American Bushman

"If you would not be forgotten as soon as you are dead, either write things worth reading or do things worth writing." —Benjamin Franklin

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Butchering

Today's the day I process the parts into steaks, roasts, and burger meat.

I'm working in the garage with a homemade table, the temperature outside is in the 20s and maybe 40 inside. I've got my iPod playing a selection of songs from Chris Cornell (Soundgarden, Temple of the Dog, Audioslave, etc.) and I'm using my slicer from the kitchen knife set.

It's been about three hours since I started and I've got both loins processed and all the silver skin removed, the neck roast has been de-boned and rolled, and one of the rear legs is fully processed into three roasts and the calf muscle and part of the upper leg are set to be stir-fry and burger meat.

My hands hurt, my legs hurt, my clothes smell like the inside of a deer (again,) and I've got three more legs and the ribcage to go still.

I also had one of the neighborhood dogs come marching into the garage and pick up one of the front leg lowers and try to run off with it while I was working. At least it wasn't a coyote--yet.

Oh, and then there's the deer hair...

How'd it get everywhere when I've worked very hard to keep pristine surfaces on my workspace to keep contamination to the absolute minimum? I wipe down the cutting boards after every piece of meat is processed and each piece of meat is immediately bagged and tossed back into the cooler for further processing later.

I think I'm going to finish one more leg and call it a day. I can finish the rest tomorrow before I head out for a hike and there seems to be a beer here calling my name but he's going to have to wait until I'm finished with knifework for the day.

Thanks for reading,


B

7 Comments:

At 4:18 PM, Anonymous James said...

Bless you and your hard work, sir. As for that beer, let me recommend a Murphy's Red or a Berghoff Red Ale. Good stuff. I drank one called "Horse Piss Beer" earlier today...it's good if you like Miller Lite enough to pay 3 times retail for it, but I digress...

My guess on the deer hair --- are you using the same rag to wipe down the surface every time?

 
At 4:20 PM, Anonymous James Oakes said...

Another thought....why on earth are you using a slicer? You need a boning knife and a cleaver brother. A knife fanatic like you should know better....

 
At 8:06 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

i can show you a way to make a few simple cuts on the hide use a golf or an old baseball and the hide will come of in less than a minute in one slick piece as easy as peeling a banana im serious,let me know if your interested,chris from al.

 
At 8:16 PM, Blogger American Bushman said...

James,

First, thank you for the beer recommendations. We had my wife's Holiday Party here last night after her company cancelled the "official" party so I've got more beer than I began with and have chosen a Fat Tire (two actually) for my post-butchering beer--at least to start. :D

Second, I'm using disposable shop towels (like heavy duty paper towels) to wipe down the boards. That way I don't contaminate the board with stuff I've wiped off.

A cleaver? If I had a cleaver out there I'd be typing with something less than 10 fingers now. I'm using the slicer because it's flexible and allows me to get right up on the bones to minimize waste.

I ended the day with a Gallon Ziplock full of waste and that included the neck bones and esophagus so I'm doing okay so far. There are also now five Quart Ziplock bags of burger meat.

I estimate that I've got over 40 pounds of venison in the freezer as I type this. That's roasts, steaks, loins, and stir-fry meat. And I've still got two front legs, the rib cage, and the rest of the trim meat to process in the morning.

I lost maybe two to three pounds of leg roast to frostbite (freezer burn?) but that's the only wasted product so far.

Thanks for your comments,

B

 
At 8:18 PM, Blogger American Bushman said...

Chris,

I've seen that method before using a pickup truck, a golf ball, some rope, and a tree.

It would've been too easy to do it that way. :)

Dan and Spen were talking about some new method they just read about where you stick an air compressor needle through the skin and basically blow the skin up like a balloon and then it just slides off when you do the basic cuts up the legs. I guess it pops all the connective tissue when you blow it up.

Thanks,

B

 
At 8:25 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

ok but it really works ,my wife and i tried it this year and we were totally amazed ,if you go to utube and type in ,THE FASTEST WAY TO SKIN A DEER a lot of really good videos pop up ,ive hunted since i started walking and im sure ive got a lot to learn but i wil be glad to advise in any way i can, keep up the good work as always you take the rest of us to places and we get to enjoy new tools and gadgets thru your eyes a lot of us could never afford to try,chris from al.

 
At 8:41 PM, Blogger American Bushman said...

Yeah, I'll bet that's the same video I've watched.

So, you've tried it? I sure wish I'd been around to see that. :)

This being my first deer I wanted to do everything the more traditional way. Maybe next year (or still this year if I can get a bow) I'll try your method.

After seeing just how much meat I can put in the freezer this year you can bet I'll be in the woods for the archery opener next year to get one or two done before firearm season here.

I've NEVER been this excited about meat before. Every piece I butcher makes me hungry and recipes run through my head as I consider how to cook each piece (i.e. loin cooks differently than leg) to maximize the flavor and texture of the cut.

I don't think I'll ever look at pork or beef the same way again either.

That neck roast is begging to be tossed in a dutch oven with some potatoes, carrots, celery, onions, and broth and left to simmer for hours and hours...

Thanks for your very kind comments,


B

 

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