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BLACKJACK

Deer butchering questions?

26 posts in this topic

Skinned, cut-up, and vacuum packed my first deer by myself last night, I had a friend help me do another one several years ago, so I kind of knew what to do but ran into a few problems, I have several questions for you guys that have done it before.

1) Hair on the meat, whats the best way to remove it? I used a gas torch to singe it off, any other ways?

2) The tenderloins on the inside seemed 'dried out' from the deer hanging a day, I had to fillet off one side, losing a lot of meat. Do you guys take them out the day of the kill?

3) The butcher that we've taken deer to in the past has done up a front shoulder blade roast with the bone in that is very good, when I tried to find the joints to separate it, I couldn't get them cut. Any tips on how to do this?

4) String roasts, there were several nice chunks of meat that weren't big enough to make a roast by themselves that would have been nice to tie together into a roast, and does that take a special type of string?

5) I hung the deer using a gambrel from the hind quarters. Once I was all done with everything except the hind quarters, I'm looking at it thinking that it will all come crashing down when I took off one quarter, so I tied the one hind to the gambrel, sawed the other one off and removed it at the joint. Then when I tackled the second hind, it was hard to separate from the rest of the carcass because of the hanging weight. How do you process the two hinds? Do you just lower it to the ground and then separate them? I was thinking maybe I should hang from the front legs because the hinds have the most meat and I could do a better job of separating off the hind quarters? Any ideas?

6) How long does it take you from start to finish on a deer? It took me 3 1/2 hours last night from starting the skinning to putting the vacuum packed meat in the freezer.

Overall the process was a nice challenge; if the timing is right I'll probably do the same on my next deer. Got some nice boneless roasts that I can use on cold days this winter, or I may get them out and make some jerky. Wish I would have had more time, would have liked to have thrown some chops in the fry pan but it just got too late! I did put a roast and some veggies in the crock pot for tonight’s supper. smile.gif

Any advice you have will be appreciated!

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1.Hair on the meat.....torch.

2.Tenderloins come out as soon as the deer gets hung in the garage.

4. I use bailing twine of all things.

5.I hang from the antlers. That makes quartering real easy. Talk to 20 different dudes and you will get 20 different answers on this one.

6. When we butcher we usually have 5-8 deer and a bunch of guys. We set up an assembly line in my garage. Start to finish takes pretty much from sunrise to sunset. We make steaks, chops, roasts, and grind burger. By the time we're all done I'm really sick of looking at deer meat and the dogs are outside going NUTSO!!!!!!

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I've always hung mine by the head, so I don't know about doing it that way, but even then when you take the second hing quarter off you kind of have to wrestle with it just right to find the angle & the leverage to snap it lose. I think I usually wind up with the remainder of the backbone pinned against my shoulder for a few seconds anyway. If you had it all packaged in 3 1/2 hours, I'd say you did quite well. Not sure if I get it done that fast, but I'm kind of a picker & have a hard time staying hard at it. If I do one by myself I usually get it skinned & quartered & all of the carcass trim off one night & maybe get one or two quarter cut up & the others are in the garage fridge in freezer paper until I feel like finishing them sometime within the week.

Oh I forgot, yes the tenderloins dry out pretty fast. I've gotten so if I'm keeping the deer myself I usually take them out pretty quick too.

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I agree with the posts above as this is how I do mine.

As far as the hind quarters go,I use to cut off one hind and then lower to the ground to remove the other.Now,after watching how 1 butcher did it,I will do my tenderlions,backstraps,front quarters and then remove the meat from the hinds as it hangs and its pretty easy.I do hang my deer with a gambrel.

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DITTO on whats been said.

Hang from the head! (When we are done you have a head and rib cage still hanging!

Tenderloins out when the guts come out!

Torch for hair! (Those little Propane Ones work Great)

Time= As Fast as we can and still do a Quality JOB

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Blackjack -

Get the Bill Hesselgrave video on processing deer, and you will love it. The only part of the deer to come off is the front shoulders. Everything else can boned out as it lays or hangs.

When Hesselgrave does a deer, it is almost like filleting a fish. You end up with two sides of boneless meat, and then you can seperate your different cuts out. I modify the process a bit by boning out sections, and then bring them into the house for further seperation and trimming.

I bought a 4 foot section of counter top with a backsplash. I bring it inside and set it on the dining room table, and then bring in one big piece at a time and bone it out in comfort.

As far as hair goes, the torch method works well. I use a heavy wash cloth and get most of it with that. If you are careful with your first skinning cuts, you can eliminate a lot of the hair issue. If you can skin them when they are still warm, that also helps a lot. I like to skin from the neck down.

I pull the tenderloins as soon as I cam and get them in the fridge.

For tying up roasts, we use the plain old white string you can get just about anywhere. Hesselgrave has a section on tying roasts as well.

I hang from the head. When I am done, all that is left is a hanging skeleton with no front quarters.

3.5 hours sounds like a good time including skinning. I usually skin and let it hang for a day or so if I can. Once I start butchering, it will take me about 3 hours if I dont have any help.

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Blackjack

I am one who hangs from the hind quarters. Because the chest cavity is facing up it lets the heat out faster and cools the animal quicker. If the chest cavity faces down it will capture the heat and the animal will not cool as quick. Also, you get less hair on the meat while skinning and yes, a torch is the way to go. Blood is clean and seals the meat from bacteria so, avoid using water unless you have hit the gut. Water on meat can cause spoilage so be careful.

As far a disassembling a deer. Skin the deer from the hind quarters down to the head and remove the head. And remember, because the deer is hanging on a hoist and gambrel you are able to adjust the height of the deer for proper working heights. Next, take the torch out and hit any hair on the deer. Now,with the deer hanging I take the front shoulders then cut the ribs off square with a saw (so I can lay flat on a table), sever the spinal column from the rear quarters so I can lay on a table and remove the loins. Then, with just the rear quarters hanging, I gently remove one side from the gambrel and sever the ball joint from the rest of the spinal colmumn. Now, grab the split pelvic area and do the same thing with the other side.

I hope I have not confused anyone with this explanation. I have cut up hundreds of deer and it is possible I could do it in my sleep.

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I hang mine from a gamrel as well. It seems to get more blood out of the hind quarters. But I also find it easier with out electric hoist we use. I do the hole deer except the hind then I cut both legs off of the carcass. Then with the two legs hanging and the help of someone I take the sawzall and cut the leg just below the knee and remaining skin. Put the leg on the table and cut away. It is a bit harder by yourself but still managable buy taking them off the gambrel cutting off the lower part of the leg on the table.

Tenderloins come out as soon as I get it hung at the shack. They dry out fast so do that ASAP. We eat them for dinner fried up with onions and cream of mushroom soup. Tasty!

The roasts you can tie them up with kitchen string which you can buy at most grocery stores.

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A few more things I use either a torch or simply a pail of warm vinegar water and rince.

I just cut up a doe by myself a couple weeks ago it took about 1 1/2. I have a roll of butcher paper and holder that makes wrapping a breeze. And I have done about 20 deer so it goes quick. When I do a few deer The two of us can do about 3 deer in one evening with the grinding another day. But we have done many and have a skinning winch set up to make quick work of that.

I am not sure of the shoulder roast. I do it boneless which makes it last a bit longer and easier to prepare. To take the shoulder off pull it away from the carcass and cut straight between the shoulder and carcass,armpit area. YOu will find the ball joint which you can separate with your knife and it will come right off.

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I do a cold vinigar water rinse... LOL...

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As far as a shoulder roast, there is a joint between the tip of the shoulder and where the leg bends. It is not easy to find unless someone has showed you but if you want a shoulder roast just cut about center of the blade and the leg joint and you should find the joint you need.

As far as string, just use 100% cotton string from any store for your roast.

It takes me about an hour to cut up a deer depending on the hide. Bucks that have been rutting lose fat and skin harder than a fat doe or a fawn.

I will get alot of arquments but I like to keep the hide on if I can till butchering. A couple of reasons for this is that if you have the right temps to cool a deer down and you want the deer to hang for a few days leaving the hide on can be good. As much as a hide can insulate a deer from cooling the hide can also protect the coolness of the meat after it has cooled even if the temps warm for a time during the day. Other reasons for keeping the hide on is that it protects from bacteria, dirt and dust and it also protects the meat from drying until you cut it up.

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We have always skinned from the tail forward so we usually hang them upside down. It seemed to peel off easier.

Inside tenerloins? They are removed ASAP and never make it to the refrigerator ahead of the frypan. smirk.gif

Bob

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Thanks for the advice guys!!! Now I need to go shoot another deer so I can try them!!!

Guess I need to hang one from the head and try it that way to see what works best.

I definately need to find a block and tackle system, all I had was a single pulley attached to the ceiling, even with this small deer I had a hard time pulling it up, holding it, and tieing it at the same time. Also need a better cutting board setup!!! I had put some freezer paper onto some plywood on my sawhorses, then I had a small cutting board to use when doing the final slicing, it got old bending over, next time I will clean off my workbench so its at the proper height!

Will look into that Hasselgrave video. It would have been nice to get some steaks out of some of the chunks on the rear quarters. Need to tackle that front shoulder again, I may dig the bone out of the garbage bag and practice finding the joint.

Grinding question, is it worth getting a $70 grinder and grinding it yourself or are you better off to take it to a butcher to grind? And if you grind it, do you freeze it first or just take it out of the frig? What do you pack it in? How hardcore are you on the scraps as far as getting the silverskin and fat out. Seems like I didn't get much for scraps but I was really hardcore, its all meat. For this time, I'm just going to take the pail of scraps that I have and package it up as stew meat but grinding and sausage may be a possiblity in the future. Did someone mention a grinder that also converts into a sausage stuffer?

All in all it was kind of a fun project from shooting the deer to tracking it to doing the final butchering!!! I'll let you know how my vension stew in the crockpot turns out!!!

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Dude, don't waste your $$$ on a block and tackle. You know the strap tie downs that you buy, not the ratcheting ones, but the ones that (I wish I could describe this) just grab the strap???? Wrap the hook end with the grabby thing around the rafter and the other end around the antler/neck and just pull. Brings it up and holds it. One guy, no problems.

Take 3" PVC, cut it into 18" long sections, and put the feet of your sawhorse in. It will raise the cutting table to a real nice countertop height. No bending over.

I screw a chunk of plywood to the top of the sawhorses, and a chunk of polypropelene to the top of that. Works great. If you can get a chunk of cheap formica that would do, also.

Grinding depends on how much you grind. Mine has a 1/3 HP motor on it and we grind a LOT. On e-bay you can find grinder end thingys you slide over the end of the grinder and they fill with burger.It's pretty slick. We do not freeze the scraps first. They come offa the deer and go into the grinder. If I only ground up scraps from 1 or 2 deer a year I'd take em to the locker. We have to take the grinder apart for cleaning a lot and it gets to be a pain.

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I haven't started, want to learn how, butchering my own, all I can comment on is that the backstraps...get taken out immediately and placed directly on the grill for a nice appetizer.

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I hang the deer from the head. I can have a deer skun and quartered in about 15 minutes by myself. I skin the deer and start lopping the quarters off. Those get handed to one of the party members to be de-boned. I cut out all the back straps. Scraps go in a bucket, then are washed, then run through the grinder. We have always just washed our steaks before packaging.

I actually butchered and packaged two deer (including scrap grinding) in about 3 1/2 hours last year. It was just my girlfriend and I.

Get the tenderloins out right away. I pull them out as soon as the deer is hung at camp before we forget!!

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Last year, I used a grinder that went on the front of the Warden's Kitchen Aid mixer. It worked ok, but took a LOOOONG time. The grinding went better after I would let the meat sit in the freezer for 45 minutes or so.

I am going to get a 1/3 or 1/2 hp rig soon. If I can get some of my family to go in on one, we will get an even bigger unit. I have been told with meat grinders, it is best to buy a good one and only cry once grin.gif The Lemm units seem nice.

I am very very fussy about the trimming of fat. Fat tastes sour, and it is worth being fussy here. Silver skin I am a bit more tolerant of if I am gonna grind it with some pork or beef. On my steaks and chops, I will trim off all the silver skin. A good sharp fillet knife keeps waste to a minimum.

You have discoverd how fun cutting your own deer is. I am beginning to enjoy that part as much as the hunt. Last year I started making and smoking my own sausage, jerky and pepper sticks. I will never bring a deer to a locker again.

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skinning- we use a truck and 4 wheeler. just tie a noose around the neck of the deer and attach that end to the ball of your truck hitch. cut the hide all the way around the neck. peel back a short sectiona and then make a couple of holes near the center to thread a 3 ft section of broomstick to. hook a rope to each end of the broom stick and slowly move forward with the other end attached to the wheeler. you will need someone to do a little cutting with the legs while you pull, but it works slick and is very clean We usually do about 8 deer in a 1/2 hour or so.

We rinse in vinegar water for hair removal as well!!

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Quote:

Dude, don't waste your $$$ on a block and tackle. You know the strap tie downs that you buy, not the ratcheting ones, but the ones that (I wish I could describe this) just grab the strap???? Wrap the hook end with the grabby thing around the rafter and the other end around the antler/neck and just pull. Brings it up and holds it. One guy, no problems.


Good idea, I can't really picuture it in my mind, but I will look at Menards.

Quote:

Take 3" PVC, cut it into 18" long sections, and put the feet of your sawhorse in. It will raise the cutting table to a real nice countertop height. No bending over.

I screw a chunk of plywood to the top of the sawhorses, and a chunk of polypropelene to the top of that. Works great. If you can get a chunk of cheap formica that would do, also.


Good tips. This polypropelene, what does that look like and who would sell it? Is it like that white plastic that breadboards are made out of?

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Quote:

Last year, I used a grinder that went on the front of the Warden's Kitchen Aid mixer. It worked ok, but took a LOOOONG time. The grinding went better after I would let the meat sit in the freezer for 45 minutes or so.


Thanks for the advice on the Kitchen Aid, my wife has one, but when I asked her about the grinder attachment she wasn't too thrilled, I think she imagines blood all over it!!! smile.gif I'll look into the seperate one, with a stuffing attachment on it too.

Quote:

You have discoverd how fun cutting your own deer is. I am beginning to enjoy that part as much as the hunt. Last year I started making and smoking my own sausage, jerky and pepper sticks. I will never bring a deer to a locker again.


I have been making jerky quite a few years, both with ground venison and strips of meat cut by hand and by the butcher, I've made turkey jerky, pheasant jerky, this summer I bought a meat slicer, looking forward to using it. Nice to have a ziplock bag of jerky in the truck for those hunting and fishing trips. For years my folks have made sausage out of beef and pork, I've been contemplating doing that with venison, I've looked at different smokers but they don't seem to have much capacity, I'm thinking of making my own. Fun projects for those cold winter weekends and the best part is then you get to eat it!!! grin.gif What kind of smoker do you have?

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Quote:

skinning- we use a truck and 4 wheeler. just tie a noose around the neck of the deer and attach that end to the ball of your truck hitch. cut the hide all the way around the neck. peel back a short sectiona and then make a couple of holes near the center to thread a 3 ft section of broomstick to. hook a rope to each end of the broom stick and slowly move forward with the other end attached to the wheeler. you will need someone to do a little cutting with the legs while you pull, but it works slick and is very clean We usually do about 8 deer in a 1/2 hour or so.


You must have to put a tarp or plastic down or the skun deer would end up on the ground? I contemplated this method but don't have a good hanging tree, definatly not going to hang it on the shed rafters and start pulling!!!!

Actually the skinning wasn't too bad, was a little problematic around the front legs but for the most part it peeled right off. Where I had the hair problems was where I had to cut around the legs and by the bung.

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I have a Bradley smoker, the one that uses those little wooden formed biscuits. I have been very happy with it. It is small, but you can buy four more racks, and double your capacity by loading one, inverting another rack on top of the loaded unit, and then stacking meat on top of the inverted one.

I made some goose jerky with it last week. Four large goose breasts sliced and marinated just barely fit into four racks. It took four hours to smoke/cook.

Most grinders come with sausage tubes. When I got home yesterday, there was a Lem catalog in the mail. They have a new .25 hp stainless grinder that comes with 3 plates, 3 tubes for $175. It says it will grind 160 pounds per hour. The .35 hp unit is$239 and will grind 240 pounds per hour.

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Buring the hair off with a torch?

I have never heard of that before. We always pick it off, after being carefull when gutting and pulling the hide off.

Obviously it works, but considering how bad burnt hair smells I would have thought it would taint the meat, no?

Sounds much easier...

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Hesselgraves dvd is an easy way to do it. I took the portable dvd out to the garage and followed it as I went along. By the 3rd one I could debone and freezer pack a deer by myself in about 1 hr. I had watched the dvd about 5 times before the opener. It went smooth as silk. I also hang the deer from the hind legs and I don't cut into the bone system at all. Good Luck, Kid

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Here's what we do.

Hang deer from rear legs on a custom rebar gambrel with extra long hooks and skin by hand take your time so it's not hairy. The hooks on the gambrel won't allow the deer to fall on the ground when you cut one hind leg off like the ones at Fleet. 1) Cut off tenderloins and butterfly for the best steaks ever. 2)Cut off the front shoulders and lay on the cutting table (formica countertop on saw horses, sit down and start cutting. We have a grind bowl and a steak/roast bowl. 3)When they are done start on the ribs and any back scraps left from tenderloin area. Cut the rib cage and spine off and discard. Then seperate the rear quarters and work on them 1 at a time boneless all the way. Then it's time for final clean up and wrapping in freezer paper. Grind meat goes in ice cream pails into the freezer for later. Back straps go straight to the pan in butter and Canadian Steak seasoning...yummy. I might add we wash hands, knives, and cutting surface in bleach water between quarters and rinse with clean water also. It usually takes us 2 an hour per normal deer 1.5 hrs for a big buck. Average 40 lbs boneless meat per normal deer discarding any bloodshot meat and only taking easy cuts off neck without fat. It works much better if the deer isn't frozen and we butcher within 3 days of shooting.

It's easier with 2 people even if your novices. We only use the saw for the head and torso otherwise it's only knives.

Buy a hand grinder with sausage stuffer attachments at Fleet of Northern Tool for less than $40. I always grind partially frozen meat for my sausage. The hard part is finding pork fat trimmings reasonable. $2 lb. is too high for me!

Good Luck,

Ferny.

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      Have to agree..food is great..best place in the winter on snowmobile.. but..the dock situation could use a big upgrade.
    • LakeofthewoodsMN
      Walleyes and Saugers continue to move closer to the south shore. Good fishing in 23 feet of water outside the Lighthouse gap and all along the south shore. Shiner minnows in the area keeping large schools of walleyes active! The bite will continue to improve in the coming weeks. Anchoring and jigging with a shiner minnow successful with gold or pink/gold the colors of choice. Some crankbait action in the afternoons to cover water to find active schools. Lots of ducks and geese in the area as local waterfowl still around. Should expect a good northern push in a few weeks as it gets colder. The Rainy River continues to get better each day as more shiners and walleyes push into the river. Fall walleye fishing on the Rainy River can be some of the best! Sturgeon are being boated up and down the river daily.  Up at the Northwest Angle, walleye and sauger action is hot. Drifting with a bottom bouncer, spinner, and a minnow doing great. Anchoring and jigging with a minnows doing good as well. Look for deep holes and mud areas in 18-30 feet between Oak and Flag Island. Also look for points with depths of 8-18 feet as shiners have started moving into bays. On the Ontario side, walleye fishing is red hot as the feed bags are on to bulk up for the winter. Use electronics to locate schools of fish in 18 to 28 feet and use a jig and minnow. Bottom bouncers with spinners can be used to cover water to locate fish. Crappies over 15 inches are stacked up in sharp drop offs and around flooded timber in 30 feet. Muskie action has turned to trolling large minnow baits in 10-18 feet. Plenty of waterfowl in area with local birds still around.