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Butchering a Deer - Part 4 (the end)

Yes, this is the last deer butchering post.  

We left off with the deer pieces stuffed in the fridge.
Time to fillet the meat off the bones.  This is the tedious part of the job. 

I cover the island with freezer paper to help with clean up.  
I line my 'burger bowl' with several thicknesses of paper towels to soak up extra blood.
And I get ready the duct tape. 

You get the most meat from the back legs, so that's what I started with.  I was afraid I'd run out of steam doing this by myself.

Not only is duct tape the Handyman's Secret Weapon, but it takes that annoying deer hair off the meat pretty easily.
I don't bother with the brown, air dried meat, that's going to get all trimmed off.  

OK, hair off and I flip the haunch over. 
I'm going to cut out a roast.  The red shows pretty much where I cut.  

There we are, a nice roast, with the nasty stuff trimmed off.  
Looks like a heart, doesn't it?  

Speaking of hearts - not that you care but I'm gonna tell you anyways - some hunters save the heart and liver when they gut the animal.  
We never did.  But, one of our hunting buddies loved the liver, so we'd save it for him.  Gross.  I can't stand the thought of eating liver.
I mean, the liver filters all the impurities - who wants to eat a dirty sponge?  
That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Blue wanted to sharpen his claws on the sharpening steel.  
You can see the little bit of meat on the floor that he ignored.  

Even though I mostly want burger meat, I do cut some steaks and stew meat.
Flipping the haunch over again, I slice into the meaty part all the way to the bone for steaks.
They are about a half inch thick.  You can get about 5 of them, depending upon how thick you slice.
The arrow shows where the roast came from on the other side.

Slice around the bone and you have a nice steak.
Wrap in freezer paper and toss in freezer.  I only cut those 5 steaks.  

Here's the other hind leg.  I wanted stew meat and burger from this one, so I just chopped willy-nilly.  
That big chunk is where the steaks came from in the previous leg.

I trim most of the nasty bits, like connective tissue and whatever I don't like the look of.  
Not so important to do with burger meat because you don't see the stuff when it gets ground up.

Burger bits for the burger bowl.

This is nice looking stuff, so I'm cutting it into cubes for stew.  
I love venison stew.  I'll give you some recipes in the next post.

About 12-15 stew pieces per packet. 
Wrap and freeze.

Here's some of the packets wrapped and labeled.  

And here's the stripped leg bone.  
There's still quite a bit of meat bits I could have gotten, but I was too tired.  
I was done for the day.
Cover the bowl and clean up.  I throw the leg bones in the garbage, although I could take them out back for the coyotes if I wasn't so lazy.  
Tomorrow the front legs must be done.

The Next Night - 
You know how they say a good friend will help you hide the body?  Well, a good friend will also come over and help you work on your deer!
Betty felt sorry for me.  Or, she got tired of me bitching about how much work I had to do!
We started on the 2 front legs.

There aren't many large meat pieces on the front legs.  And what there is, has a lot of that connective tissue to trim off.

At least it is easy to scrape the meat off the shoulder bone.  
I cut chunks of meat off the bone... 

...and Betty trimmed. 

Full burger bowl.  We were done.  
As I said, I did waste quite a bit.  I could have gotten at least another half a bowl if I wasn't so tired of deer.

We set up to grind.  My mom bought me an electric grinder about 8 years ago - that thing is the best.
We used to grind it by hand.  What a pain that was.  Took a long time, too.
I add beef suet to the burger meat.  With no fat, the deer burger is so lean that it is very hard to cook.  
Betty's son adds pork fat to his deer burger, so I guess it's all a matter of personal taste.  

First you do a coarse grind, just to mix the stuff up.  
Grind, grind, grind.  Little bit of meat, little bit of fat.  

Once you have done the first grind, change the...I can't think what that thing is called in the grinder.
You know, the flat piece of steel with holes the meat comes through.  
Anyway, change the one with big holes for the one with small holes! 
Grind, grind, grind.

Isn't it beautiful?  
I would have put a bit more fat in, but that's fine.

I usually freeze it in 1 pound packages.  

Look at all that burger!  I was very happy.  
[Hey Q - you can see the letter you sent me in the junk drawer!  I save everything.]
Clean up is harder because of the suet.  But, once everything is put away...

...I reward myself for a job well done.  

Betty and I ate almost the whole box!

So, that's it.  
I hope those of you that looked at the posts found them interesting and informative.  
I enjoyed making a record of what I could accomplish.  I mean, how many women do you know that can butcher a deer by themselves?   
After this, maybe there will be more of you!

Venison recipes will be the next post.


( 12 comments — Leave a comment )
Dec. 28th, 2010 01:37 am (UTC)
Awesome posts! I'd love to taste some of that delicious-looking venison.

Thanks for taking the time to photograph the whole process and explain it. It certainly is a huge job!
Dec. 28th, 2010 01:48 am (UTC)
I'm glad you enjoyed them. It was a project, but I had fun doing it, even though I complained to anyone who would listen!
I'll have to think of something else exciting to post about. Maybe, changing the oil from the motorcycle. ;)
Dec. 28th, 2010 01:44 am (UTC)
....and now I am hungry, and you've just posted venison recipes. ;_;
Dec. 28th, 2010 01:49 am (UTC)
I made myself hungry for meatloaf. I'm going to make it this weekend, for sure.
Dec. 28th, 2010 02:09 am (UTC)
man, i just ate and i'm (psychologically) so hungry again after looking at all that lovely meat. and the recipes in your next post look fabulous! i'll have to call my second-mom (the mom of my best friend in high school) and see if she's got any venison left in her freezer. we may be cooking if she does!
Dec. 28th, 2010 02:20 am (UTC)
Let me know how they came out if you do use them.
The stew and meatloaf are my favs. Actually, I forgot to say the meatloaf one is good for beef also.
Gotta go edit....
Dec. 28th, 2010 02:22 am (UTC)
i most certainly will!
Dec. 28th, 2010 04:27 am (UTC)
LOL at the letter!

I didn't gag at this post once. My tolerance is improving. OK, I did blanch a bit at the hair-on-the-meat part, but no biggie.

Thanks for the experience!
Dec. 28th, 2010 01:33 pm (UTC)
haha - your Bee pic is still on the fridge, too. Just call me Pack Rat.

Glad you didn't puke all over your keyboard. Not that I would feel guilty or anything....
Dec. 28th, 2010 11:54 am (UTC)
wow, all these posts were so fascinating! I've never seen it done, although I'm glad you spared us the gutting parts. What did you do with the internal organs? Leave them for the wildlife, or are there recipes for that meat? I know, from my *extremely* old "Joy of Cooking" book, that cow kidneys can be eaten, but I wasn't sure if that was an option for wild game. I like liver in small quantities, especially mixed in stuffing, so I wonder what dear liver would taste like. And can you just wash off the hair, or is there a reason not to use water? Anyway, great, informative posts, thank you, and happy holidays!
Dec. 28th, 2010 02:10 pm (UTC)
I'm glad you found them interesting. I believe most folk don't know or understand where the meat they buy at the store comes from. You can appreciate it more when you see the labor involved.
I did not gut this deer, the guy who gave it to me did. That would have been a gross thing to post. *hmm, maybe next year-hahaha*

Usually you just leave the organs in the woods, and I am sure that's what he did, as they have a lot of land out in the boonies. But if you are hunting in a more urban setting, you're supposed to put them in a garbage bag and take them out with you when done. You don't want to attract scavengers or dogs in the area to eat the stuff.

I would think there are people who use the kidneys, but no one I know does. Part of the problem with using any organs is separating them from the unwanted organs. It is very messy. If you gut correctly, all the organs just roll out of the cavity together - they're all connected with tissue. It looks kind of like a see-through garbage bag. Plus, many times you destroy organs with the slugs when you shoot. You also have to be careful you don't get any deer poop on anything to spoil the meat.
I have never tasted any organs, but I would think they taste the same as beef. It's all in how you prepare the stuff.

I love old cookbooks! I have one from the 1490's that has roast recipes for squirrel, opossum, and reindeer. Paging through it, I also see recipes for heart goulash, stuff heart, stuffed liver, fried pickled tripe, Spanish kidney stew and sweet-sour tongue! All stuff I don't think I would have the guts to eat! Interesting though. Maybe I'll post a few of them for laughs.

We have never used water to clean anything but the cavity immediately after gutting. I'm not sure why and I don't know what other people do. Maybe it would spread germs? I do know if you wash the skinned leg with water, it makes the meat very slippery to handle. I just carry on like I was taught.

thanks, you have a good New Year's, too!
Jan. 7th, 2011 04:48 pm (UTC)
I enjoyed these informative posts. You are amazing!!
( 12 comments — Leave a comment )



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