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Do you butcher or take game to a processor?

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  • Do you butcher or take game to a processor?

    Everyone's situation is different. I've always had the time and I think processors waste a lot of meat, so it's always been home-butchering for me. I've never been able to hang a deer at my place but I've hung it elsewhere, sectioned it, then brought the sections home to butcher.

  • #2
    I butcher my own deer. Most of the meat goes into the grinder, which is what my family likes best, but it's no problem to cut out the backstraps to be cooked whole or cut into steaks. I sometimes cut round steaks off the hams. We don't do roasts, but I know how to cut them. Our southern deer aren't real big, so it isn't much trouble to cut them up, and I have a real good grinder.

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    • #3
      It depends.
      My first one ever I dropped off. The second I had help cutting up.
      After that it used to be warm weather and how busy I am at work were the two biggest factors. I bought a small fridge that'll hold one deer to age a few days in warm weather. The last deer I dropped off at a buddies who processes it was because the weather was warm and that fridge already had a doe in it that was waiting (if I remember properly) for me to get to it from the week before, and work was piling up. I happened to be out with him when I took it and it was an easy decision to let it go home with him for processing.
      A doe a few years before that I had processed because while I was out of town to take it, things got complicated on another level and it was just simpler to drop the deer off and take care of other things.
      I enjoy processing my own, but if fitting it in is going to cause some other disruption, I have no problem with paying for someone to do it either.
      Also, those two deer, one due to location, and the other due to the 'on the side' nature of the processor ran about $100 for basic cuts and a little more for some extras, plus were big enough to make it worth it. My old place the local processors would start in the area of $200.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by jcarlin View Post
        It depends.
        My first one ever I dropped off. The second I had help cutting up.
        After that it used to be warm weather and how busy I am at work were the two biggest factors. I bought a small fridge that'll hold one deer to age a few days in warm weather. The last deer I dropped off at a buddies who processes it was because the weather was warm and that fridge already had a doe in it that was waiting (if I remember properly) for me to get to it from the week before, and work was piling up. I happened to be out with him when I took it and it was an easy decision to let it go home with him for processing.
        A doe a few years before that I had processed because while I was out of town to take it, things got complicated on another level and it was just simpler to drop the deer off and take care of other things.
        I enjoy processing my own, but if fitting it in is going to cause some other disruption, I have no problem with paying for someone to do it either.
        Also, those two deer, one due to location, and the other due to the 'on the side' nature of the processor ran about $100 for basic cuts and a little more for some extras, plus were big enough to make it worth it. My old place the local processors would start in the area of $200.
        Were you happy with what the processors returned to you?

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        • #5
          Originally posted by pineywoods View Post
          I butcher my own deer. Most of the meat goes into the grinder, which is what my family likes best, but it's no problem to cut out the backstraps to be cooked whole or cut into steaks. I sometimes cut round steaks off the hams. We don't do roasts, but I know how to cut them. Our southern deer aren't real big, so it isn't much trouble to cut them up, and I have a real good grinder.
          Do you add beef or pork fat to the grind?

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          • #6
            For a long time we would get together all the deer from family and friends, turn the heat on in the garage and set up a actual production line under the leadership of a professional butcher relative. There would be libations, but not too much, and trays of fried onion with venison, liver, and heart. Sometimes 5 or 6 deer would be processed, wrapped and frozen.
            Now I take mine to a store butcher who does it on the side. Very professional job and good wrapping.

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            • #7
              We've always done our own processing.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by pineywoods View Post
                I butcher my own deer. Most of the meat goes into the grinder, which is what my family likes best, but it's no problem to cut out the backstraps to be cooked whole or cut into steaks. I sometimes cut round steaks off the hams. We don't do roasts, but I know how to cut them. Our southern deer aren't real big, so it isn't much trouble to cut them up, and I have a real good grinder.
                Pork fat, unless you prefer Kosher, is best.

                Comment


                • #9
                  I'm a self processor. I used to make steaks out of the hams. Anymore, I just grind everything except the back strap and loin. I have a #22 hand grinder I motorized. Works like a champ and is much, MUCH quieter than the small electric grinders

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by pineywoods View Post
                    I butcher my own deer. Most of the meat goes into the grinder, which is what my family likes best, but it's no problem to cut out the backstraps to be cooked whole or cut into steaks. I sometimes cut round steaks off the hams. We don't do roasts, but I know how to cut them. Our southern deer aren't real big, so it isn't much trouble to cut them up, and I have a real good grinder.
                    No fat at all---keeps it fresh tasting longer in the freezer. Most of what I use the ground meat for has plenty of moisture---chili, spaghetti, burritos, dirty rice, etc., and don't need the fat for moisture. If I were making sausage, it would be a different story. I have eaten two year old ground venison and it tasted just fine (you know, that package or two that gets hidden under other stuff in the freezer.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by pineywoods View Post
                      I butcher my own deer. Most of the meat goes into the grinder, which is what my family likes best, but it's no problem to cut out the backstraps to be cooked whole or cut into steaks. I sometimes cut round steaks off the hams. We don't do roasts, but I know how to cut them. Our southern deer aren't real big, so it isn't much trouble to cut them up, and I have a real good grinder.
                      Make sure you get a foot switch for your grinder, especially if you are doing it by yourself. It makes life a great deal easier.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by FirstBubba View Post
                        I'm a self processor. I used to make steaks out of the hams. Anymore, I just grind everything except the back strap and loin. I have a #22 hand grinder I motorized. Works like a champ and is much, MUCH quieter than the small electric grinders
                        I take some steaks and slightly freeze them then cut into small cubes and brown. Then with some Italian Sausage, right in the chili. Even people that don't like venison some back for seconds.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I take deer to the processor. Been using the same one for over 20 years. That saves me a lot of time and he has a large cooler for hanging the carcass to age.

                          However, he no longer takes feral pigs so I process those myself. Most of the time I just take the back straps and hams, leaving the rest of the animals for coyotes to finish.

                          My motivations for hunting are mainly for the experience. The meat is always a secondary issue and I give most of the venison away. But PigHuntress has venison stew packed in my lunch box for today. She's a great cook!

                          EDIT- The stew is very tasty!

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by jcarlin View Post
                            It depends.
                            My first one ever I dropped off. The second I had help cutting up.
                            After that it used to be warm weather and how busy I am at work were the two biggest factors. I bought a small fridge that'll hold one deer to age a few days in warm weather. The last deer I dropped off at a buddies who processes it was because the weather was warm and that fridge already had a doe in it that was waiting (if I remember properly) for me to get to it from the week before, and work was piling up. I happened to be out with him when I took it and it was an easy decision to let it go home with him for processing.
                            A doe a few years before that I had processed because while I was out of town to take it, things got complicated on another level and it was just simpler to drop the deer off and take care of other things.
                            I enjoy processing my own, but if fitting it in is going to cause some other disruption, I have no problem with paying for someone to do it either.
                            Also, those two deer, one due to location, and the other due to the 'on the side' nature of the processor ran about $100 for basic cuts and a little more for some extras, plus were big enough to make it worth it. My old place the local processors would start in the area of $200.
                            I've never had a problem in general. The only thing I recall not being thrilled with was a batch of jerky that was a waste of good meat. Was just over dry and tough and over done. Ended up using most of it as bait, it wasn't even worth suffering through.
                            With a big processor I do have the 'not my deer' concern as I'm a meticulous field care guy and not everyone is. With my buddy who I'd currently go to if that was the call I'd make, not so much of a concern.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by FirstBubba View Post
                              I'm a self processor. I used to make steaks out of the hams. Anymore, I just grind everything except the back strap and loin. I have a #22 hand grinder I motorized. Works like a champ and is much, MUCH quieter than the small electric grinders
                              Man.. I like grilled venison steaks a lot.

                              Comment

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