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Do you process your own deer?

Old 12-12-2007, 11:08 AM
  #31  
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Default RE: Do you process your own deer?

It will surely take more than 2 or 3 hours to do the job right. More like 5 or 6, but I would never take a deer to the processors. You might get back somebody elses deer who was lying out in the field a day or two before it was even gutted. I will agree with the person who said that making only jerky or sausage out of a deer is a complete waste. Venison can provide some really good tablefare and a whole lot better can be made of it instead of jerky or sausage.
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Old 12-12-2007, 11:19 AM
  #32  
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Default RE: Do you process your own deer?

It cost me $250 to process it this year.
I can buy half a cow for that.
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Old 12-12-2007, 11:51 AM
  #33  
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Default RE: Do you process your own deer?

For those of you that have your own grinders, do you have any words of advice to some of the rest of us who have been thinking about starting to grind our own?

I know I could easily make hamburger, but how hard is it to make decent sausage? Do you buy pork or beef fat to add to the deer meat? At $50 for 24lbs of sausage I could justify a $200 grinder if it wasn't a ton of work to make sausage. I would expect to be processing a couple deer per year and 2 or 3 pigs each year for many years to come so if it is something that is doable then I should probably start doing my own.

My only experience is with a hand grinder growing up as a kid and not adding any beef or pork fat to it and we ended up with a very big mess that didn't taste very good.
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Old 12-12-2007, 12:37 PM
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Default RE: Do you process your own deer?

I process all my own, takes me roughly 8 hours per deer. That includes skinning, cut, wrap and clean up. It takes me longer than most because I keep shoulder and neck roasts, and I keep the ribs. The ribs are awesome if you pre cook them, rendering all the fat away. They make good soup too. Someone mentioned "frys". I label them "tips". What we're talking about is clear tender meat from the hindquarters that is too small for steaks. I usually have about 2 packages from a hindquarter. They are awesome for stir fry, fajitas, stroganof, stew, etc. For the rest, I have a $70 dollar kitchen grinder that works just fine. I make hamburger by adding justa little bit of beef suet, run through twice. I make fresh"plate sausage" by adding pork, maybe 25%, and spices (there are many recipies avaialble).Run that through twice also, wrap and freeze, I don't do casings or smoking, just use the sausage as you would pork sausage.An average deer produces about 15 lbs of trim to grind, that is after I keep the roasts, etc.I just use freezer paper and duct tape. I'm not a fan of those vaccum sealers, they're expensive, and I've seen the seals fail a lot.
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Old 12-12-2007, 12:45 PM
  #35  
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Default RE: Do you process your own deer?

I just had a deer processed and it cost me $37.50 for the back-straps cut and the rest grounded. Pretty good price to me.
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Old 12-12-2007, 03:05 PM
  #36  
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Default RE: Do you process your own deer?

I do most of it myself. I have found some good jerky reciepes that I make myself. The only thing I don't do is sausage. I'll take a frount shoulder in to have that done.
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Old 12-13-2007, 07:26 PM
  #37  
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Default RE: Do you process your own deer?

I learned the hard way this year..I took the whole deer to the processor and got a huge bill. The meat is great but I think that I can do it a lot cheaper
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Old 12-13-2007, 10:54 PM
  #38  
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Default RE: Do you process your own deer?

I process my own. I do all my own jerky andsausage(Ipay othersfor larger tubes like summer sausage, etc). The process is time consuming but rewarding and I encourage people all the time to give it a go. Honestly it isn't as difficult as you may think and no matter how good you are you always have a trim pile(grind) so nothing is ever wasted or ruined.

I also custom cut as a sideline, my average net income is 20/hr not a real cash cow but it has been a way to pay for better tools and I do enjoy it. BTW my dad and uncle were both butchers so I had an earlier start then most.


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Old 12-13-2007, 11:20 PM
  #39  
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Default RE: Do you process your own deer?

ORIGINAL: npaden

For those of you that have your own grinders, do you have any words of advice to some of the rest of us who have been thinking about starting to grind our own?

I know I could easily make hamburger, but how hard is it to make decent sausage? Do you buy pork or beef fat to add to the deer meat? At $50 for 24lbs of sausage I could justify a $200 grinder if it wasn't a ton of work to make sausage. I would expect to be processing a couple deer per year and 2 or 3 pigs each year for many years to come so if it is something that is doable then I should probably start doing my own.

My only experience is with a hand grinder growing up as a kid and not adding any beef or pork fat to it and we ended up with a very big mess that didn't taste very good.
As far as a grinder I suggest a model that has steel gears, reverse and 1/3hp min. While the cheapers ones will work they do take longer which often leads to a dust collector. With all grinders you get sausage stuffing tubes for stuffing the mix into casings. The grinder is a useful tool beyond just sausage for a home processor such as ground meat and ground jerky.

As far as sausage you can use beef or pork. I prefer a 50/50 mix meaning 50%trim and 50% fat. I make most of my sausage 70 vension to 30 pork/beef. I also prefer pork to beef in sausage, though freezer life is shortened with pork - 6mos max before it starts to turn. Beef will get you 12 mos.The making of sausage itself you will need to spice and mix (hardest part). Many receipes/pre-mix's exist for sausage but getting the desired taste for you is the tough part. The best way is to make test patties and do a couple of small batches. This way nothing special is really required, as you can hand mix, etc. Sasuage mixers make the pork/venison and spice blendingeasier. Another cost butas long as you keep your batches reasonable not a requirement to good sausage either. Personally I make 30lbs batches so not to get sick of one style, tastes better fresh and venison keeps longer prior to mixing. Once you have a formula you like, can nowstuff for uncooked sausage with nothing more required. If you want to smoke for flavour or fully cookedthen an additonal investmentof a smoker(if you don't already own one). Tip watch the garlic when making larger batches, it gets stronger with freezer age.
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Old 12-14-2007, 11:05 AM
  #40  
 
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Default RE: Do you process your own deer?

With our set up, it takes a little over two hours from field-dressed deer to packages ready for the freezer.

We also use double wrap - saran wrap first, thenfreezer paper/tape - on the bulky roasts, as well as a vacumm sealer for burger patties (try adding 10%-20% bacon - the cheapest, fattiest bacon you can find- to your burgers for a tasty alternative!) and bacon wrapped butterfly chops. Either has kept venison from freezer burn for a surprisingly (sometimes embarassing) long time.

Another tip we have found useful - chill the fat and grinder if possible before grinding burger or especially sausage. That will keep the fat from warming up as fast during the grinding process and smearing/clogging up the grinder.


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