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butchering deer (or antelope)

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TasunkaWitko View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 December 2004 at 03:49
max -

i've read many different ways to prepare them, roasted whole and otherwise. so far, i've tried none of these, mostly because i never have the time, the ingredients and the tenderloins all at the same time in order to experiment!

what i generally do is slice them across the grain into thin medallions, splash them with a little soy sauce and a few other seasonings lying around, dust them in flour and saute them in butter and onion. served with mashed potatoes and pan gravy, these are especially nice on a grey night with snow falling outside the window.....

Edited by TasunkaWitko
TasunkaWitko - Chinook, Montana

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 December 2004 at 18:09
today was my first experience with a vacuum sealer, and i gotta say that once i learned the voodoo involved, i really started to like this thing!

it is going to be hard to abandond my freezer-strength ziplocks and white butcher paper, but considering that this does the job of both, plus a better job of squeezing out the air than i ever can, i'll find a way to cope.

the one we have is the VS110 seal-a-meal from rival.
TasunkaWitko - Chinook, Montana

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 October 2010 at 10:08
forgot to mention that since i last posted this, i've begin popping the hindquarters out as described in the diagram, rather than sawing them in half. this works very well and i am glad that i tried it!
TasunkaWitko - Chinook, Montana

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 October 2010 at 12:36

If the weather is warm I pack ice bags inside and get it to the local deer processor.  We have a lot of them within 15 miles of my hoouse.  The one I take it to does 1600-200 deer a year, so it is a real setup and super clean.

If cooler and we have 3+ guys we meet at my bro house and group dress it.  his garage is set up neat, but it is still tiring to do it right.

My wife does the tenderloins and back straps by slicing them lengthwise , stuffing it with lobster, and tie it shut.  Then broil with white wine and lemon sauce.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 October 2010 at 12:37
I should have mentioned, I had vension Romano tonight.  tender and delicious.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote deaddog Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 October 2010 at 16:42

Bear, I'd like the recipie for that lobster stuffed loin. Sounds real tasty!

 

DD

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 December 2011 at 05:20

i can't imagine anything easier than this:

simply drill a hole:

screw in a hook:

hoist her up:

and hook her on....

...repeat for other leg.

TasunkaWitko - Chinook, Montana

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 December 2011 at 05:23
Originally posted by max-p max-p wrote:

No one has made mention of the two best pieces of meat on a deer. Relatively small but fork tender. Those two tender strips that lay up under the backbone just  in front of the hip sockets. They peel out pretty easy, clean up well, and when rolled up like a jelly roll , wrapped in bacon and cooked rare over the coals would make a vegetarian Democratic person involved with a same sex significant other go out and buy a pick up truck and a Handi rifle with a Tasco scope and apply for a hunting liscense.

max.

 

here we go ~

we miss you, max ~

TasunkaWitko - Chinook, Montana

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 December 2011 at 06:19

i've said it before and i will say it again:

remove ANYTHING that isn't meat, and you will be ok.

that is the NUMBER ONE rule as far as i am concerned. our steaks and roasts have everything removed: bones, fat, silverskin, membrane etc. - it all goes to the dog. i even take down individual roasts in order to get strips of silverskins that (over the years) i have learned are inside. anything that goes into the freezer labeled roast, steak or cubes will be meat only.

when it comes to burger, sausage and jerky trimmings, i relax a little bit, but not much and ONLY where some of the thinner, clear membranes between muscles are concerned, since it would be a shame to waste that meat. this is because there is plenty of meat that is great for these purposes, and the very light-textured membranes i am referring to either melt away in cooking (collagen) or dry on jerky. by membranes i don't mean silverskin, which is whiter in colour and much heavier in nature/texture - that STILL comes off of everything.

also, my oldest son likes to keep the hocks/shanks whole for smoking or braising with beans or something. other than that, if it ain't meat, it's gone.

my kids hate how "anal" i am about that, but regardless, i make damn sure they leran to do it that way. the meat is a lot better for it and it shows in the finished meal that is prepared from such meat.



Edited by TasunkaWitko
TasunkaWitko - Chinook, Montana

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29 November 2015 at 17:58
I've shot, butchered and eaten deer since 1983, and I've had the opportunity to try venison almost every way, ranging from butchered the same day that it was shot (not by choice), to hanging from November until March (also not by choice). In between, I've let them hang 5 days, a week, 10 days, two weeks, three weeks and as long as a month. The deciding factor, in all cases, was the intersection of temperature with available time, so my experiences apply to my specific area only, or areas that are like my area. In most cases, the deer were mule deer (muley) does, although there were also some mature bucks and a couple of yearlings. In at least two cases the deer were superannuated. There were also several whitetails of both sexes. In all cases, the deer ate on some farmed grains (wheat and barley), as well as alfalfa and whatever grass or sage they could browse. These were not only my own deer, but also deer that had been shot by my father and by my sons. My conclusions are that both hanging and aging contribute to better tenderness and flavour, within reason.

Obviously, the extremes (same day and 4 months) are not at all recommended. In the "same-day" case, it was a yearling whitetail. The meat was ragged, tough, and had an unpleasant taste that reminded me of metallic, rotten milk. This deer (closely followed by one that I had a processor do) stands as my absolute worst venison of all time, when the age and species should have put it in the top 5. In the 4-month case, it was due to the fact that it was frozen solid in sub-zero temperatures for the vast majority of that time. The meat from that deer (a mature muley buck) was actually quite good and quite tender, but there was an "outer layer" of 1/4-inch on some exposed parts that was no good. This was my dad's deer, and I wasn't too happy about it going so long, but the meat underneath WAS just fine. I include this example because it demonstrates that even when the situation goes way out control, you can salvage it, if you pay attention to details.

If memory serves, a University of Wyoming study found that hanging and aging deer for 10 days at 40 degrees is optimum, and my experience would be about the same, although an extra week or so has never hurt anything. The vast majority of deer were butchered and in the freezer within a month, with most butchering being started at 2 weeks, although once again, starting at 3 weeks hasn't hurt anything. Venison has always been more flavourful and certainly more tender in the two-week range; after 3 weeks, the meat is starting to get "too tender" (for lack of a better term), but has never been mushy. Another benefit of hanging is that when hanging, the weight of the deer causes a slight stretching that contributes to tenderness. In all cases, I would not describe the taste as gamey. To put it more simply: my wife complains about the taste of venison if it is butchered inside of 10 days, but not if it hangs 10 days to 3 weeks - she seems to enjoy those. As for those hanging longer, she has not expressed an opinion one way or the other, but I hadn't yet met her when the 4-month hang happened.

Very important: Respect the meat! A calm, 1-shot kill is important. Quick field-dressing is a given; removing of the entire windpipe as well as propping open the chest cavity are vital. We also usually rinse the body cavity right away with cold water, since we almost always stop by at my dad's place after hunting and he has a spigot/hose right there. I leave the hide on until it is time to butcher; the reason for this is because in a very short time, it is going to be cold anyway (night) and because the hide keeps the meat from drying out while hanging and aging. But depending on location/climate, this might not be feasible. I contend that hanging and adequate aging (when possible) are just two small steps in an entire chain of events that leads to good meat. Above all, when butchering, do it right! Remove ALL fat, silverskin, membrane etc. before packaging and especially before eating. These are the primary cause of gamey flavour. Go boneless with your cuts - and my advice is to also avoid the bone saw. It can be done, and leads to better quality, in my opinion. Cuts with bones, bone chips and bone dust are not necessary. Just because you are used to seeing pork chops with an attached rib or round steaks with a ring of bone, doesn't mean that this is good for venison. The fats, connective tissues etc. are not the same.

Once again, I repeat for emphasis: my area/region/climate is friendly toward this practice; yours might not be. Temperatures at night are in the 20s or lower, temperatures in the day are rarely over 40 - or, if they are, it is not for any significant length of time and the carcass stays very well-chilled. If I were much farther south, I wouldn't hang nearly as long - but I would still hang, whenever feasible. The same University of Wyoming study outlines definite benefits to hanging, with added benefits to aging, so I do both, because I can. Your situation might be different, but if you are in the far north and have regularly-cold temperatures, there should be no issues as long as you are aware of what's going on.

Since 1983, I've never had gamey-tasting meat, because I took care of it. I've had flavourful meat and tender meat to varying degrees, but the meat that made it to the plate has never been gamey or rotten. The deer we shot two weeks ago was frozen solid at 10 days, so it probably won't get done until next weekend after a couple of days in the 30s and 40s, but I have 100% confidence that she will be quite fine. She was a mature doe who went down with one shot as she was eating alfalfa and winter wheat sprouts, and she will be very well-trimmed when she is butchered. Those are the main factors, but the fact that she spent time aging and hanging will push her from "very good" to "absolutely delicious."

I don't know everything, but I do know venison. I say all of this with confidence because I've gone from one extreme to the other under varying circumstances and have pretty-well wrung out most of the scenarios. If 30+ years of real-life experience are worth anything, then I hope someone gets some benefit from this.

Edited by TasunkaWitko
TasunkaWitko - Chinook, Montana

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