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How many do their own butchering


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Lee...you're going to be real pleased with that grinder.  My buddy has a similar model from NT and we grind 3-4 deer and a couple of bears with it most years.  It works great and has held up to lot of use.  A couple years back 3 of us went in on a 20 lb canister driven sausage stuffer.  It really decreased the time to stuff sausage and made making snack sticks and breakfast sausage links a snap.

Old bird, if you are just getting into cutting up your own deer I'd suggest getting a couple DVD's or books on the subject.  The public library in our area has a ton of them.  I basically cut out tenderloins, backstracks, a few choice roasts and steaks off the hinderquarters, and the rest gets turned into snack sticks, jerky, summer sausage, breakfast sausage, italian sausage, jalapeno cheddar brats, burger etc.

All you really need to get started is a some sharp knives, a grinding attachment for your wifes kitchen aid and a food saver off craigslist.

It looks well made, Hub and it's not much bigger than a toaster.

It made short work of that big piece of chuck my wife brought home. I'd like to try sausage with it as well. Do you add fat to your deerburger and if so, do you use beef or pork?

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RE: Sausage

I add ground pork for the fat portion of the recipes.  I think pure fat makes the sausage too greasy.  Last year we made Italian sausage, breakfast, brats and Landjagers.

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Basic level of meat processing is pretty easy but it does take some time and a few beers.  I prefer to bone out and then separate into major groups.   My groups are Sirloin, Tenderloin, Rounds, and then "everything else".  I trim pretty rigorously.  Tenderloin are packaged for a special meal, sirloin cut into steaks, the best round cuts are cut into a few steaks and some roasts.  The rest of the rounds and everything else is either cut into stew meat or packed into burger sized packages to be ground just before consumption.  I either use the Cuisinart or if I have time, a hand grinder.  That way I control the grind for the intended use - coarse or chunks for chili, medium for burger, finer for spaghetti.  

I wrap in plastic and then in freezer paper and and have had good results even with the odd package that has been has been in the freezer for 2 years, - Make sure you have some good boning knives and a good supply of plastic tubs.

I have not tried jerky or sausage, but with a tag for a buck mulie this year, I may give that a go.

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braque du upstate
are small group of friends put 100 deer or so through the barn each year.  lots of grab ass and lies are told drinking cheap beer.  everyone gets a job.  rookies cut stew meat and burger.veterans  cut steaks and loins. i don't get out for deer much anymore. i enjoy the bs almost as much as the hunt. having sharp knives,and a clean work station almost makes it fun.  hacking at deer with dull knives and making a mess in your wife's kitchen is miserable.
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are small group of friends put 100 deer or so through the barn each year.  lots of grab ass and lies are told drinking cheap beer.  everyone gets a job.  rookies cut stew meat and burger.veterans  cut steaks and loins. i don't get out for deer much anymore. i enjoy the bs almost as much as the hunt. having sharp knives,and a clean work station almost makes it fun.  hacking at deer with dull knives and making a mess in your wife's kitchen is miserable.

Wow, that's serious.  Got any pictures of the operation?

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I shoot a couple tender young fawns each fall.  (I am careful to always wipe the milk from their chins before gutting.)  Butchering a small 90 lb deer is a joy.  The weather is often warm here and it sure takes the stress out of the job knowing you'll have it done in a reasonable time before flies and taint set in.

As said, sharp knives, clean workplace, full stock of wrapping paper, tape, pans, makes it a pleasant chore.  May have to invest in a vacuum packager as I lost some meat to freezer burn this year.

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braque du upstate
are small group of friends put 100 deer or so through the barn each year.  lots of grab ass and lies are told drinking cheap beer.  everyone gets a job.  rookies cut stew meat and burger.veterans  cut steaks and loins. i don't get out for deer much anymore. i enjoy the bs almost as much as the hunt. having sharp knives,and a clean work station almost makes it fun.  hacking at deer with dull knives and making a mess in your wife's kitchen is miserable.

Wow, that's serious.  Got any pictures of the operation?

it's not much to look at. just a small barn converted into a garage. the owner is single and doesn't mind late nights or early visits . a few good tables, a fridge ,freezers, lots of clean tubs and cutting boards. plenty of gambels and a nice hoist. it works out well for everyone. friends show up with beer and home cooked meals. married guys avoid conflict. group orders of jerky and sausage are  easy.  usually there is a surplus of pkged frozen vension.  someone's dad can usually drop off a doe ,and take home a pre cut deer if they want. hides and capes are sold to a taxidermist ,who gives the group a great rate.  all in all, it works out great. peer pressure keeps everyone honest and very little goes to waste.

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  • 2 weeks later...
I think my buddy and I did 6 deer last year.  We quarter them and soak them a few days before butchering.  Normally the wife and I do that portion.  We make a few pounds of grinds with a cast orion hand grinder.  The rest is cut into steaks and roasts.  Season opens Saturday...
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I hope you give it a try.

At our house it's a family job. The boys cut and trimmed stew meat as soon as they were old enough to use a knife safely. We would take turns cutting, wrapping and grinding so hands and feet would get a rest. Many kids today don't realize where food comes from, some of their parent's don't either.

My kids brought home friends to watch us cut and process, most were intrigued. I suspect they took home stories about hearts, tongue, etc.

The family prefers keeping only the best steaks and roasts as retail cuts,  grinding the rest. Antelope were usually made into pizza sausage or chorizo. Making jerkey was OK, but I'd rather use that meat for ground mixed with about 15 % pork suet for my burgers.

Luckily one of the group found a restaurant going out of business and bought a Hobart? commercial grinder. Families took turns with it, used it for many years replacing blades as needed.

Posssibly your county agricultural extension service will have pamphlets on meet processing that you can use as a guide.

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I have done all my deer and elk for years. I hang the carcass for 3-4 days before beginning. I do not care for ground venison as it has too little fat to make good burger. I do use a lot of meat that others grind by cutting into stew meat or for chili. All the 'unusable' scraps become salami.

Two tips- organize a big clear space (table or counter) and trays for hold the cut product before starting the work, buy and sharpen butcher knives and boning knives and have everything at hand before beginning. Goes a lot faster that way.

If you are uncertain about cuts and prime parts, get a good meat book, which will show you all the cuts and help you do a proper job. It is not hard and makes a pleasant few hours work.

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You guys are an inspiration.  Guess it's time to sharpen the shivs come November.

One other thought before you become too inspired. Last winter we shot three deer; one big buck, one button buck and one doe. Because of time restrictions we butchered all of them. If not for the time issues I would have butchered the two smaller ones and sent the big buck to a processor. Butchering a big buck is a lot of work for the $70 they charge to skin, cut and wrap. Besides that, the big bucks are the ones I'd prefer to have ground into trail bologna or summer sausage.

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Mike, my plan is to look for dog sized deer with the shadow of spots.  

The last two deer my buddy and I shot were decent bucks and we butchered them with some help from hid day.  That cured me of deer hunting for close to 10 years!

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If you search youtube for "how to butcher a deer at home part 1" it seems like a good free series on how to get it done after you have it skinned.
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northern_hunting_mom
An excellent video series. Sharp knives and a meat hook (gotta get me one or six) make the job a lot easier.
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