You pulled the trigger and now the hard work begins… you are throwing your hard-earned groceries into the bed of the truck. Now what? Luckily around here we have numerous deer processing stations that take your harvest and turn it into packaged perfection of jerky, sausage, steaks, and hamburger. But often those guys get super busy and may not have the space for your deer. Now is a great time to take matters into your own hands and become a master at the craft of butchering. This low cost option will only take your time and allow you to grow closer to the entire process of feeding and preparing food for your family. Here we will go over some products and methods to make this job a little easier for you this season.
Lets start off with some housekeeping rules. Keep all of your surfaces and equipment CLEAN. No one wants to risk spoiling meat because of cutting corners with cleaning. Always keep soap, water, and paper towels on hand. This is a small cost for ensuring the quality of your meat.
Now let's get to the fun part...
First you will need to make sure your skinning, fillet, and bone saws are in peak condition. A dull blade is just as much as safety risk as a super sharp blade with clumsy hands. Do yourself a favor and sharpen your blades that you intend to use. We offer countless options from Work Sharp, our premier sharpening and knife care brand. Taking the time to hone your blades will save you precious time and get the tricky bits of skinning and caping out the deer. When you successfully remove the cape or fur from the carcass you can now begin to trim out the select cuts of meat you desire.
Just as with building fire…there are countless ways to butcher a deer. No one way is right or wrong from the other but it is important to take your time and make your cuts that work out the best for you. If you decide to go and trim out the certain cuts as the deer is hanging, go for it. Others will saw apart the major parts such as the hindquarters and shoulders and butcher the specific cuts on a clean table rather than trying to maneuver around a swinging carcass. Whatever way you choose will get the job done.
Many hunters choose to grind most of their harvest. This does make for simple use of the meat and opens a huge door for recipes that call for ground meat. Anything from chili to burgers on the grill is a product of a trusty Weston Grinder.
For seasonings for sausages and jerky, we carry a heavy LEM line that offers a wide variety of flavors for snacks and other treats. Lets move along to sealing once yours cuts are made and you have a counter full of fresh venison from the wild.
Now we have to be sure to package the meat properly either by vacuum sealing or canning. If you choose to freezer
your meat, you will need a handy vacuum sealer and appropriately sized bags for the cuts of meat that you have made. Sometimes it’s helpful to acquire some extra hands when you can load the bags and have a helper label and seal the bags. Making sure the bags are airtight is critical. If you do not get a good seal, you need to start over or run the risk of freezer burn or possible early spoilage of your prized meat. Once again, Weston has your back. With many different options to choose from, you will be able to seal your meat in whatever bag fits the bill. Now we have canning, many folks still like to can their meat in trusty quart jars but does require more attention to the job. The result when done right is a super-fast and precooked meal that only needs a hot skillet.
Being your own butcher doesn’t come to you overnight. It takes many harvests to craft this useful skill. Once you master it, processing your deer will be a rewarding experience time and time again. Shop for the supplies you need, and get advice from our experienced staff, at Rockingham Cooperative. Shop online at shoprockinghamcoop.com