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Butchering Deer

Thread starter #1

Dru

This IS My Life
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ok so... yesterday I butchered my deer with my dad.......
we don't use a cooler though I want to build one, and I even know where we will build it.. lol.... but I also have another idea which I will touch on here soon..

we have always skinned the deer right away and hung it..... our Neighbours who have a cooler leave the hide on and skin it right before butchering....
they do this because it doesn't let the meat crust up.... So we tried it this way this time.... and yes the meat was nice and soft BUT.... As you would expect it was way harder to skin.
and the hair fell on it like you would expect as well but there was another thing.... my shot was kinda funny.. I hit a part of gut or the bit of throat that goes through the lung area to the mouth ( Angle of entry, heart was near miss.. ) this "sucked" some gut into the front shoulder we couldn't see because we left the hide on..... Because of these reasons we will not be doing this again. I am of the opinion you gotta try it once to see if its a new way..... So, We will from now on skin and hang like we always did...

Second part....
I have been trying to figure out the cooler thing and maximising meat use and minimise waste....
so this is what im going to do, and it involves spending way more time on the skinning side.....

1) Skin animal
2) garden hose the animal down and polish it off... cutting away all blood jell etc...
3) cut in half
4) Cut Rib meat, off Flank meat off, Shin meat off, take out tenderloin.
5) cut off ribs, cut off shins
6) see if I can make it fit into the big fridge I have for beer ageing in the garage...

part of this I do already but part I don't... I want to take off the rib meat and stuff because it dries right out during ageing... I can just age it in a bowl or send it through the grinder that night.... though id like to pound and stuff a flank like my mom used to.... We never really hosed the animal off... we warm water and vinegar wiped them, off.... but I think high volume water after you trim all the junk off would be better.... and I also think once I breat down the animal I might be able to fit the hind and back strap in the fridge.... The fronts might not fit but on island deer that is all just stew or burger anyway........

What ye think?
guys who don't butcher island deer... if you have even a little garage room.. it is just this easy..
 

Round Boy

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I do my own butchering. I don't have any training and its pretty basic.
I was told after years of cleaning with water, a hose, a bucket or whatever, that that is the worse thing you can do. Water and vinegar wipe down after trimming is what I do. Even if its gut shot. Water forces the bad stuff into the meat. Careful trimming and a wipe down seems to work. I also use a propane torch to burn off any hair I miss with the wipe down.
This year I hope to mount a couple of eye bolts in the garage ceiling and mount an airconditioner with a cool bot to keep the garage cold for the early season.
A sink and a stainless counter top as well. Good luck with the butcher job! IMG_1644.jpg
 
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Spy

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Dru I skin my deer as soon as its hanging, let it set for an hour & then use a game bag too cover it. I hang it for 6 to 7 days.[video]
[/video]

- - - Updated - - -

This deer left a picture for me on the freezer...
 
Thread starter #6

Dru

This IS My Life
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lol.... I like your choice of Beer Mike.. We don't game bag them .. if its too hot we butcher next day and there isn't that many flies in the garage.....

interesting idea on the water Island Idiot.. makes sense too.... so maybe keep that part the same.....
 

wideopenthrottle

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I too was told never to use water but then learned better...

all deer get gutted in the field then hung to skin...

skinning technique is important to prevent hair and bloody hand prints from getting all over the meat (skin back ankles and cut off feet before hanging, keep your knife hand clean at all times-learn how to skin using the twisting fist to reduce knife work)...

once skinned we always do a thorough wash of the cavity with lots of water-if the ribs aint white, it aint right. we also will remove damaged shoulders and wash em out in the river to save as much meat as possible-I have washed out and saved shoulders that were being condemned to dog meat

let drip dry for a few minutes then wipe with a few paper towels. once you start drying it do not get it wet again-check frequently that it is drying and pick off a few hairs if there are any....

we don't split deer until we are ready to cut them up as any exposed meat should be trimmed off to eliminate bacteria that will be there (same reason we don't do gutless unless way far back in the toolies. obviously moose and elk might have to be halved or quartered to make them easier to handle
 
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Foxton Gundogs

Moderator/CERTIFIED GOOSE PIG 2016....... Cedar BC
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Well Dru for one you do not have to hang deer they can be cut right away, I have a weed sprayer in my cargo trailer that I use for washing game in the bush, yep always clean mine up with water and use J-cloths to get ride of hair.
So young so foolish. :Na-ahh: cut 1/2 your deer right away, leave 1/2 your hang at 38 degrees for 10 days before you cut it. The difference is really obvious and worth the 10 day wait. I have a big old fridge I have gutted and set up to hang a deer, bear or a limit of Canadas.
 
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Paleolith

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Fear No Deer is right that you can just go ahead and butcher it.

I have read the raging debates about aging vs. just butchering straight away. Some say game doesn't benefit from aging like beef does, other say that aging makes a HUGE difference.

I have also tried it both ways and to me it comes down to practicality. I can maybe tell a slight difference in aged game meat, but only if it is aged quite long (like 10 days or more). The drawbacks are that you lose more meat in dry trim, and that the longer you age it the higher the risk of spoilage (unless the temperature and humidity are strictly controlled).

Now, practically speaking, I'm not the kind of guy who goes out hunting for the day, kills a deer (or 2), and then looks forward to coming home and spending hours butchering, grinding, and vacuum-packing all that meat. So I hang it at least 1 night. It lets the rigor mortis drop out of it and gives me a chance for R&R. If I shoot a deer on a Saturday, I'll butcher it on the Sunday (if I'm in the mood). If I shoot it on Sunday, sometimes I'll wait a few days till I am in the mood to butcher, but that also hinges on the temperature.

On this last note about temperature; this year I bought a dead Pepsi fridge and installed a 5000 BTU AC in it, controlled by a digital temperature controller. Some day the AC and temp controller will be installed in a proper meat closet in my garage, but for now the solution works. What I do is like what was mentioned - trim off all the stuff that is going to dry out too much, then cut in half or quarters and hang the pieces by hooks in the ceiling of the fridge.

Whether it be 24 hours or several days, I like to get the meat down to 3-4 Celcius before I butcher it, so it stays as cold as possible throughout the butchering process. Due to being busy, one of our deer hung for over a week in that fridge this year. Can't tell a lick of difference in the flavour or tenderness.

One note about the AC unit + digital temperature controller; it'll ice up solid quite easily under certain conditions. Since the AC thermostat is bypassed and the digital controller is set to 3 or 4 Celsius, the evaporator coil gets extremely cold and the moisture (humidity) from the meat condenses and then freezes. The ice builds up quickly if exterior temperatures are high, and once the ice is solid across the coil fins, airflow nearly stops and cooling eventually fails. I was sometimes defrosting the coil (with a blow dryer) every morning just to keep things running. That was in the early season when outdoor temps were very high. As the season progressed, the ice buildup slowed considerably, to the point where I could hang a deer in there for several days without having to de-ice the coil.

Before building a cooler room (with the AC + controller setup), make sure to research how to solve or mitigate this ice buildup issue. Lots of people build these rooms, so I am sure there must be a way to control it.
 
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Bow Walker

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To my way of thinking and tasting - deer get stronger the longer you leave them hanging. Plus - as has been noted - there is a lot of extra (unnecessary) trimming to get rid of exposed meat that has deteriorated.

Gut and wipe out in the field. If there is a creek or river nearby I head for it and wash out the cavity as best I can. Get the animal home, hanging it by the achilles tendons, and let it set up overnight. Then, depending on the temperature, I butcher it a.s.a.p. after that first night of hanging. I usually bone out the animal as it is hanging there and deal with each cut as it comes off the carcass. Steaks, roast, stew, or burger - there's a big bowl for each.

One thing I noticed in Island Idiots post is that there is a bunch of meat kind of half-way thru the grinder. That's just asking for bacteria to set in and give you a bad time later on. My suggestion would be to collect all the burger meat at the end of your cutting process and then grind it all at once.

Until then - keep the grinder head (and all the parts) as cold as possible by storing it in the fridge or freezer until ready to grind. The grinder head can be kept as a whole unit in the fridge or freezer - no need to disassemble it at all.

Process your steaks, roast, stew, or whatever as soon as possible after they are cut..... wrap tightly and freeze right away. Until I got my vacuum sealer I used to wrap the cuts in saran wrap first an then wrap them again in paper..... newspaper did a great job. Wrapping in saran wrap first seals int he moisture and cuts way, way down on freezer burn.

One of these times I am going to leve the shins (shanks) whole and do them in the slo-cooker or wrap them in foil and slo-bake them in the oven.... kind of like venison osso bucco.... :Oh Yeah!:
 

Big Lew

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Most of my deer and moose are taken during warm weather. Because of this,
I skin them out as soon as possible and then bag. If I can find a cool spot to
hang them Ill do so in order to stay in the area another day. If not, I head home
or to a meat cooler the same day. I have a large old fridge that I've gutted which
can hold all 4 quarters of a 4 point buck with a little imagination...and a rope around
it to keep the door shut. I normally cut the meat up within 2-3 days, unlike my dad
who lets his hang for a week. His meat was actually a bit stronger in taste, but he normally
shot his deer during the rut so that might be the reason why. I usually use water and
either rags or scot towels to clean as soon as possible, and then once in camp or at home
I do so again. I use a propane torch to handle any stubborn hair that won't wash off.
Any small, thin, or traumatized meat gets ground up right away and kept in a large container
in the fridge until the main carcass is processed so I can mix and package all the hamburger
together. I usually mix venison with lean beef, 3 to 1, or 4 to 1, depending on the amount of
available venison before the final of 3 grinds in order to stretch it out. A thing I do that some
overlook is remove any and all of those grey glands...I don't know if they'll taint the meat, but
I do so just in case. All my venison over many years turned out mild and great tasting so I'm
not going to rock the boat now.
 

Foxton Gundogs

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All a matter of choice I guess, I have no aversion to skinning, washing first with water then with vinegar and bagging in the field, but mine will still hang for 10 days before processing. I guess my pallet is just more sophisticated than some of you heathens.

:ROFL:
 

Spy

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lol.... I like your choice of Beer Mike.. We don't game bag them .. if its too hot we butcher next day and there isn't that many flies in the garage.....

interesting idea on the water Island Idiot.. makes sense too.... so maybe keep that part the same.....
I find the game bag keeps the meat from forming a crust and you will be surprised how many insects and still a couple flies
are still around. It also keeps any rats away and I can see if any other critters have been at the meat.
 

Spy

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Hey a man needs to stay hydrated killing,gutting,loading, hanging, skinning just is not the same without a Lucky small wink I make sure its just an 8 pack that way I wake up with all my fingers.. Want to get Lucky drink Lucky lol..
 

BCROB

Modifier........
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conditions conditions conditions......
Temperature, moisture , humidity.....
Bled out, skinned, hung , cooled asap , min 24 hr hang or lactic acid plays a key roll....
deer a couple three days , don’t need aging beef times no benefit , moose elk couple extra days in a temperature controlled environment , my cooler was 33~34 and most cuts only a fork required
If your making burger and sausage etc (grinding ) have at’r , does not benefit from aging
 
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... mine will still hang for 10 days before processing. I guess my pallet is just more sophisticated than some of you heathens.
You AIN'T Alone in that belief! small wink

ALL our deer get hung for one week minimum - of course we do have a bit of a tendency to shoot mature bucks and this does indeed help. Maybe not so much with the bambi's the naysayers bring in... :highly_amused:

I would not half the carcass until cutting time.
As noted, provides more surface area for problems to develop on.

We generally wash each carcass thoroughly after skinning, cut off any questionable areas, and hang. I do like Spy's idea on the game bags. That cannot hurt methinks, and takes but a moment to set up. Will be trying down the road methinks...

A good Buddy has an excellent insulated hanging room in his garage, so we use that a lot. Keeps the meat at proper temperatures as long as you desire. In fact, our mutual Buddy has a whole beef hanging in there right now...

Never had an issue with doing these procedures, and the meat is always tasty and tender. Certainly am not going to change that up any time soon!

Cheers,
Nog
 

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