Do you process your own game?

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by Drop-Shot, Nov 26, 2005.

  1. Drop-Shot

    Drop-Shot Super Member

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    I have processed my game since I took my first deer when I was 10,what do you feel is the pro's and con's of using a commercial processor?Drop-Shot
     
  2. 8pointduck

    8pointduck Super Member

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    When I was growing up, the hunting clubs in South Carolina cut up there own meat.It was done usually at the end of the day and everyone who was hunting that day got a share of the meat.No one went without :) . I haven't hunted back homesince I was 20, and have heard they do like we do here in Georgia having deer coolers that proccess your meat for you.

    Pro,s: you get it proffesionally cut and wrapped which you pay for, but I can get it ground, cubed, steaks, sausage, you name it.

    Cons:It has caused me to forget what I used to know about butchering my own.
     

  3. uglydog

    uglydog Super Member

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    I now have mine professionally processed. I butchered enough animals on the farm that I can do it myself but I have since discovered that the local butcher reads the grain of the meat much better than I do which leads to a more tender cut. He also has much better equipment, facilities, training and experience, which makes the job faster and for cleaner and neater cuts of meat with less wastage. Temps can be fairly cold here also, cold enough that it is uncomfortable to do out in the shed shere as the butcher shop is at a balmy 50 degrees. There is also the remains to get rid of and the mess to clean up afterwards; it is an extra charge for the trash service and can occasionally be a pain to haul it to the far side of the property depending on weather. Chronic Wasting Disease is a concern in some areas and the remains have additional precautions and rules that need to be followed to reduce the risk of catching or transmitting to humans and animals. I also have time restraints, I do several trips rather close together as well as local hunts and it is pretty tight cleaning up after one and packing for the next as it is; if I had to butcher game too (not to mention the occasion need to work and "honey dos"), it would really be hectic. Lastly, taking my animals into the butcher for processing also gives me the inside track for the leavings for bear bait. In this part of the country a consistant supply of baiting materials is worth more than gold and sources are fiercely guarded. Having as many as a dozen animals brought in goes a long ways in keeping me first in line.
    As for the negatives of having it processed, I can't think of any other than potentially cost. This can range from $60 -$100 locally depending on how much is used for sausages and the amount of pork and beef added to it. Do enough animals and often enough (I also have the same shop do our beef cattle) and rather significant breaks can be worked out. I guess others have had problems with not getting as much meat back as they expected and also different animals that may not have been cared for as well but I haven't had that experience. I use a local shop that has been around for a long time (third generation in same location) and has had a good reputation for a long time.
     
  4. Drop-Shot

    Drop-Shot Super Member

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    I can see your points UglyDog,what I have seen is processors that don't use all the meat,they waste alot or accidentally give some of your meat to others.Case in point,my brother in law brought both his doe and buck to a local processor and recieved back 21lbs of wrapped meat,yes he shot from the side of each animal and they were white tail deer,much smaller than muleys,he carried the meat out in 1 box.I weighed the meat I processed on 1 deer(small doe)and it was 22 lbs.He shot a Bison last year and the buff weighed 740 lbs on certified scales on the hoof,he recieved less than 200 lbs of processed meat wrapped,we weighed it on bathroom scales and it was closer to 150 lbs,his best friend went the cheaper route and processed his own meat with a similar bison and had twice the meat if not more.If I had a butcher that was better than I have used in the past I might have a different view,just my opinion and was looking at others opinions as well.Drop-Shot
     
  5. 8pointduck

    8pointduck Super Member

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    Drop ,I feel your pain. I have been to thosekinds of prossessors myself. If they do me wrong I will not use them again. I found a small operation close to my club that does exellent work and you are assured you get all your meat from your deer. Not from Joes buck that didn't get taken care of properly before he took it to be cut up.
     
  6. uglydog

    uglydog Super Member

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    Talking to a few guys here at work, I realized I do a lot more choosing a butcher than most. I look at picking a butcher as being no different as picking a doctor, mechanic, or other service provider. I ask a lot of questions of the butcher and ask to look at the facilities. If the facilities look reasonably clean and organized, I'll drop off my game. Before leaving, I will get an actual dressed weight of the animal or at least a guesstimate that we can both agree on and have it written down on the reciept. Any damage to the meat (bullet holes, bruising, etc.) and meat condition will be noted and an estimate of the final recieved weight (usually around 60% of the dressed weight) will also be noted on the reciept which I and a representative of the shop will both sign. This has worked well for me and I haven't had a problem with butchers agreeing to this if done courteously. Everyone's idea of what constitutes wastage is probably different but I feel this agreement keeps it to a minimum and prevent the "loss" of meat. If I find my meat to be of different quality, dirtier, orotherwise different from what I dropped off, I will contact the shop and tell them my feelings. Depending on how they respond will determine if they will get any more of my business in the future. The shops I currently use all vacuum wrap their meat in clear plastic so the meat can be viewed instantly at the time of pick up. I try to drop my game off on weekday mornings whenever possible, especially Tuesday through Friday. This seems to be the least busy times for them and doing the signing is less of a burden. I have also found it to my benefit to ask if there was anything I could have done better or differently to have improved the condition of my animal. Not only do I get some good tips but it appeals to the knowledge and vanity of the butcher and they seem to take a bit of extra care in the job. Hopefully, my experiences will be helpful to others if they choose to have someone else process their animals for them.
     
  7. Vagabond

    Vagabond Guest

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    Not long ago Missouri Conservation Magazine published an article about processing your own game which was very informative. I have yet to get out in the field, but I think when the time comes I'll more than likely try both ways. We have several good processors here in town and there is a Share the Harvest program in place where hunters recieve a refund for giving part of their take to Second Harvest food bank, which is pretty nice.
     
  8. wired

    wired Guest

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    Re: re: Do you process your own game?

    If you go to the MO Dept of Cons website and find the section on The Missouri Conservationist, you can go back through the archives and read articles.
     
  9. danurve

    danurve Guest

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    I have always butchered my own game. It gave me a direct understanding of how the best cuts are done. These days it's down to a science, almost. :wink: I have two hand-turned meat grinders that help turn smaller cuts and formerly less desired peices of meat into burger.
     
  10. The_Cook

    The_Cook Guest

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    I wouldn't be able to call myself a Chef if I did not process them meat myself. Haven't killed a deer yet, but the jackrabbits that I killed, the only things I don't eat or use for something are the eyeballs and the private parts (note private parts atleast the nads, ovaries, and penis) are tasty and succulent I just can't get over the fact that the'yre private parts, but try em once you might like em :D I believe in as close to 100% utilization of what you harvest, processing the carcass yourself is the only way to go when it comes to that.

    Boil 'dem bones for stew!
     
  11. luv2safari

    luv2safari Moderator

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    Cook...glad to see your posts again! :D

    Give us some holiday recipies for venison, birds, etc... :wink:
     
  12. The_Cook

    The_Cook Guest

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    Venison I treat like a good steak, salt and pepper, threatened with flame. Roasts are good, venison tends to be alot leaner than beef so you have to make sure it's oiled well when you put it in the oven. damn you luv... okay here is a roasting lesson.

    Roasting Venison.
    How you flavor your venison is how you flavor your venison, the types of things you can do to give it flavor are legion so I'm not going to bother.
    Because venison is a leaner meat than beef you have to make sure the roast is well coated in oil. Any type of oil will do but I personnaly like Olive oil, flavored olive oil, 50/50 mix olive oil and butter (Virgin Olive Oil and Butter have a low burning temp to be used straight in most cooking applications so it has to be cut with another oil) rubbed onto the roast before cooking will help keep the meat moist. You will have to reapply your chossen oil periodically or the roast will dry out. If you are the lazy type like me you can go and get yourself some "pork fat back" from your butcher. "pork fat back" is litterally a slab of fat that is about an 1"-2" thick. Take it and cut it so that it covers the top of your roast, as the roast cooks the fat will sweat and continously oil your roast. If you do the "pork fat back" you will have to remove the fat back once the roast has reached the proper tempurature and BROIL it for a couple of minutes to give it an even Tan.
    Place the roast in a pan with a rack that keeps the roast at least 1" off the bottom. (Your roasting pan should have low walls, preferably your roast should sit on the rack at the top of the walls. High wall pans will hold in a layer of steam during the cooking process and will STEAM your roast instead of roasting it) 350degs is the about how hot you want your oven, the internal temp of the roast should be 180 degs by FDA standards but I like mine alittle rare so I cook it to 160 degs (warning 160 degs will not kill all bacteria and parasites so make sure you have good meat. I have my jackrabbits analyzed by my local community college biology department before I eat them, they actually found one that had rabies :shock: ). Cooking times vary depending on the weight of the roast. You can use Beef roast cooking times as a ballpark number, but the best way is to stick it with a thermomiter thermometer? (Proper roast tempurature is obtained by inserting the tip of the probe into middle of the roast) DO NOT cut into the roast to see how done it is, this will release the water that has been driven into the center of the roast and dry it out thoroughly.
    Never under any circumstances take the juice from the bottom of your pan and pour it over your roast. All you are doing is washing away the protective layer of oil off of your roast and drying it out.
    Once your roast is done, take it out and let it sit for 10-15 minutes. DO NOT cut it open!!! I say again, because the heat of the oven has litteraly forced all the water to the center of the roast if you cut it, it will gush out because it is under pressure. By letting the roast sit for a little while, this gives the water a chance to evenly seep back into the outer parts of the meat and the pressure will stabalize. That way when you cut it every piece will be moist and suculent.

    These basic techniques should be applied to all roasting
    I hope this helped =)
     
  13. Levergun

    Levergun Super Member

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    I process my game for two reasons or more.
    1) I don't have to worry the butcher hung it too long or mixed it with anothers animal. Beleive me, it happens!

    2) I can cut my meat as I like it and wrap it accordingly.

    3) I get more meat when I do it cause I clean it better and use just about everything I can get off of it.

    And the most important, I am taking care of meat for my family that I harvested! It makes me feel good! :wink: