Monday, November 22, 2010

Processing Deer 101

Deer season for gun opened this last Saturday. This means we will be given deer until well after Christmas. In one year I processed 12 deer that were given to us. Hubby doesn't even bother to hunt most years. We were cutting a load of wood when some one we knew asked us if we wanted one. We were happy to get it.

You will have to forgive the drawings as I do not put pictures of raw hunks of meat on my blog. I drew this the best I could for the purpose of showing you how to clean a deer.

The first thing is to have someone Gut and skin the deer. (Husbands are great for this.) My hubby cuts it onto chunks for me to process. We have the tenderloin (2), The back strap (2), the front quarter (2), and the back quarter (2). Some people use the ribs but I have only had one deer in 8 years with any meat on the ribs. We gave those to someone that asked for them.  If you are ambitious you can make leather out of the skin. (We know how just don't really have a use for it at all.)

Here is my picture of a tenderloin or back strap. There is not much difference but in size. You want to cut off the silver skin and fat. (the silver and white parts of the picture) The Silver skin is semi easy to take off. You put your knife under part of it and lift up. then pick up the edge of the cut and work your knife under it and it peels up as you go. The fat you just cut off. The fat does not taste good at all.

On the front quarters and the back quarters you want to cut on the lines. These are individual  muscles on the front and back legs. These are roasts. The front leg has smaller roast than the back. I usually make jerky or steak tips out of the front quarters. Again remove the silver skin and fat.

If you wish to make sausage please go get some pig fat to use. I keep it in the freezer since we raise pigs. But your local grocery store will always give you some. If you ground it with out fat to use as hamburger meat always put some regular hamburger in the dish you are cooking. If you do not do this it has a grainy texture as there is no fat in the meat itself.

We are for hunting legally here. It keeps the population from exploding causing diseases, starvation of the deer and traffic problems.  With that said those of you that shoot from the road and leave the deer laying or just shoot into the woods at shadows. I have a video camera that will be in my car all hunting season. We got the ones last year we will get you this year too. If you hunt legally and do not want all the meat make sure it is not wasted. Give it to families that use it or see if the food banks take them.

Hubby does hunt for squirrels and rabbits and such. I do not eat those but if you are looking for recipes for any wild life that is legal to hunt in your area just ask. I inherited a cook book that tells you how to cook opossum, beaver tail all the way to ground hog. I am keeping it for when times get really tough and the economy dies. I will be come a vegetarian at this point but hubby swears he will never full quit eating meat.