Camp Cooking and Game Processing Trade recipes and other tricks of the trade for cooking wild game.

Grinding deer meat

Old 11-23-2009, 12:10 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2009
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Thanks for all the advice! I picked up a LEM stainless steel hand grinder from Bass Pro this afternoon and my wife got me a big tray of beef fat the butcher at the grocery store gave her. I'm going to grind up about 20 lbs tonight. I'm a young, strong guy so it shouldn't be a problem, I need the exercise anyway. Thanks again.
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Old 11-23-2009, 12:19 PM
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Good luck tonight. Personally, I add very little beef fat to my venison burger. My family and I enjoy venison because it is a very lean meat and is supposed to be better for you, so I hate to ruin that. I do like most other people though and remove all fat and silver skin (at least that's what we call it). Then I mix in less than 5% beef fat.
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Old 11-23-2009, 01:04 PM
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We like the deer burger here, we don't cover up the taste with pork/beef fat! The only time we add pork is while making summer sausage. Thats just cause the recipe calls for it but we still don't use as much as it says.

For the grinder, up until this year I always used a hand crank style grinder also. It isn't that bad.

Last edited by bhensley; 11-23-2009 at 01:06 PM.
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Old 11-23-2009, 01:38 PM
Join Date: Jan 2008
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Have done 5 deer so far this year with my upgraded refurbished Cabellas 3/4 hp commercial grinder. 10% beef fat, will let me make a good patty without falling apart after cooked. Tried to get the 1hp with reverse but they were sold out. Did get the foot control switch, dont think I will ever need a reverse, now. It is a #12, pan might be a little small, but it will take as much as I put down the throat.....
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Old 11-23-2009, 01:57 PM
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Originally Posted by bhensley
We like the deer burger here, we don't cover up the taste with pork/beef fat!
To insinuate those who add pork/beef to the mix is covering up the taste is absurd. Sounds like you need to educate yourself as to why SO MANY people do it. Come on man. You think I want to cover up the taste of venison? If so, you have to quit doing the Clinton on whatever you been tokin'. I personally add to the venison to keep it from flaking, help it stay together when making patties, etc, and it adds NECESSARY moisture because deer meat is very lean.



Like I said, it's not hard and not about physical.

You will find as you grind, the holes in the plate may plug up on you. I double-grind my meat. First I use the large hole plate, then come back a 2nd time and grind with the smaller holed one. Once things start to slow down, you'll have to unscrew the cover and take out the plate to clean so it will let meat pass through faster.


Last edited by iSnipe; 11-23-2009 at 03:21 PM.
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Old 11-23-2009, 03:32 PM
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What parts do y'all grind into burger/sausage/etc? I processed my own deer from last year (my first season) and my ground venison left plenty to be desired. Now, I understand that I didn't mix it with beef or pork or the fat from either AND I didn't cut away all of the deer fat, which would contribute, but my ground venison was really "grissiley" in some bites.

So, now I know to mix with beef fat (I'd rather not use pork unless I'm actually making sausage) and to get rid of all the deer fat, but how on earth can you cut away all of the other white stuff...the membrane, sinew...whatever it is...without it taking FOREVER.

Am I making a mistake to try to use front shoulder as ground venison (i.e. should they only be roasted, etc)? What about the you use the stomach muscle and the outer back/shoulder muscles as ground venison? Okay, and even when I separate the muscle groups from the rear quarter, I notice layers of white tissue within the same muscle group (i.e. the rump roast). Does that need to be removed too?

Thanks. Sorry for so many questions. I'm planning to take many deer this season, but the problem is that the wife isn't crazy about venison. I want to make it as pleasant as possible on I just want to learn the tastiest way to process.
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Old 11-23-2009, 04:34 PM
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When you say "grissiley", it sounds to me you didn't take enough of the tendons and tougher sinew away. This stuff will make chewing rough and will also plug up your grinder faster.

As for your question: " on earth can you cut away all of the other white stuff...the membrane, sinew...whatever it is...without it taking FOREVER."

I have no great answer there except it takes practice. Last time I processed a deer, cutting up the meat and steaks, etc, it was commented that I do that real well. Well, years ago when I first started, it did take "FOREVER". After some practice, I got better. What made me even faster was watching Metz' #2 video on meat processing. It's very similar to filleting a fish or rather removing the skin from the meat part.

What helps too is to have a sharp knife. I have a big plastic cutting board that the meat goes onto. I pick a piece of meat, then go to work on it cutting away the thin membrane part. I usually start in the middle of the meat, then cut a thin slice away just under the membrane all the way out to one side, then turn around 180 and continue to the other side. You do lose some meat, but this is meat you wouldn't eat at the dinner plate anyway, so you're really not losing anything. Plus removing it now means you remove some of the stuff that gives the meat a "gamy" taste.

For the hind quarters, I take the meat and remove the muscle groups first. Some people keep it whole for roasts and this is ok, but sometimes I cut it into steaks or use that for grinding. A guy can go crazy trying to remove all the smaller tendons from the meat in the lower legs of both the front and back, but by the time a guy is done, there's hardly anything there. I've learned to not mess with that area as there's not much there anyway. I also use the roasts of the neck, the area under and around the shoulder blades as grinds. I especially like to take the backstraps and grind that up.

NO way! Just kidding there! No way I'm grinding backstraps!

Hope that helps.

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Old 11-23-2009, 10:15 PM
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Just like sausage domestic animal fat (pork or beef) is for the finished product. In some case it does add taste yes but most don't do it to cover up the vension flavor but rather to have it moist and stuck together. Personally I don't add any fat to my venison grind at time of process as there are receipes/uses where fat isn't required (such as chili, taco's, meat sauces, etc). When a dish does require some fatt content ( burgers, sheppards pie, etc) then I add fat at time of preperation. Venison if packaged properly (void of air) will last 2 years in a chest freezer, domestic pork will last 6 mos & beef 1 (max)...reason being fat content! Just a Cliff Claven Factoid for you!

In regards grinding I double grind all the time. I start with the larger plates and go down a size(I use a 9/16" and 7/16" equiv. diameter plate for burger). For sausage I use a 9/16" for the intial grind, then a 1/2" for the secondary grind after the spices and meat mixing stages. Also when making sausage I let the mixture sit for 3 hours refrigerated prior to re-grinding and stuffing. Just like merinating it allows the spicing to sink into the meat and disperse (reduces pockets of over/under flavouring).

The gristle can come from under grinding or under trimming. Cuts such as the shank and front shoulders need more attention. Try seperating by muscle group, if you find working with larger pieces of meat difficult simply hack them down to your comfortable or workable size. Always will be a grind pile and small piece grind up as well.
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Old 11-24-2009, 03:10 AM
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I use a 6" Rapela fish fillet knife for my boning and trimming. The blade is small and flexible and works perfectly for all the trimming.
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Old 11-24-2009, 07:39 AM
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Location: Upstate, NY
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I don't worry about getting all of the silverskin off before I grind. You should pay more attention to the fat.... the white "chalky" stuff. This stuff will make your venison tast bad. As I'm grinding, much of the silverskin clogs up my grinder plates. I see this as a good thing because if it clogs the grinder plates, it doesn't make it to my venision.

Some say you should remove it all before grinding. I don't do this for simple time management reasons. It can take an hour to remove all of the silverskin from the smaller muscle groups of a deer so I don't even try. And when you're done, you've cut away some meat as well. It literally takes me seconds to pull out the plate and unclog it.

As far as the parts I grind. I grind the entire neck, front shoulders, brisket. Then I grind the trimmings from the hind quarters and back straps. I only mix other meats in with the venison when I know that I'm making burgers (bacon), Sausage (pork), meatloaf/meatballs (beef). Otherwise, I mix nothing with it and either mix it later or use it for stew, chili, lasagna, etc.
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