De-Boneing and Butchering. Whats your Process?

Discussion in 'Long Range Hunting & Shooting' started by angus-5024, Oct 20, 2013.

  1. angus-5024

    angus-5024 Well-Known Member

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    I know that a lot of guys will take their stuff to a meat shop and its a deer in and wrapped meat and sausage out, but for those of you that do it yourselves what is your process? What gear do you use?

    I hang the animal on a gamel and strip the skin (like most do). I then debone the next day.
    When I go to debone I always take the front shoulders off first, leaving them until last. I put these on a stainless cutting table with a large cutting board.
    flanks come off and into the bucket.
    I then move to the tenderloins and back-straps. As I strip them off they go straight into a separate plastic bin where they wait processing.
    Then I move to the back haunches and forelegs, removing the meat with the tendons still intact. these also go into the bin with the flanks.
    Neck roasts and anything else comes off and goes with the haunches.
    When I do the shoulders... well, I kind of just try to get all the meat off and its not usually pretty. I have been watching some YouTube stuff to try to get better at it. The fronts go into the haunches bin (I call it the "B" bin for anything not back straps or tenderloin).

    Once the carcass is stripped clean I will make the back straps into butterfly steaks and the tenderloin into one big roast. I do this first because these are my favorite cuts and I want them to be the cleanest. If anything is dirty I have a bowl of vinegar water to rinse the hair off. Most other defects get cut out, this includes any meat that has seen to much air and has "skinned over".

    Then for the rest I pull all the tendons and nasties off and they go into the sausage/ground bin which get taken to the butcher ASAP. If they need to get frozen they go into airtight bags of some sort.

    I use a 6" fillet knife (Henkel) my 4.5" gerber hunting knife for around the joints and bones and a 14" Henkel Ham knife for my cuts. I also always have a meat hook.

    WHATS YOUR PROCESS AND GEAR?
    if you have a pretty sweet set up SHOW SOME PICS!
     
  2. AZShooter

    AZShooter Well-Known Member

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    If you got yourself a meat grinder you could skip the butcher all together! I have a cabelas grinder that takes attachments. I added the cubing attachment. It also comes with the devices for making sausage.

    As for butchering I do it pretty much the same way you do it. An assortment of knives and a steel. I have never used vinegar when rinsing meat, just use a clean wet cloth. I do take the time to cut out large chunks of meat from the shoulders to cook whole in a crockpot.

    I live in S. Az and keeping meat cool is a real issue. I solved it by using a plastic horse watering trough.(see picture) It came with a drain which I altered for a drain hose. A small pallet is placed into the bottom to keep meat out of any water. All pieces like shoulders/backstraps/hind legs/trim meat etc are double bagged in garbage bags. A layer of bags of ice is laid down then some bags of meat, more bags of ice etc till all meat is in watering trough. I have enough room for an elk with plenty of bags of ice on top. This is covered with an old sleeping bag. The drain hose sticks out the tailgate. I have kept meat cold this way for a week. Once I get home and it is time to butcher I drag out one bag at a time and process it. If I get tired there is no rush as the rest of the meat remains very cold. In fact it comes out so cold I have to warm up my hands as I work.

    Other items that help.... I have a roll of freezer paper on a dispenser that I clamp to the work table.(pic)


    .

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    Usually it is cold enough that I have a fire on the porch where I work. And if it is Christmas time I also have Christmas music playing. Very pleasant butchering under these conditions
    [​IMG]
     

  3. MachV

    MachV Well-Known Member

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    The critter is usually deboned where it drops. I use a skinner/gut hook knife to get at the met and a 6" fillet knife to debone and cut up with. Doing it this way cools the meat faster, is lighter to pack out and leaves lot of the waste out to be recycled. The only real downside is keeping the hair off and meat clean but that is usually manageable.
    The meat is packed in 2.5 gallon bags. They fit in the backpacks well and the coolers on ice even better. A goat will fit into 2 bags and a deer three+.....Have yet to fill an elk tag but something tells me I may have to adapt a littlelightbulb
    Once I get home the kitchen becomes the butcher shop. The meat is cleaned in the stainless sink and cut up on the counter. I try to steak/roast out as much as Momma will let me with the rest going into a little $2 150W grinder I bought at a garage sale 5 years ago (Momma's Kitchen aid grinder works a little better but heats up).
    All antelope goes into the grinder with 1-7 bacon ends per the bosses instructions, she will not cook it otherwise or let me for that matter! What she don't know will not hurt me:D The meat is vacuum sealed and froze.
    Nuthing too fancy but functional. I just got done grinding 105#s of hamburger and quite a few creative steaks/roasts.
     
  4. angus-5024

    angus-5024 Well-Known Member

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    I used to do it in the kitchen too! I just prefer a space where no little hands can get into it, so the garage it is. I like the idea of keeping it on ice, but not frozen so the work can be divided up over several days.
    I have boned a few animals in the field, but had a tough time keeping everything clean, so unless its a backpack trip I try to hang it.
    Thanks for the responses and pics!
     
  5. bigngreen

    bigngreen Well-Known Member

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    I'll have to get some pics of our processing area, we have a decent set up at my dads in the garage that we usually put up 50-60 animals in a year. I ran a wild game processing buisness for a few years and cut at least 2000 head a season, I can take a deer apart fairly fast:D
     
  6. el matador

    el matador Well-Known Member

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    I backpack hunt exclusively, so it's always deboning on the hill. I bring plastic to lay the cuts on as they are removed. The meat is placed into pillow cases which are then put into garbage bags and into the pack. Once at home I thoroughly rinse the meat and cut off any crud. I pat the meat dry and put it in the fridge on towels to drain for 12 hours. Then it's flipped and another 12 hours to drain, after which it's covered in saran wrap and aged in the fridge for another 5 days or so. At this point I butcher it and vacuum pack it. I would like to get some actual butcher knives at some point but for now most of the work is done with an 8" Puma Bowie knife. I also carry a 4" folding knife for skinning duties and a pocket steel for sharpening.
     
  7. Toptuna

    Toptuna Well-Known Member

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    I live in San Diego and its typically warm. I try to get my buck to the truck and always have a cooler of ice.

    I skin the deer on a gambrel and hoist under an oak tree. After its skinned I bring a pump sprayer just for spraying water and rinse any hair, dirt, ect. Then I hoist the deer way up and back my truck up under the deer and lower it onto a bed of ice.

    When I get home I have two other coolers and fill them with ice(I get ice for free). I debone the meat and put it in one cooler. After the one cooler is emptied I process all the de-boned meat and put it on a bed of ice in the 3rd cooler.

    Final step is to fill vacuum seal bags with meal size amounts of cuts.

    No expert but it works for me.
     
  8. cohunter14

    cohunter14 Well-Known Member

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    That was a bunch of good info, until I got to the pic of the fire! 60 degrees and a fire??? Really?? You Arizona folk crack me up!!! LOL!!!!! Just messin with you, but I couldn't let you get away with that :D
     
  9. AZShooter

    AZShooter Well-Known Member

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    Yes it is funny and I noticed the thermometer too. Then I realized the fire under front porch near thermometer was influencing things. It was December with the morning temps in the high 30s. The meat comes out one piece at a time from the ice packed tub. My hands would get so cold I was glad to warm them up by the fire.
     
  10. shawnb

    shawnb Well-Known Member

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    Ive cut meat and made sausage for going on 8 years now and the best way (fastest) for me is to hang the deer, tiger torch the small amount of hair off after skinning, the i "skin" the meat from brisket to spine. making 2 cuts on either side of the feather bones. You do this from the hip to where you cut the head off. From there you have prety much thewhole side of deer, almost boneless, on the table. You can pull the loin (backstraps) off by hand to cut up later, cut away all fat to toss out, and debone the shoulder and cube the neck meat.
    Then all thats left is to debone the hips. Which is very fast if you know the correct seams to follow for having lean chunks for jerky. There is usualy a smal had full of mea that is missed. But its between the ribs and usually full of blood ant whatnot from gutting. So it doesnt matter all that much to clean the inside, other than the tenderloins.
     
  11. shawnb

    shawnb Well-Known Member

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    Ive cut meat and made sausage for going on 8 years now and the best way (fastest) for me is to hang the deer, tiger torch the small amount of hair off after skinning, the i "skin" the meat from brisket to spine. making 2 cuts on either side of the feather bones. You do this from the hip to where you cut the head off. From there you have prety much thewhole side of deer, almost boneless, on the table. You can pull the loin (backstraps) off by hand to cut up later, cut away all fat to toss out, and debone the shoulder and cube the neck meat.
    Then all thats left is to debone the hips. Which is very fast if you know the correct seams to follow for having lean chunks for jerky. There is usualy a smal had full of mea that is missed. But its between the ribs and usually full of blood ant whatnot from gutting. So it doesnt matter all that much to clean the inside, other than the tenderloins.

    Hope that makes sense to all who read.
     
  12. BountyHunter

    BountyHunter Writers Guild

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    We take them straight to a hoist and gambrel IF time allows without gutting them.

    Peel the hide back down to head. Depending on if you want to save the hide or not how you do it. Hook knives make quick work.

    Use a fillet knife take out the loins from the hindquarters to the neck.

    Off come the front shoulders

    Make small incisions in the top of the stomach area near the hindquarters to get the small backstraps inside

    use a filet knife and start just outside the tailbone and work down both sides of the pelvis bones thru the pelvis joint to the front of the hind quarter.

    Each hindquarter will pop off, hanging on gambrel and carcass will fall to ground.

    Use filet knife to work thru and around knees on front and hind quarters

    Debone the neck and any extra meat.

    Debone the quarters with the filet knife. Can be done with one piece of meat for each quarter.

    Pop in bags and ice.

    Dispose of carcass.

    total time is 15-20 minutes. 3-4 big Midwest deer will fit in on 100 qt cooler
     
  13. bigngreen

    bigngreen Well-Known Member

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    Here is a picture of our cutting area that we've set up in my dad's garage. It has water and drains with a rail.
    For me it all starts with a clean skinning job, then I wash the animal down and trim the edges of hair and dirt. There is almost no hair on the animal after this, maybe a dozen max!
    Front shoulders are removed then one hind quarter is removed and hanged on a roller. Then flanks and back straps are removed, next the neck and then split the cut the spine with my knife and remove the pelvis from the last hind. Shoulders boned, back straps trimmed and cut, flanks and sides are cleaned, hinds are bones and cut to roasts and steaks.

    I cut them very soon after skinning which is very soon after killing so I don't have to reskin my game, use water for cleaning hair of so no torch and no funky stuff and I remove the glands, it's the best quality wild game you can get!

    I kinda idle now days so it takes more time than it used to a half hour or so for a deer or an hour or so for an elk. When I was cutting 60 a night there was five of us, three breaking and two of us cutting at 10 animal an hour average cut and wrap, elk and deer but we could hit a deer every three minutes if we were doing sausage animal that we just grind.

    Picture 001.jpg

    The four tools you need, steel, 8in curved breaking knife, 6in semi stiff curved breaking knife and a sharp hook.

    Picture 003.jpg

    Finished carcass.

    Picture 044.jpg
     
  14. AZShooter

    AZShooter Well-Known Member

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    Biggreen,

    Wow that is a very professional looking setup! Thanks for sharing.