been to the slaughter houses. I've seen how its done for mass production/consumption. (I worked cattle for a year when I was a teenager). ... in my humble opinion, my meat is soooo much better. It's too bad the UK has done that.

I've seen the pig farms like you describe. A German neighbor kept pigs like that when I was a kid. ... just NASTY!
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Offline NigelP

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Re: Butchering and Meat Processing - My way.
« Reply #5 on: October 12, 2021, 06:36:47 pm »
Yes, it sucks. I'm fortunate as I work farmers markets selling honey amd by default have access to ethically reared outdoor meats from other sellers, It makes a huge difference, both in my appreciation of the meat and most-times the quality and flavour is amazing.

Offline The15thMember

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Re: Butchering and Meat Processing - My way.
« Reply #6 on: October 12, 2021, 08:03:54 pm »
Before I proceed with my questions, thank you, thank you again, Alan.  My mom wants to know if you can fly across the country to come over and teach us!  :wink: :cheesy:

Question 1: Our major concern with attempting your unorthodox method is that, having very little experience in this department, we will be very slow.  Like skinning for example, is going to be way harder than a rabbit and will probably take us very long.  In reading about this, I've heard people say that it's important to get the guts out quickly because they hold a lot of heat, while you seem to favor the skin and bones as the bigger reservoirs of thermal energy in the carcass.  I think your method makes complete sense for someone who can, as you mention, go through this process in under an hour, but we undoubtedly cannot.  I also feel like if we go through the whole butchering process like we do a rabbit (guts, then skin, then quartering, as opposed to skin, quartering, guts), just due to familiarity with the process, we may work more efficiently.  Considering our inevitably slow speed, would you still recommend your method, as far as cooling the meat goes, since we are definitely NOT fast enough to have the guts out in 45 minutes if we do it your way? 

Question 2: What is your opinion on leaving fat on the meat?  I've seen several people mentioning that the fat gives an off flavor to the meat, both with deer and with goats.  Has that been your experience?

Question 3: Mom is particularly interested in cooking the tenderloins and the loins/backstrap the same day.  What would be your recommended method of cooking that cut?  If you have a recipe you'd be willing to share, we'd gladly take it.   

 
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Offline CoolBees

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Re: Butchering and Meat Processing - My way.
« Reply #7 on: October 12, 2021, 08:26:33 pm »
Before I proceed with my questions, thank you, thank you again, Alan.  My mom wants to know if you can fly across the country to come over and teach us!  :wink: :cheesy:

I'm happy to help if I can - but I ain't flyin' nowhere these days
 I am going deer hunting this weekend, if y'all want to fly over here and watch me cut one up.  :shocked: :cool:

:Question 1: Our major concern with attempting your unorthodox method is that, having very little experience in this department, we will be very slow.  Like skinning for example, is going to be way harder than a rabbit and will probably take us very long.  In reading about this, I've heard people say that it's important to get the guts out quickly because they hold a lot of heat, while you seem to favor the skin and bones as the bigger reservoirs of thermal energy in the carcass.  I think your method makes complete sense for someone who can, as you mention, go through this process in under an hour, but we undoubtedly cannot.  I also feel like if we go through the whole butchering process like we do a rabbit (guts, then skin, then quartering, as opposed to skin, quartering, guts), just due to familiarity with the process, we may work more efficiently.  Considering our inevitably slow speed, would you still recommend your method, as far as cooling the meat goes, since we are definitely NOT fast enough to have the guts out in 45 minutes if we do it your way? 

I totally understand. It's no problem to do it like you would a rabbit, it just takes longer and it's more of a mess. My process has evolved thru the years - to what it is today.  As long as your done in a few hours, you'll be fine.

Gutting takes [me] less than 60 seconds - when I start that way. One cut from privates to sternum. Flip the animal upside-down. Grab hind legs - give a couple firm shakes to drop the guts out. Lay carcass on its side, and cut out diaphragm, cut esophagus, pull large intestine loose - done. ... but ... now you've got blood (and hopefully not guts) everywhere - before you start. ... so I reversed the process. That's all.


Question 2: What is your opinion on leaving fat on the meat?  I've seen several people mentioning that the fat gives an off flavor to the meat, both with deer and with goats.  Has that been your experience?
 

So - very good question. I don't like the fat either. It does give off flavors that I dont prefer. When processing the de-boned meat, I trim off all fat (with the exception of whitetails if the fat is very hard and white - sometimes)


Question 3: Mom is particularly interested in cooking the tenderloins and the loins/backstrap the same day.  What would be your recommended method of cooking that cut?  If you have a recipe you'd be willing to share, we'd gladly take it.   


I'm lazy. I always try to get someone else to cook ... which is to say, I'm not a Chef. I've had many excellent goat dishes - none of which I've cooked myself.

My "old standby" has always been Salt, Pepper, and a little Garlic  ... but with goat, specifically, there are much better recipes - I don't know them unfortunately.
« Last Edit: October 12, 2021, 08:37:32 pm by CoolBees »
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Offline gww

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Re: Butchering and Meat Processing - My way.
« Reply #8 on: October 13, 2021, 12:24:53 am »
Though it is a little wastefull, I no longer save the ribs and the tiny bit of tender loin inside a deer does not tempt me to gut them.  I do believe in skinning and deboneing as fast as possible and chilling the meat as quickly as possible.  If you deside you want to gut, it is helpful to cut around the but hole before you start so that the guts can fall lose and be pulled out easier.  If I gut hanging, I will place one hand inside the animal and keep it between the stomach and knife while gutting.  When you start from the back and then reach the rib cage, as long as your knife is put through at an angle towards the head, you are safe at that point cause all you might cut is the lungs or heart. 

I hunt where I also clean and so take a atv or tractor and get the animal to the house as soon as possible and start my work.  I am not afraid to eat breakfast and then clean but agree that faster is better.  Fat and tallow and bone are the things that will give the quickest off taste and I try to remove all with in reason. 

I do not worry about the guts being in the deer causeing a heating problem as long as I get to cleaning fairly fast.  I used to gut immediatly where the deer dropped but find I get less dirt and hair with the way I do it now plus for what you get, the work is no longer worth it to me though it used to be and I did not want any waste.

making or using a single tree to keep the back legs spred is helpfull for the way I hang and clean deer. 
Good luck
gww

Offline Acebird

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Re: Butchering and Meat Processing - My way.
« Reply #9 on: October 13, 2021, 08:34:56 am »
Coolbees where did you learn your methods?  I am not flying anywhere either.  My wife just got caught in the Southwest snafoo Sunday.
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Offline CoolBees

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Re: Butchering and Meat Processing - My way.
« Reply #10 on: October 13, 2021, 01:22:25 pm »
Coolbees where did you learn your methods?  I am not flying anywhere either.  My wife just got caught in the Southwest snafoo Sunday.

Howdy Ace. ... good question - trial by fire would be the correct answer I guess.

I was raised a vegetarian. Moved away from home, rented a room, got a job, and miss-managed my money, so I was hungry. I remembered Venison Stew from my grandfather once as a kid. Deer were walking around the yard where I rented. Went to the library, and checked out a book on game processing. Read it. When I finished the book, I looked out the window at the deer - picked up my rifle and said "well, here goes ... ". ... it turned out ok.

Since then - I've met and talked with many hunters in many states, around many campfires, invariably this topic comes up. My methods just evolved on their own - thru a combination of listening and experience. ... I'm definitely not saying my way is "the right way".

I was thinking, since writing this thread (at the request of 15th  :grin:)- when did I change my methods to an almost reverse of the conventional ways? I can't pin down a date, a year, or an animal. It just happened.
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Offline CoolBees

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Re: Butchering and Meat Processing - My way.
« Reply #11 on: October 13, 2021, 01:35:52 pm »
Gww - its interesting that we do things pretty much the same way. I've not seen anyone else do it this way - personally.

I have to agree on shaving the ribs of the average deer, as well as the tenderloins. There's just not much there that's worth the time - and I've been guilty of walking away from both also. Especially on smaller WT Does.

I've reached the point where I don't gut an Elk at all. After I've removed all meat from the carcass - I shave the ribs getting about 20ish lbs of meat (to be ground), then I cut the outer gut lining right up next to the spine by the tenderloins. This allows access to the tenderloins from one side. I get both of them out, and walk away - leaving the guts basically still in the carcass, as there's no meat there anyways. I'd be surprised of someone could find 5 lbs of meat on the carcass when I'm done.

... and it's a much cleaner process.
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Offline gww

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Re: Butchering and Meat Processing - My way.
« Reply #12 on: October 13, 2021, 02:25:24 pm »
Cool bees
Quote
... and it's a much cleaner process.
Agreed.  Except for a few steers and a few pigs and chickens and squirils and rabbits, 90 percent of my experiance comes from white tail.  I have zero experiance with some of the bigger game.  Lots of white tails though.
Cheers
gww

Offline The15thMember

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Re: Butchering and Meat Processing - My way.
« Reply #13 on: October 13, 2021, 03:05:06 pm »
I was raised a vegetarian. Moved away from home, rented a room, got a job, and miss-managed my money, so I was hungry. I remembered Venison Stew from my grandfather once as a kid. Deer were walking around the yard where I rented. Went to the library, and checked out a book on game processing. Read it. When I finished the book, I looked out the window at the deer - picked up my rifle and said "well, here goes ... ". ... it turned out ok.
That is both hilarious and amazing!  :grin: 

Gww - its interesting that we do things pretty much the same way. I've not seen anyone else do it this way - personally.

I have to agree on shaving the ribs of the average deer, as well as the tenderloins. There's just not much there that's worth the time - and I've been guilty of walking away from both also. Especially on smaller WT Does.

I've reached the point where I don't gut an Elk at all. After I've removed all meat from the carcass - I shave the ribs getting about 20ish lbs of meat (to be ground), then I cut the outer gut lining right up next to the spine by the tenderloins. This allows access to the tenderloins from one side. I get both of them out, and walk away - leaving the guts basically still in the carcass, as there's no meat there anyways. I'd be surprised of someone could find 5 lbs of meat on the carcass when I'm done.

... and it's a much cleaner process.
This method sounds really efficient, it's a wonder that more people don't do it this way.  I think we're going to just stick with the method we're familiar with from smaller game, since it's our first time, but once we are more adept, I can see this making good sense.  We do like to save the organs for our dogs, so I doubt we'd ever not gut the animal at all, but it seems kind of obvious once you think about it that doing the guts last would be much cleaner.   
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Offline CoolBees

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Re: Butchering and Meat Processing - My way.
« Reply #14 on: October 13, 2021, 11:17:03 pm »
You will do fine 15th.
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Offline Acebird

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Re: Butchering and Meat Processing - My way.
« Reply #15 on: October 14, 2021, 08:43:52 am »

Howdy Ace. ... good question - trial by fire would be the correct answer I guess.

Usually a longer learning process but sometimes more rewarding.
I didn't know a thing about sailing and now that I live on the southern coast of FL it seemed the prudent thing to learn.  So I built a sail and rudder system and mounted it to my 12 ft canoe.  Yesterday I was sailing and fishing at the same time.  A milestone that I am not only proud of but also something I enjoy doing.  Hunting and fishing are similar but to me fishing is more enjoyable even if I don't catch anything.
I am wondering if you have chickens.  When I culled them I would skin them rather than pluck them seeing as how I only did a few at a time.  If you cleaned chickens do you wash them before freezing or after thawing them out?
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Offline CoolBees

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Re: Butchering and Meat Processing - My way.
« Reply #16 on: October 14, 2021, 05:52:49 pm »
Ace - great job with the sailing! That's cool.   :cool:

My son prefers fish. I prefer hunting. It's all good.

We have chickens. About a 100 right now. I refuse to process them - they stink. I make somebody else do it. (I'm weird about some things) ... but I often skin turkeys. Heck of a lot faster. .... I'm not really sure why I'll clean a turkey or a sage hen, but not a chicken.

As fow washing birds - I wash both before freezing, and again before cooking. Not sure if that's the "right way" or not.
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Offline Acebird

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Re: Butchering and Meat Processing - My way.
« Reply #17 on: October 15, 2021, 08:29:06 am »
I asked because a lot of the packaged foods say to pat dry but not wash the meat before cooking.  No doubt it has been radiated, bleached and preservatives added.
I didn't think the stink was too bad but you have to be careful when you open that gut.  Amazing how warm the guts are.
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Offline The15thMember

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Re: Butchering and Meat Processing - My way.
« Reply #18 on: October 15, 2021, 11:41:23 am »
We have chickens. About a 100 right now. I refuse to process them - they stink. I make somebody else do it. (I'm weird about some things) ... but I often skin turkeys. Heck of a lot faster. .... I'm not really sure why I'll clean a turkey or a sage hen, but not a chicken.

As fow washing birds - I wash both before freezing, and again before cooking. Not sure if that's the "right way" or not.
I agree, I HATE doing chickens, especially after discovering how easy a rabbit is.  They totally smell, and because you want the breast meat you have to blindly grope around in their tiny body cavities to deal with the guts, and if you are plucking you get feathers everywhere . . . such a pain.  Peeling the gizzard and feet is fun though.  :happy:  I should learn to skin a chicken, I bet that is way easier.  We always used to pluck because we wanted the skin, but now that we have rabbits we mostly just crock pot the birds.     
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Offline Acebird

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Re: Butchering and Meat Processing - My way.
« Reply #19 on: October 16, 2021, 08:49:58 am »
There is not a lot of meat on a laying hen so it is best to just make soup.  And oh what a soup they make.
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