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Do you do your own butchering?

JerryBobCoJerryBobCo Senior MemberPosts: 8,227 Senior Member

I've done it myself, and had the butchering done by a butcher/meat processor.   I've even butchered a couple of elk.  That's a big job.

This year, during our Montana hunt, we dropped our kill off at a local meat processor who had it ready for us before we left for home.  He did a good job, although he put way too much sage in the breakfast sausage for my taste.

All things considered, I would just as soon pay someone to do it. 

How about you?

Jerry

Gun control laws make about as much sense as taking ex-lax to cure a cough.
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Replies

  • earlyagainearlyagain Posts: 7,928 Senior Member
    I have it done in Meeker. Pick it up on the way home froze solid in the wrapers.

    One year, I did a deer myself. Layed it out on the meat bags on the kitchen table. Heard an ugly noise. Swamp cooler broke. Put it all away, multiple trips to home depot, multiple trips to the roof. Finally finished the deer later. Never again.
  • ZeeZee Senior Member Posts: 27,456 Senior Member
    Sometimes I do. Sometimes I don’t. 
    "To Hell with efficiency, it's performance we want!" - Elmer Keith
  • FisheadgibFisheadgib Senior Member Posts: 5,797 Senior Member
    I haven't paid someone to process a deer since I lived in Texas 25 years ago. We only got one a year so it was no big deal but here I try to get four to six a year so it adds up. I can skin and cut one up in about an hour and I don't mind doing it.
    snake284 wrote: »
    For my point of view, cpj is a lot like me
    .
  • NNNN Senior Member Posts: 25,125 Senior Member
    I did it myself
  • jaywaptijaywapti Senior Member Posts: 5,032 Senior Member
    Mostly I do my own butchering, a lot depends on the weather, if its warmer than 35-40 deg. I'll skin them out, cool them as much as possible and get them to a butcher.I dont hunt Speed Goats unless I have a big good cooler filled with ice beforhand, than I skin, butcher on the spot and pack them in the cooler.

    JAY
    THE DEFINITION OF GUN CONTROL IS HITTING THE TARGET WITH YOUR FIRST SHOT
  • JayhawkerJayhawker Moderator Posts: 18,114 Senior Member
    I do all my own butchering...I know how I want my deer cut up and that means...no bones!
    We bring our deer in from the field...hang them up, skin them and then gut them...dropping the gut pile into a bucket lined with a hefty bag. That ends up in the freezer for later use as coyote bait. Skinning them first keeps most of the hair off of and out of the carcass. 

     I can have a deer boned out and in the cooler in about an hour....

    Then the wife and I reduce the major cuts, trim off all the fat and silver skin and package with a vacuum sealer. Actually, grinding burger for sausage is the most time consuming part of the operation....
    Sharps Model 1874 - "The rifle that made the west safe for Winchester"
  • JerryBobCoJerryBobCo Senior Member Posts: 8,227 Senior Member

    One trick I used to use for antelope was to skin and hang them as soon as possible, and bag them in a game bag.  As soon as I got home, I would quarter them and put the quarters in a large cooler with ice.  I would then pour salt over the meat, open the drain valve of the cooler, prop up the end opposite the valve, and put it under a shade.  That allowed the melted ice to drain.

    Every day I would add salt and ice.  I could usually leave it like this for about a week until I had time to butcher it.  I boned it out, too.

    I would always return home on the day I shot the goat, so there was no overnight in the field stuff to worry about.  Transporting with a bag of ice in the body cavity seemed to help, too.

    Jerry

    Gun control laws make about as much sense as taking ex-lax to cure a cough.
  • Jeff in TXJeff in TX Senior Member Posts: 2,412 Senior Member
    My father and my buddies father were both butchers at some point when they were growing up.  What they could do butchering a deer, cow or hog was pure magic!  Their work was flawless and every cut was perfect.  They could follow the muscles and bones with precision.  Apparently neither of us paid much or any attention to them growing up.  If we do it ourselves we end of with a lot of bags called "parts"! :) 

    I pay someone as I'm really not very good at it.  Heck I'd be lying if I used the word good in any part of it! :) 
    Distance is not an issue, but the wind can make it interesting!

    John 3: 1-21
  • JermanatorJermanator Senior Member Posts: 16,244 Senior Member
    Now that I got it figured out, it ain't no thing to do it myself. If I can help it, I will never take another animal to a butcher again.
    Reason obeys itself; and ignorance submits to whatever is dictated to it.
    -Thomas Paine
  • JermanatorJermanator Senior Member Posts: 16,244 Senior Member
    Never managed to hang on to his Kielbasa for any length of time.

    Reason obeys itself; and ignorance submits to whatever is dictated to it.
    -Thomas Paine
  • snake284snake284 Senior Member Posts: 22,429 Senior Member
    edited December 2018 #12
    I haven't used a butcher in 20 years or so. Not that the ones I used weren't good at it, but I always believe you never get your own or even part of your own deer. They get meat in and bone it out and fill orders. That bothers me because when I kill a deer unless I'm horn hunting I choose what I shoot for the best meat. I won't tell you I can do one in an hour. I think it takes me longer. I know my ex can do that, but I'm old. It probably takes me a couple hours to skin and quarter a deer. A hog even longer. I skin with the car. Then I gut, then I quarter. Then I put em in a 150 quart Igloo (No I don't have a Yetti YET!) Then ice 'em down and drain water off for about 5-6 days before I bone it out and put in plastic and freeze it. I can make sausage worth selling. That's my strong point. I smoke it for about 10 hours with Mesquite, Live Oak, and Pecan if I can find it, on a cold night then put the links in freezer bags and freeze it. That and breaded and fried is how we eat 90% of what I kill. I also use Wick Fowler's Two Alarm or nowadays False Alarm Chili Mix since Wick Fowler was kin folks. The only other way I cook deer is BBQed back strap and tenderloin.
    Daddy, what's an enabler?
    Son that's somebody with nothing to do with his time but keep me in trouble with mom.
  • snake284snake284 Senior Member Posts: 22,429 Senior Member
    edited December 2018 #13
    Truthfully I don't know exactly what Kielbasa consists of. I know it looks and tastes a lot like what I make and these German's, Czechs and Polocks around here make. That's what I make and it tastes a lot like it. I'm thinking it's just the Polish name for German-Czeck Sausage. I know what we make down here is awful hard to beat. And add 40%-50% deer to domestic pork (we use pork butt roasts mostly) and it is fit to eat baby.
    Daddy, what's an enabler?
    Son that's somebody with nothing to do with his time but keep me in trouble with mom.
  • CaliFFLCaliFFL Senior Member Posts: 5,486 Senior Member
    I do all of my butchering. Not just wild game. Chickens, turkeys, pigs, and the occasional goat. This year was my first elk butchering job. Same as a deer, only bigger. 

    Someone mentioned grinding taking the longest...I agree. Making sausage takes a while as well. 
    When our governing officials dismiss due process as mere semantics, when they exercise powers they don’t have and ignore duties they actually bear, and when we let them get away with it, we have ceased to be our own rulers.

    Adam J. McCleod


  • snake284snake284 Senior Member Posts: 22,429 Senior Member
    Jerm when you get a chance text me.
    Daddy, what's an enabler?
    Son that's somebody with nothing to do with his time but keep me in trouble with mom.
  • Six-GunSix-Gun Senior Member Posts: 8,155 Senior Member
    edited December 2018 #16
    Usually depends on what part of the season I'm hunting.  If it's early archery, I almost have no choice but to pay someone to process it. I have no cold storage to hang or work on the carcass, and temps can be way too high in that regard.  

    Mid-season, if it's cold enough, it's still a toss up as to how lazy I'm feeling and/or if I want specialty meats like sausage or sticks made.  

    Late season, when it's super cold and the garage will stay that way for days, I lose my excuses and will usually just gambrel the animal and do it myself.   
    Accuracy: because white space between bullet holes drives me insane.
  • ZeeZee Senior Member Posts: 27,456 Senior Member
    I gut/skin/quarter/debone/steak all my deer/pigs. 

    The only thing I have a meat market do is grind or make sausage out of whatever I want. 

    Used to grind my own.  Lost a finger doing it. Now I have someone else do it. More time/cost effective. 
    "To Hell with efficiency, it's performance we want!" - Elmer Keith
  • bisleybisley Senior Member Posts: 10,813 Senior Member
    I'm not a great butcher, but I do it myself because it insures that the meat has been properly cared for, and that I will be eating the deer that I killed. The 'cuts' may not always be picture perfect, but it is clean, has not been left out in the typically warm weather for too long. The deer that I kill and prepare myself, never taste 'gamy.'

    I skin and quarter it immediately, and get it into ice water, quickly. It stays there until most of the blood has leeched out, with the bloody water drained daily, and more ice added. After sloshing around in the back of my pickup for 5-7 days, it has the color of the fresh pork you would buy at the grocery store, and is the perfect temperature for butchering.

    When you remove it from the ice water, the meat is firm enough to allow straight cuts, without the meat flopping around. Large pieces at room temperature are hard to cut properly, and keeping it close to a freezing temperature mostly eliminates that problem. Leeching out the blood eliminates most (or all of) the 'gamy' taste that a lot of non-hunting folks sometimes complain about.

    My hunting opportunities have always been sporadic, so I'm never dealing with more than two or three whitetails in a year. Even if I shoot a couple of 'big' ones, it is not overwhelming, even with my marginal butchering skills. I have a medium quality grinder for sausage and hamburger, which I use for any meat that is not suitable for steaks or stew meat. I don't make any roasts, because deer roasts are hard to cook well, due to lack of fat. I cut the roasts up into small cubes for stew, and fry it with flour and pork fat before stewing it. I make very good deer stew.

    If I were bagging larger animals, like elk, or lots of deer, I would probably have to pay a butcher, to keep up. If I didn't like how that was working out, or if it became too expensive, I would simply reduce my number of kills until I could handle all of the butchering, which I actually kind of enjoy.

    For me, making my own ammo, preparing for a successful hunt, and taking care of the meat is part of the total experience, and very important to to me. If I can't do it my way, I just won't do it.


  • JermanatorJermanator Senior Member Posts: 16,244 Senior Member
    I got the grinder attachment for a Kitchenaid mixer and it will grind through a deer in no time. Just make sure the meat is cold-- warm meat doesn't like to grind very well.
    Reason obeys itself; and ignorance submits to whatever is dictated to it.
    -Thomas Paine
  • ZeeZee Senior Member Posts: 27,456 Senior Member
    cpj said:

    Mine has an opening big enough to fit your fist in. 
    That’s how I lost a finger. 
    "To Hell with efficiency, it's performance we want!" - Elmer Keith
  • bullsi1911bullsi1911 Moderator Posts: 12,041 Senior Member
    I do the majority of the processing myself.  Gut, skin and quarter the animal, and then process the tenderloins and backstraps into steaks.  The parts that takes specialized equipment I outsource to a local butcher shop- grinding, stuffing sausage, smoking and dehydrating they do for me and do a GREAT job.

    I am with a lot of people that the big deer processing places probably don’t treat the meat with the respect that I used to do when I did it all myself.  Also, they might not get you your exact animal.  But I have seen my local shop turn away hunters that bring in animals that he does not think are clean enough to bring into his shop.
    To make something simple is a thousand times more difficult than to make something complex.
    -Mikhail Kalashnikov
  • JermanatorJermanator Senior Member Posts: 16,244 Senior Member
    Normal people do not grind the whole deer. There are steaks and roasts to be had. Round steaks are super easy to do-- cut the bone out from the ham, then cut crosswise into steaks. One of my favorite comfort foods is venison swiss steak, and round steak works the best for that. I leave the shanks whole because they are a pain to bone out, then use them for soups and stews.
    Reason obeys itself; and ignorance submits to whatever is dictated to it.
    -Thomas Paine
  • bisleybisley Senior Member Posts: 10,813 Senior Member
    Normal people do not grind the whole deer. There are steaks and roasts to be had. Round steaks are super easy to do-- cut the bone out from the ham, then cut crosswise into steaks. One of my favorite comfort foods is venison swiss steak, and round steak works the best for that. I leave the shanks whole because they are a pain to bone out, then use them for soups and stews.
    I disagree. Normal people process meat according to their own personal preferences. I've known people who grind a whole (domestic) hog, because they love regular sausage and summer sausage, and they already have plenty of cured ham and fresh pork for roasts and chops. I also know people who grind feral hogs, because thy believe the chops, roast, and hams are too lean and tasteless, compared to domestic hogs. Most folks are not gourmet chefs, who want to jump through hoops to improve something that can be easily replaced with another cut of meat.

    Northern whitetails may be fine for roasts, for a person who has a gift for enhancing plain, lean meat. But southern whitetails are smaller, and you will look long and hard in the southern states, before you find someone who thinks the roasts are worthwhile, except for stew meat. Most folks I know won't even tackle a domestic pork loin roast, preferring to fry it like chops or schnitzel. Sure, it can be done, but the success rate is not good enough to supplant the Boston Butts, or a good beef roast.

    Tastes and circumstances are different, and 'normal' varies, from one place to another, with rural vs urban tastes being a big factor.
  • JermanatorJermanator Senior Member Posts: 16,244 Senior Member
    Bisley-- While I do agree that there is no one good way to do it and that individual tastes and circumstances vary, I was primarily suggesting that Chris is not normal.
    Reason obeys itself; and ignorance submits to whatever is dictated to it.
    -Thomas Paine
  • bisleybisley Senior Member Posts: 10,813 Senior Member
    Sorry - I certainly didn't want to hi-jack that observation. :D 
  • JermanatorJermanator Senior Member Posts: 16,244 Senior Member
    But seriously, it is all good as long as we aren't wasting anything.
    Reason obeys itself; and ignorance submits to whatever is dictated to it.
    -Thomas Paine
  • bisleybisley Senior Member Posts: 10,813 Senior Member
    I treat a meat grinder just like I treat a chainsaw.

    I just assume that it was invented to hurt people, and feel brave and courageous every time I defeat that intent. :)
  • FisheadgibFisheadgib Senior Member Posts: 5,797 Senior Member
    The first time the folks at my former hunting camp watched me butcher a deer, they stood around drinking beer and making fun of me for putting so much effort into salvaging all the meat. I was trimming the meat off of the neck and they were having a hoot and when I sawed the ribs off, they were almost rolling on the ground laughing. I was taught at a young age to never waste food and I couldn't stand to watch most of them butcher a deer as all they took were the hind quarters and backstraps.
    snake284 wrote: »
    For my point of view, cpj is a lot like me
    .
  • JayJay Senior Member Posts: 4,349 Senior Member
    My father and my buddies father were both butchers at some point when they were growing up.  What they could do butchering a deer, cow or hog was pure magic!  Their work was flawless and every cut was perfect.  They could follow the muscles and bones with precision.  Apparently neither of us paid much or any attention to them growing up.  If we do it ourselves we end of with a lot of bags called "parts"! :) 

    I pay someone as I'm really not very good at it.  Heck I'd be lying if I used the word good in any part of it! :) 
    Same here.  My dad worked in a meat packing plant when he was younger.  He's very good at it.  Unfortunately, he's also impatient and tends to just kick everyone out of his way and get to work.  Therefore, I've never learned much about it.  I'm not all that good at skinning and gutting, for that matter.  
  • JayhawkerJayhawker Moderator Posts: 18,114 Senior Member
    Skinning them while they are still warm makes that whole process a LOT easier....nothing I hate more than trying wrench the hide off a critter that's been hanging in the cold for a few days. I usually end up using a come-along to get that job done....
    Sharps Model 1874 - "The rifle that made the west safe for Winchester"
  • FisheadgibFisheadgib Senior Member Posts: 5,797 Senior Member
    cpj said:
    I’ll try to save the ribs if I get one This weekend. I’ll cut them out in one big section. Zero chance I’m boning them out like I’ve watched my dad do. Call me wasteful, but it ain’t worth my time to separate the tiny amount of meat from the membrane and bone. 
    A sawzall makes it pretty fast and easy to take a deer apart. I cut each side in half and although there isn't much meat on the ribs, the four slabs are enough for a dinner for four people after a few hours on the smoker.
    snake284 wrote: »
    For my point of view, cpj is a lot like me
    .
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