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I do my own butchering, but sometimes I take it a butcher to help out when I don't have the time. I don't really have just one..
 

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this has been my first year for doing my own butchering. it is so easy. It's awesome too. my buddy comes over, we get some beers and spend a couple of hours cutting it up and having a blast. plus it keeps the wife away for awhile. lol
 

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Its not hard to do at all..Just takes time. If its warm I'll skin and quarter right away. I'll let it hang 2days or so if its cold. I have a basement refrigerator with room to store it. Hind 1/4's and tenderloins get cut into steaks. All else goes to burger. I have an attachement for the wifes Kitchen aid..Works good..This year I de-boned and froze meat in bulk. Taking it to be made into Hot dogs, summer-sausage and porkroll.
 

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Na its not hard to do there are a ton of books and videos out there for referance...However it is nice if your best friend is a full time butcher..all i do is drink the beer and wrap...lol[up]
 

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The key to doing it yourself is take your time. Videos/books are a good way to learn, or if someone you know has done it have them show you. Also a good butcher kit helps too. My wife got me one for X-mas from Wally mart. Cleaver,butcher knife, bonning knife, capping knife, bone saw, gut hook, and a sharpener in a case...kinda like the one from outdoors edge. I need a meatgrinder/stuffer now.

P.S. JerseyJim I'll be more then Happy to come and help if you need it.
 

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I've been doing it for 20 yrs. Only had 3 done by a butcher out of 100+ deer. I've kept records and it takes from start to finish 5 to 7 hour. This is from the time knife hits it to last package marked and in freezer. Some very time saving things.
1) Quarter and debone before making any choice cuts
2) Learn to wrap correctly
3) buy stamps for type of cut, & date. Writing the same thing 40+ times is a time killer and boring.
4) don't buy a monster #32 grinder a #12 or #22 are fine. Unless you do more then 8+ deer per year.
5) package correctly. Flatten all packages before freezing, save alot of room. Also, give your package a little room for a day or two. They will freeze quicker. Which is inportant.

Check out LEM products. Books and videos. He also has everything you could want in gear. I'd buy one of his video before starting. Learn to do it right first. Then you will be faster and with better cuts.


Till our trails cross,

WW
 

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My brother just sent me this site and I've poked around a little. Butchering is a favorite topic because I don't think any one way is best. Just like there will always be a debate on aging. Videos and books help but repititon helps to find what works best for you. My wife and I can finish a deer in about 45 min. But our way may not suit everyone. My biggest tip is to pull off the hide with your truck. Save a lot of time in skinning. I'll post more if interested.

Swampy
 

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Discussion Starter #15
JerseyJim Wrote: Any tips you have please feel free to post! I'll be doing my own deer from now on and I can use all the help I can get! Thank you
I help you JIM... Eat the deer...lol Also help you cut it up too:p
 

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Im with WW and a few others on this one!
I cant afford $65 dollars a deer or more. I learned about 6 years ago, first from a friend, and then hands on with a book to help. Its not hard, and it should take about 5-7 hours like WW said.

I dont buy labels, but I just use simple codes. Like S-05 (Steak 2005). I try to get someone help me wrap and label it though, I hate that part.

I have a small grinder, and I like hamburgers, so it sees a lot of use.;) I think its a #12, but I cant remember now.

You also need a few good knives and a sharpener. YOU MUST know how to really sharpen a knife. A semi sharp knife will take all day and night to butcher a deer. They dull as you go, so have extras.

Cuts are simple and even without a book or video, you could probably figure it out, the muscle and sections sort of separate themselves. Leave the silver skin on for freezing....it protects the meat.

Next deer ya get, Id offer to help, but I think Im gonna have to a...umm...organize my sock drawer that day!:p:D

In other words, it aint fun! Its work! Then again I dont drink beer, so maybe thats the ingredient Im missing to make it fun. Either way Im always VERY READY to grill up the backstraps by the time Im done! MMMmmmmm...backstraps....[up]
 

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We've done our own butchering for about 27 years. My dad used to cut up pigs and beef cattle, so he got us started. It takes us about 2 hours to do one deer meticulously, or, if we have more to do (I have two brothers that also hunt so sometimes we get 2 or 3 at a time in the shop)we cut a few corners and can get 3 deer done in about 4 hours. I never cut corners on cleaning the meat and work surface. But we will make more of it burger (someone else does the grinding) and sausage.

You will get much better venison doing it your self with a minimal investment in tools and time. We clean every little bit of junk from the meat: fat, that silver sheath, any exposed or traumatized area, etc., and wipe all the hair and slimy film from it. Those are the things that make people say venison tastes gamey. If you care for it right, it is outstanding.

I suggest you take some time and look through some cook books and see how you want to use it, then make custom cuts to fit what you want.

You may want to make several bags of cubes for things like stroganoff, or cubes and rice. Or, find a good tender cut to slice for fajita strips. One thing I've learned is that when designating meat for small cuts like that, freeze the piece you are going to use whole, then cut it after it thaws. It makes less surface area available for freezer burn, and keeps the meat from losing flavor and moisture. Also, if you don't have a vaccum sealing machine, wrap your cuts in clear plastic wrap first, then freezer wrap paper. The clear plastic wrap clings to the surface of the meat further protecting from freezer burn.

Same goes for the back straps. Unless I'm going to use them soon, I freeze them in sections about 8 to 10 inches long. After they are thawed, you can either cut them into inch thick steaks, or just marinate and throw the whole section on the gril and slice to serve. Works good both ways. We used to make them into steaks then freeze, but they would lose flavor when packaged in smaller, less dense pieces.

We debone everything, ban saws never touch our meat. When you debone the hams, make sure you take that gland out or your could have a foul surprise when you cook it.

If the deer is big enough, don't ignore the flank steaks. I know some people throw them away because they are covered with fat, but take some time to trim them up and you can make a great rolled, stuffed venison roast. You can also use the neck for this on a larger deer. It comes off in flaps, so just clean them up, season them and stuff them with your favorite stuffing (we like hot italian venison sausage with mushrooms, or hot italian venison sausage with roasted red peppers and crumbled blue cheese).

There are a ton of things to do with venison, and if you do a little home work before cutting up your deer, you can make cuts to fit your recipes, and it will be ten times better than the standard stuff you get from the butcher.

Just make sure you have a few buddies willing to help, it's much more fun that way.
 

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I'm glad ww said that it takes 5-7 hrs. Iv'e been butchering my own (self-taught) for 7 years now and went from 8 hrs for the first one to about 6 now.

" No bone nor hair that you don't need, My wrapped up venison is (insert chewing sound) bad [no swearing please] feed".:D
 

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I'm glad ww said that it takes 5-7 hrs. Iv'e been butchering my own (self-taught) for 7 years now and went from 8 hrs for the first one to about 6 now.
You guys must do your own grinding, and not have much help. Me and my brother can knock a deer out, from skinning to wrapped and labeled in 2 to 2.5 hours, very cleanly. Maybe it's because we don't make all of our final cuts until later, choosing to freeze some pieces whole to preserve moisture and flavor. Don't know, but 6 ot 8 hours seems really long.

Typically, we have 2 or 3 hands skinning it. Takes a few minutes to get the skin off, then we will take both shoulders off (we hang them from the head) and throw them on the table. If I have 3 guys, two go to work on pulling the meat from the shoulders for cubes or burger/sausage. It's cleaned up very well.

While that is going on, one of us will be cutting off the neck meat and flank steaks. They come off quick, and are cleaned up and placed aside. Then, the guy who did the neck will take out the back straps, cut them in half or thirds (depending on size) and place them aside. By now, we are about one hour into the whole process. The shoulders are usually done, the neck and flank steaks done, and the back straps out and cut into 1/2's or 1/3's.

The next thing we do is take off both rear hams and clean them up and bone them out. Two guys can have both hams done in about 20 to 30 minutes. Sometimes we will freeze them whole to slice for steak sandwiches, sometimes I will cut steaks from some of it, and make small roasts from the rest of the ham. That only adds about 15 minutes to do instead of freezing whole.

If there is a third guy, he is wrapping after finishing the shoulders. Sometimes my dad will stop by just to wrap, which makes it go faster because while he is wrapping, and two of us are doing hams, the other will be trimming any meat missed for grinding. Then, as the wrapping is finished, by one or two guys, the other one or two clean up the carc [no swearing please] and put it in a trash can, and get ready for the next deer, if there is one. We typically do two at a time, if we've had a good season. :D

In the case of doing two deer, we sometimes just clean up a shoulder or two for smoking and don't debone it, that saves time, and we will also set aside more for grinding, which also saves time. The only time we slow down is when my wife brings out a fresh cup of hot coffee, and of course, there are plenty of hunts relived and storytelling going on the whole time. We actually have fun with it. [up]
 

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Like I said down to about 6. Yes all by myself Skin it, quarter it, butcher into all the final cuts, steaks, chops, stew, cutlets, roasts, and vacum pack. also ground meat in to patties, and 1 lb pkgs. There is also a cast iron skillet going the whole time, gotta sample some. If your doing it in 2-2 1/2 thats 4-5 man hours, add my time for eating and having a couple brews and I'm right about there.
 
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