Sitka Mountain Gear
Who does their own processing?
Whitetail Deer
Contributors to this thread:
Jasper 05-Oct-20
APauls 05-Oct-20
Ucsdryder 05-Oct-20
cnelk 05-Oct-20
midwest 05-Oct-20
Rob in VT 05-Oct-20
RIT 05-Oct-20
greg simon 05-Oct-20
pav 05-Oct-20
Knife2sharp 05-Oct-20
Blue Buck 05-Oct-20
Boreal 05-Oct-20
Bowfreak 05-Oct-20
Basil 05-Oct-20
Knife2sharp 05-Oct-20
Bentstick54 05-Oct-20
mrelite 05-Oct-20
Pete-pec 05-Oct-20
butcherboy 05-Oct-20
jdbbowhunter 05-Oct-20
sticksender 05-Oct-20
Ogoki 05-Oct-20
cnelk 05-Oct-20
TrapperKayak 05-Oct-20
stagetek 05-Oct-20
luckydraw 05-Oct-20
tobywon 05-Oct-20
Ogoki 05-Oct-20
butcherboy 05-Oct-20
Ucsdryder 05-Oct-20
cnelk 05-Oct-20
cnelk 05-Oct-20
PECO 05-Oct-20
Inshart 05-Oct-20
Twinetickler 05-Oct-20
cnelk 05-Oct-20
Ziek 05-Oct-20
Twinetickler 05-Oct-20
Rob in VT 05-Oct-20
Ziek 05-Oct-20
Kurt 05-Oct-20
Jasper 05-Oct-20
Ben 05-Oct-20
Rgiesey 05-Oct-20
BC 05-Oct-20
Woods Walker 05-Oct-20
cnelk 05-Oct-20
Grunt-N-Gobble 05-Oct-20
Twinetickler 05-Oct-20
IKE220 06-Oct-20
sitO 06-Oct-20
Dale06 06-Oct-20
Shawn 06-Oct-20
BigOzzie 06-Oct-20
Buckeye 06-Oct-20
Ok...Russ 06-Oct-20
Woods Walker 06-Oct-20
Ucsdryder 06-Oct-20
Wild Bill 06-Oct-20
cnelk 06-Oct-20
Woods Walker 06-Oct-20
cnelk 06-Oct-20
Pete-pec 06-Oct-20
sitO 06-Oct-20
sitO 06-Oct-20
ELKMAN 07-Oct-20
JSW 07-Oct-20
shooter 07-Oct-20
Ucsdryder 07-Oct-20
Ziek 07-Oct-20
butcherboy 07-Oct-20
kscatman76 08-Oct-20
From: Jasper
05-Oct-20

Jasper's embedded Photo
Jasper's embedded Photo
My Dad taught me how to process wild game when I was young and I’ve never paid to have it done. In addition to regular cuts I enjoy making several kinds of sausage and burger....jerky as well. I age the meat in a cooler with ice propped up with drain open for 5 to 7 days and the meat is always spot on!

From: APauls
05-Oct-20
Always. Same deal. It's always been a family affair. My daughter is now 6 she's been helping since she was 4. There's only a couple types of sausages I have made now. Everything else at home.

From: Ucsdryder
05-Oct-20

Ucsdryder's embedded Photo
Ucsdryder's embedded Photo
First year of doing it myself. So far I’ve done 2 elk and a mule deer buck. I’m about 600 dollars ahead already even with paying for materials. Only issue so far is freezer space!

From: cnelk
05-Oct-20

cnelk's embedded Photo
cnelk's embedded Photo
Like this?

From: midwest
05-Oct-20
Myself for several years now. Slowly built up my equipment list to where I now have everything I need to make pretty much anything I want in regards to burger, sausage, sticks, etc.

From: Rob in VT
05-Oct-20
Yes sir. Been doing it for years now.

From: RIT
05-Oct-20
I envy you guys who process your own kills. I think about it every year.

From: greg simon
05-Oct-20
100% I just killed a whitetail doe yesterday morning, so I got to practice!

From: pav
05-Oct-20
Took a job in a butcher shop back in high school. Spent a decade of my life butchering. Saved a 3ft section of cutting board left over from a new table the store purchased. Forty years later, still using that same cutting board. Always processed my own deer....but never so grateful to have acquired that skill until I started bowhunting the West and Alaska.

From: Knife2sharp
05-Oct-20
I typically let my deer hang 24-48 hours before skinning, quartering and deboning. I usually remove the tenderloins right away, put them in the fridge and eat them in a couple days. I butterfly the loins and freeze them. The remaining quarters and trim, I put in the fridge, covered with saran wrap or I keep them in those XL Ziplock storage bags and I process them over the course of a few days.

I've never let my meat age multiple days before I begin the processing. What does that really do to the meat? My venison tastes great, since I remove just about piece of white and silver skin on all my cuts, as well as my trimmings for grinding.

From: Blue Buck
05-Oct-20
Been doing it for about 40 years. Had brats made once at a well know local butcher shop and they came back gamey as can be. I've since learn to make all sorts of sausages and jerky. I need to make the pastrami recipe found here on bowsite.

From: Boreal
05-Oct-20

Boreal's embedded Photo
Boreal's embedded Photo
Boreal's embedded Photo
Boreal's embedded Photo
Boreal's embedded Photo
Boreal's embedded Photo
Boreal's embedded Photo
Boreal's embedded Photo
Always do my own.

From: Bowfreak
05-Oct-20
Yes. Been doing it for 20+ years.

From: Basil
05-Oct-20
Yes have always done mine. I like having the control especially these days with CWD etc....and no guarantees you will get your own meat back. I've had a couple of elk butchered due to time constraints and have been disappointed each time.

From: Knife2sharp
05-Oct-20
Couple years ago I brought a deer in to get processed because I didn't have the time. I was going to have them give me back the trimmings since I do my own summer sausage. I realized I could pay just a little more and they'd do the grinding. Well, I proceeded to make my batch of summer sausage, just adding 3lbs of lean ground pork to 12lbs of ground venison, along with the cure and seasonings (High Mountain) and smoke them. There ended up being being too much tallow from the deer that I had this slime between the meat and casings. It was still edible, but didn't taste nearly as good as when I use trimmings that I cut up and grind.

From: Bentstick54
05-Oct-20
Took my 1st deer to a processor 37 years ago and he did a terrible job. Have butchered everything since. Between family, friends, and my own probably several hundred. Steaks, roasts, burger, rope sausage, summer sausage, ground jerky, whole muscle jerky.

I age my deer for up to a week to 10 days in a refrigerator designated for that purpose because I feel as muscle tissue breaks down it tenderizes the meat, not so much because it makes it taste differently. JMHO

05-Oct-20
Haven't taken a critter to the locker in 15 years. We often end up freezing most of the meat in very large deboned chunks. Then around the holidays we thaw it out, get a few cases of beer, a jug of Pendleton and the hunters of the family process meat over a 2-3 day period. We vacuum seal everything. Burgers, steaks, roasts, sausage, snack sticks. We grind pork butts with the leaner meats. It's quite a process, but well worth it. Most we ever did was 3 elk, 3 deer, and 27 geese. Biggest deal is multiple vacuum sealers and a very large commercial grinder, and enough booze. Good luck! We order a good portion of our supplies off Walton's website.

From: mrelite
05-Oct-20
I do my own but it seems like it takes forever, then I start the grinding process which takes it to an eternity......but at least I am happy with the outcome, it sucks to pay someone a lot of money and be disappointed!

From: Pete-pec
05-Oct-20

Pete-pec's embedded Photo
Pete-pec's embedded Photo
Pete-pec's embedded Photo
Pete-pec's embedded Photo
Pete-pec's embedded Photo
Pete-pec's embedded Photo
Pete-pec's embedded Photo
Pete-pec's embedded Photo
Everything from burger to summer sausage to jerky. Nothing ever sees a saw in my freezer.

From: butcherboy
05-Oct-20
Yep, over 30 years now. ;)

From: jdbbowhunter
05-Oct-20
Been doing my own deer since I was 18. Was taught by oldtimers. Just part of hunting,IMO. Have cut up a few elk with friends also.

From: sticksender
05-Oct-20
Used to do it all myself. What I do now is I still steak out and package the tenderloins, backstraps, and sirloins myself, then I bone out the rest of the meat and pay a local butcher to grind, package and freeze. For a very modest fee, I find it to be well worth the nominal cost and a great time saver.

From: Ogoki
05-Oct-20
Like many of you ,processing is all part of the hunt. My meat done my way, to suit my wife and I .

While on the subject ,does anyone want to add a venison breakfast sausage recipe that they like ? Thank you in advance .

From: cnelk
05-Oct-20

cnelk's embedded Photo
cnelk's embedded Photo
Homemade Venison breakfast sausage seasoning for 5lbs of meat

From: TrapperKayak
05-Oct-20
All done myself. Only straight burger, stew meat, steaks and roasts. Nothing with anything added until time to eat, it lasts longest in the freezer that way IMO.

From: stagetek
05-Oct-20
I've always done my own. Started with our hunting party in '67.

From: luckydraw
05-Oct-20
Same as the rest - love making stuff after the holidays - also love the Pendleton - And I found a large enough grinder and a sausage stuffer makes process quicker and more enjoyable

From: tobywon
05-Oct-20
Do my own here as well. cnelk, you mixing fat with your breakfast sausage? If so, how much venison is in that 5 lbs.

From: Ogoki
05-Oct-20
Thank you Cnelk !! I really appreciate the recipe !!

From: butcherboy
05-Oct-20
I took an antelope in last year to my butcher. I had him cut all the steak muscles into 1-2 lb roasts. Added bacon ends to the trim and made green chille/cheddar summer sausage. The sausage was fantastic but I was disappointed in the amount of meat I got from an antelope.

My butcher is really busy now and gets cantankerous with spoiled, dirty, gut shot WG. He told me he hasn’t even had time to trim his beard and looks kinda duck dynasty. Doesn’t even recognize himself in the mirror now with all the gray whiskers! :0

From: Ucsdryder
05-Oct-20
Butcherboy, you can never trust those knuckle staggers! ;)

From: cnelk
05-Oct-20
I typically use 15% pork fat whenever I add for sausage

From: cnelk
05-Oct-20
I know a guy that adds relish to his breakfast sausage mixture

From: PECO
05-Oct-20
We do our own. We cut up all the meat in the lower legs, and mix with all the fat and scraps. We (my wife) then browns and cans those scraps. Sometimes she mixes a little rice with it. Excellent for the dog.

From: Inshart
05-Oct-20
Cnelk, kind of a silly question ..... how spicy is the sausage? My wife really likes breakfast sausage but her stomach can't handle "spicy".

If I cut back (or out) the cayenne, would that loose to much of the flavor?

Thanks, Bob

From: Twinetickler
05-Oct-20
Always have done our own. My sister in law is a vegan or so she thought. I fried up an elk tenderloin the other night with, onions, peppers a smidge of bacon grease and asked her to try it. She ended up eating nearly the entire plate. She still claims to be vegan, but is asking for some elk jerky now. She justifies it that it's organic. I told her yes that's true, and its damn good! She agreed.

From: cnelk
05-Oct-20
@inshart - I’ve had it without the cayenne pepper and it’s still tasty.

From: Ziek
05-Oct-20

Ziek's embedded Photo
Cow moose quarters.
Ziek's embedded Photo
Cow moose quarters.
We've doing our own since the 70's. Used to do our own sausage and even a corned roast or two. Now we use Steve's Meat market for their Italian sausage. We used to have a repurposed fridge for hanging quarters, but it was kinda short for elk. Several years ago we bought a freezer/fridge. The full height can be either a fridge or freezer. I added a hanging bar to it. We can even hang moose quarters with the shanks removed. Most of the year we use it for an extra fridge.

From: Twinetickler
05-Oct-20
how did you add that hanging bar? I'm lacking that in mine.

From: Rob in VT
05-Oct-20

Rob in VT's embedded Photo
Rob in VT's embedded Photo
That’s organic!

From: Ziek
05-Oct-20
I just used 1" steel bar (same as I use in pipe clamps) and metal closet rod hangars. The interior of the fridge is sheet metal, so a couple of short SS sheet metal screws will hold a lot of weight. Their are no forces to pull the screws out once the bar is in place; just sheer forces straight down. As you can see it will hold a lot of weight. I could have placed it higher but it's just under the top shelf (that's obviously not installed), that I often use for loins and such. I had already processed the tender loins, loins and shanks when the photo was taken.

From: Kurt
05-Oct-20
Always process my own...for 50 yrs. We enjoy the day spent cutting, vacuum sealing, grinding burger (100% lean wild game). We save non-edible trimmings for the dog and single grind it. Excessive tallow goes to the birds. A bit of hair and gross blood shot gets dumped. Typically the bones stay in the field at the killsite. The dog does get leg bones if the pack out is reasonable.

From: Jasper
05-Oct-20
Love venison and wild hog breakfast sausage! 25% pork fat or bacon ends and a pkg of Old Plantation #10 seasoning mix (Amazon has it). Follow the directions on the pkg exactly. I also add some pepper flakes for a little kick! None better.....

From: Ben
05-Oct-20
Had my first cut up at a locker and swear I didn't get mine back. Then for the next 47 years I've done everything I've shot. Great to know the well cooled and cared for animal you are eating is the one you took special care for after shooting it.

From: Rgiesey
05-Oct-20
Used to cut my own then my wife fired me because she was better at it. That has worked out also. Started in the 70s

From: BC
05-Oct-20
Have done some but I'm still a hack. I just retired so I'll have more time now. A lot of good info from you guys, thanks.

From: Woods Walker
05-Oct-20
Like Jasper, I was taught how to butcher game as a boy. I've been doing it now for over half a century. I wouldn't have it any other way. For me it's just as much part of the hunt as the scouting, stalking and shooting.

As a related side note, when the COVID scare first got started, there was a run on many items at the grocery store, ground meat being one of them. I was at the local grocery store chain, and wanted to get some burger. I went to the meat section, and there were several other people looking for burger and there was none. When they saw me looking they told me the situation. I said I was going to make chili, and then proceeded to put a roast in my cart. They asked how I was going to make chili with a roast, and I told them that it was no big deal, I have a sharp knife and a meat grinder. They were dumbfounded!!!!

From: cnelk
05-Oct-20
Anyone else having trouble getting canning supplies this fall? Seems as though its now a fad and everyone is doing it.

05-Oct-20
I've cut up my own for probably the last 15yrs maybe more. I don't make my own products because there is an excellent place locally that makes some great stuff with your own meat. Not mixed in with others. It's always been good and worth the $ to me.

From: Twinetickler
05-Oct-20
Thanks Ziek! I'll have a project for Saturday. Yes Brad we couldn't find mason jars or pectin for our jam. Barely have been able to find yeast for bread now. Stupid virus

From: IKE220
06-Oct-20
Over 30 years ago took my first deer to be processed. When I opened up a package to cook, I picked deer hair off. I have cut up every animal since then. I have a way better quality control process when packaging.

From: sitO
06-Oct-20

sitO's embedded Photo
sitO's embedded Photo
sitO's embedded Photo
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sitO's embedded Photo
Yep

From: Dale06
06-Oct-20
Have not done so in 25 plus years.

From: Shawn
06-Oct-20
I have done 3 in the last 4 days. Next one will be a give away. I gotta keep killing does as I saw 53 from my stand yesterday but I can only use about 4 a year. I may take the next one and have summer sausage and hotdogs made. Shawn

From: BigOzzie
06-Oct-20
I was going to respond, "i do" until i started seeing the photos

I cut mine up, lets go with that.

oz

From: Buckeye
06-Oct-20
I always have, hope to have a go at making breakfast sausage this year .

From: Ok...Russ
06-Oct-20
Jasper, didn't think anyone else used Legg's Old Plantation seasonings. I've got their chorizo and hot link mix in the freezer. Chorizo has too much nutmeg or cloves for our liking but hot link is good. Love the #10 too just hadn't made breakfast sausage myself lately(don't have the butcher horror stories like others).

Buckeye, I'd suggest the A.C. Legg Old Plantation spice mix that Jasper mentions.

To get back on topic, I don't process my own but I have in the past. I do make snack sticks, summer sausage and jerky using what I get back from the butcher.

From: Woods Walker
06-Oct-20
This thread needs a keyboard slobber warning!!

From: Ucsdryder
06-Oct-20
Summer sausage question.

This year they were fairly crumbly. In the past they were more like a salami. Did I under mix? Over mix? Wrong moisture content?

From: Wild Bill
06-Oct-20
I butcher it myself, to my liking. I stopped making steaks and such and just vacuum seal and freeze large chunks. I label the cuts by where they are from on the deer.

From: cnelk
06-Oct-20
I just spent $75 on the LEM website getting casings and seasonings. Cmon November!

From: Woods Walker
06-Oct-20
"I butcher it myself, to my liking. I stopped making steaks and such and just vacuum seal and freeze large chunks. I label the cuts by where they are from on the deer."

THIS!! ^^^^ Saves time, helps reduce freezer burn, and it gives you the option of doing anything from steaks, to roasts to burger.

From: cnelk
06-Oct-20
^ I do same. Cut and freeze bigger chunks of meat. Then thaw and determine what I’m going to do with it. Can it. Grind it. Steak it. Etc.

From: Pete-pec
06-Oct-20
Ucsdryder, I'd guess not enough fat. Venison is so lean, that I add 30% pork butt to mine, and could easily add more fat. I've made some I'd call crumbly, that was too lean....and too dry because of it.

From: sitO
06-Oct-20
I would agree with the fat content, also the "binders" in the mix.

In Wichita we have a company called Walton's..."everything but the meat". They sell all over the world and have a series of videos called "Meatgistics" on Youtube and their website/Facebook. Their stuff is worth a look!

From: sitO
06-Oct-20

sitO's Link
Here's a link to their website...

From: ELKMAN
07-Oct-20
Absolutely. Have been my whole life. Wouldn't even consider letting another man touch my meat... ;-)

From: JSW
07-Oct-20
Yep.

From: shooter
07-Oct-20
What size grinders is everyone using? I hear all the time to 'get the best grinder you can afford'. Well, I just checked and I can get a 575 watt grinder for about $80 or I can get several others priced all the way up to $500. I expect that I'll only be cutting up 1-2 deer/year.

Forgive me if this is hijacking the thread. It just looks like a lot of experience talking right here.

From: Ucsdryder
07-Oct-20
Shooter, I used my cabelas 90 dollar grinder for an elk this year and my buddies .75hp LEM for a different elk. Honestly, the 90 dollar one worked 90% as well. The ONLY difference was I had to cut them slightly smaller because the tube you drop the meat into is smaller, and it was 10-20% slower. So 2 hours of grinding might be 2 hours and 15 minutes. For 1-2 animals it would be hard to justify unless you figured you would be using it for the next 40 years. Then cost doesn’t really matter.

From: Ziek
07-Oct-20
We've been using the grinder attachment on the same KitchenAid mixer since about 1979. However, I think that it's no longer being made by KitchenAid, and the quality has gone down.

From: butcherboy
07-Oct-20
John, answering your summer sausage question. Like others have said, I would add more pork fat or pork meat/fat combo. You can also add a binder. I would also grind it once coarse and other 2-3 times fine. It needs to be sticky/mushy. It’s called extracting the protein. It’s usually done with a mixer grinder mixing it till it gets tacky then it’s run through the grinder. The other option is using a bowl chopper. Best way without these machines and only a grinder is to grind multiple times. Add cold water after it’s ground coarse and add your seasoning at this time then start grinding multiple times. If you don’t add the cold water then add chipped or crushed ice. If you add cheese or jalapeños, add them right before the last grind.

From: kscatman76
08-Oct-20
To add to Sito's post about Waltons (which is amazing and they are great people) we always used powdered milk as a binder in summer sausage until I found a product that Walton's sells called "sure gel"......it really holds the moisture in well! Makes for great summer sausage.

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