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Breakdown of a Deer Rear Quarter
Whitetail Deer
Contributors to this thread:
tobywon 05-Dec-23
fuzzy 05-Dec-23
JohnMC 05-Dec-23
Timex? 05-Dec-23
MA-PAdeerslayer 05-Dec-23
tobywon 05-Dec-23
Grey Ghost 05-Dec-23
Corax_latrans 05-Dec-23
Timex? 05-Dec-23
Zbone 05-Dec-23
CBFROMND 05-Dec-23
APauls 05-Dec-23
WhattheFOC 05-Dec-23
scentman 05-Dec-23
Corax_latrans 05-Dec-23
fuzzy 05-Dec-23
scentman 05-Dec-23
butcherboy 05-Dec-23
WhattheFOC 05-Dec-23
SteveBNY 05-Dec-23
butcherboy 05-Dec-23
Grey Ghost 05-Dec-23
Bohunr 06-Dec-23
Timex? 06-Dec-23
shade mt 06-Dec-23
Nomad 06-Dec-23
fuzzy 06-Dec-23
fuzzy 06-Dec-23
Timex? 06-Dec-23
tobywon 06-Dec-23
fuzzy 06-Dec-23
Grey Ghost 06-Dec-23
tobywon 06-Dec-23
WhattheFOC 06-Dec-23
Zbone 06-Dec-23
butcherboy 06-Dec-23
INbowdude 06-Dec-23
Brun 06-Dec-23
Mint 07-Dec-23
Murph 07-Dec-23
Timex? 08-Dec-23
fuzzy 08-Dec-23
Jeff Durnell 08-Dec-23
Grey Ghost 08-Dec-23
KsRancher 08-Dec-23
butcherboy 08-Dec-23
Grey Ghost 08-Dec-23
Timex? 08-Dec-23
Fuzzy 08-Dec-23
Grey Ghost 08-Dec-23
Jeff Durnell 08-Dec-23
WhattheFOC 08-Dec-23
Grey Ghost 08-Dec-23
Jeff Durnell 08-Dec-23
Ambush 08-Dec-23
Grey Ghost 08-Dec-23
KsRancher 08-Dec-23
Ambush 08-Dec-23
Grey Ghost 08-Dec-23
butcherboy 08-Dec-23
Murph 08-Dec-23
Murph 08-Dec-23
Grey Ghost 08-Dec-23
From: tobywon
05-Dec-23

tobywon's Link
I thought this video was pretty cool and showed how simple breaking down a rear quarter can be as well as identifying the cuts. Certainly not new to many here, but maybe the approach is a bit different by taking out that femur bone first. I’m certainly not that fast and tend to take cuts off the bone as I go by following the seams. I’m going to try this method on the next one. I have no affiliation with these guys, but do follow them and their posts are pretty informative.

From: fuzzy
05-Dec-23
I "roll" the femur out first, unless I'm just making ground meat. Makes it easier (for me) to break out the muscle groups.

From: JohnMC
05-Dec-23
Those bearded butchers put out some good info on cutting meat

From: Timex?
05-Dec-23
I do the opposite, I cut along the line between the top round & sirloin, open it up separate the muscles & remove the bone from the sirloin last.

05-Dec-23
I started the way a couple years ago. Before I had always broke down the muscle groups right off the leg. Much easier this way.

From: tobywon
05-Dec-23
Agreed John. Timex, I have been doing the same thing for years, find the seam at the top round and work from there. The method in this video makes it look easier to just take the bone out and pull/separate seams. No right or wrong way to do it, just different.

From: Grey Ghost
05-Dec-23

Grey Ghost's embedded Photo
Grey Ghost's embedded Photo
If I'm processing whole quarters in my garage, I cut the individual muscle groups off one by one instead of rolling the bone out first. If I'm de-boning in the field, I cut the bone out like in the video. 6 one half dozen the other. They both get the job done.

Matt

05-Dec-23
That’s some very tidy work, Matt! Well done….

I figure God has already done most of the work, so I follow an obvious seam down to the bone, detach everything all the way around and then use the seams from there. Always the same way so that any skills that I’ve developed doing deer at home will have a better chance of being with me when I’m helping break down a bull in the boonies. I haven’t done a deer for a bit, but it came back to me pretty quickly on my nephew’s bull this year.

From: Timex?
05-Dec-23
Gg....... The cut to the right is probably my favorite on a deer other than the inner loins.

I slice it in 1/2 horizontally with a fillet knife. So ya have two steaks the same size as in pic roughly 1" thick. Put in simple flank steak marinade, oil, spg, onion, wine or beer or worstshire or ??? In fridge for a few hours then on smoking hot grill , then cover & rest & slice thin cross grain.

Most will disagree but I like the grainy meat better than backstraps.

From: Zbone
05-Dec-23
That video is slick, thanks for sharing...

From: CBFROMND
05-Dec-23
Timex i do the same thing only marinade carne asada style for tacos! This thread is making me realize I have been messing around to much with taking my time to shoot a deer... I better get cracking!

From: APauls
05-Dec-23
If I've got the deer hanging in the garage I take the rear quarter right off the bone while it is hanging. Otherwise my deer falls down....(hanging from the back legs)

From: WhattheFOC
05-Dec-23
Adam - the meat tastes better if you fatten them up with a little corn before the slaughter. Pro tip from Saskatchewan.

From: scentman
05-Dec-23
For some reason two things in life I could never grasp... keeping score at bowling and deer processing... I only go to lanes with the automatic scoring screen, and my buddy Ron the butcher... no stress;0)

05-Dec-23
If you have a buddy who is a good butcher and whom you can trust to give you back what you brought him, even I am not too cheap to pay a fair price.

I paid a guy one time to butcher a deer for me after I moved out here; he used a bandsaw, there were ticks, bugs and hair in the zip-lock bags with the cuts, and his price went up $20 between the time I dropped it off and picked it up. It was also the smallest deer I’ve ever shot, so it’s not like I was paying by the pound….

But there’s a lot of satisfaction in DIY. Not gonna argue with you about the Bowling thing, though….. I know more about processing.

From: fuzzy
05-Dec-23
Apauls I Sometimes do that if I'm not putting it in the cooler to age. I like to age it on the bone.

From: scentman
05-Dec-23

scentman's embedded Photo
scentman's embedded Photo
Corax, I also buy my firewood from my bud and was shooting the breeze while he was butchering a deer... the dude is bald and wears a head net and gloves while processing... he approved of my pic.

From: butcherboy
05-Dec-23
I’ve seen a few of the bearded butchers videos. They are nicely done and informative but I wouldn’t call them amazing. Thousands of butchers out there doing the same thing in many different ways. The difference is they were smart enough to commercialize themselves and make YouTube videos. The rest of us remain poor dumb butchers! Lol

From: WhattheFOC
05-Dec-23
We’ve been doing our own for years. Got all the equipment - and my cousin an hour south has a cooler.

Butchers around here say they have so much domestic business that they don’t want the wild work. And their prices prove it.

From: SteveBNY
05-Dec-23

SteveBNY's Link
They have a playlist of 25 different videos on different aspects of deer processing - even cooking tips. Great resource - I have cut up north of 100 deer and still learned a lot of tips watching them

From: butcherboy
05-Dec-23
Exactly Trevor! Same reason I stopped processing WG 4 years ago.

From: Grey Ghost
05-Dec-23
Timex, my father used to cut the entire hinds into 1" bone-in slices, so each cut had a piece of each muscle group. The grainy section was always my favorite too.

Matt

From: Bohunr
06-Dec-23
corax,why would you take a deer to a processor with ticks,bugs,and hair on it.

From: Timex?
06-Dec-23
Gg.... my father did the same. Bone in eye round steaks. Freeze the hindquarter & cross cut it on a bandsaw.

From: shade mt
06-Dec-23
have done it both ways..

I usually pack my deer out now, and its easier to debone right off the bone and simply separate the cuts...i do not quarter and i gut last to remove heart, liver etc...

i hunt large state forest, often far from the truck...no more dragging for me....and around here.....we don't use ATV's.

But yea if i drag them out and skin and butcher at home...i'll do it like the video.

From: Nomad
06-Dec-23
Yup, been doing home processing & sausage making for over 30 years now. If you think the equipment to do so is too expensive it's not. Especially if you get multiple deer every year. The money you save more than makes up for it in the long run, maybe even the short run. You know it's your meat & how it was handled. Plus you get the added satisfaction when people tell you how good your end product is.

I watched their video on hog butchering a couple years ago when we got a good deal on 4 hogs. Went real quick & had great cuts.

From: fuzzy
06-Dec-23
https://www.argusleader.com/story/news/2023/12/05/finding-processing-for-big-game-tricky-in-south-dakota-hunting-butchers/71804583007/

From: fuzzy
06-Dec-23
I haven't paid for deer processing in so long I didn't realize how tough it was to get it done.

From: Timex?
06-Dec-23
Same as fuzzy, been doing my own for over 40 years. Probably the best advice I could give 1st timers is to buy the best grinder one can afford & even then unless it's really clean meat ( no silver skin) I usually double grind , 3/8 hole plate first, then 3/16 hole plate 2nd.

I've burnt up or stripped the gears in enough grinders over the years that the little bit of extra time doesn't much matter to me.

Plus if your doing any kind of a blend, double grinding gives much more uniform results.

From: tobywon
06-Dec-23
Same here been doing our own butchering for many years. First couple deer when I did use a butcher, he would bandsaw the back leg for bone in steaks. I never liked that as there was bone dust on the meat and he never trimmed the fat and silverskin. I also felt that those separate muscle groups all cooked differently, so one may be done to my liking while the others were not as good. Maybe that's just me or my cooking back then though.

I am very picky with my trimming, which I know not only affects my yield, but takes me longer to butcher. I don't want any garbage left on the meat and don't want it in my grind as well. I do the same, grind on big plate then small one. I've had my $99 Cabelas grinder for many years and it still keeps going, probably because I'm not running large amounts of silverskin or junk through it.

From: fuzzy
06-Dec-23
tobywon, I always put the (clean) trim and silverskin in the burger/sausage grind. I think it makes patties hold better (an issue with game meat) and doesn't harm flavor. If your blades are sharp and plates true it will grind fine. I've got a 22 YO 3/4 HP Cabelas grinder that's probably ground a couple tons of pork and a least twice that much deer, moose and bear

From: Grey Ghost
06-Dec-23
Butcherboy, when we moved to our current place 23 years ago, there were 3 local butchers who would take wild game. Now there is none. I can't say I blame them after seeing the way some hunters handle their kills. Butchering is all part of the hunting process for me, but that's how I was raised. There are times I wish I had a trusted local butcher, but the processing I've paid for in the past was never up to the standards my father taught me.

Timex, my father didn't freeze his hinds before cutting the bone-in eye round steaks. He'd slice all the way around the bone, then cut the bone with a traditional hand meat saw. My job was to trim the perimeter of the cut, and clean every spec of bone dust off. Fortunately the hand saw didn't create very much dust. I stopped doing it that way because it leaves all the inner connecting tissue on the cut. It takes longer to separate and trim the individual muscle groups, but it makes better table fair, IMO.

Matt

From: tobywon
06-Dec-23
Thanks fuzzy, good to know.

From: WhattheFOC
06-Dec-23
We keep two piles of ‘trim’. One pile is fairly free of silver skin (this one goes to sausage). The other pile has more silver skin in it - this one is packaged as stew meat. The braising of stew makes the silver skin melt away.

Between this tweak to our ‘system’, and the addition of osso buco to my resume - we spend a lot less time trying to make our trim perfect.

From: Zbone
06-Dec-23
I'm not messing with sausage and mine looks similar to GG's in the tray, I cut every piece of white off...

From: butcherboy
06-Dec-23
I processed WG for about 30 years and saw everything imaginable and then some. Processed a lot of nice clean, well taken care of critters as well. Definitely more meat yield on those ones. CWD regulations have made it harder to process game as well. Rendering companies don’t want WG bones, spinal columns, heads, etc. Dealing with the smell, blood shot, dirty animals is just not worth it. I still make jerky and sausages if customers bring in their clean, trimmed meat ready to grind. It’s never clean though.

From: INbowdude
06-Dec-23
Watching the video, I wonder how long the meat was aged before he butchered it? I've never aged a deer more than 3 days so I'm guessing it's older than that. Any thoughts?

From: Brun
06-Dec-23
INbowdude. Judging by the thickness of the crust on that deer in the video I'd guess it aged around a week. I like to age mine at least twice that long and the crust is always thicker and darker.

From: Mint
07-Dec-23
I hang my deer to butcher so I remove along the seams. The front shoulders I use for burger, sausage, snack sticks and jerky along with all the trim.

From: Murph
07-Dec-23
How many guys know how to skin to leave the flank on a deer and not take all the rose meat off, I have been around a lot of accomplished hunters over 30 years and have rarely seen someone skin a deer the way a butcher would, I think legitimately most guys were never taught the right way, my grandpa was a butcher and died when my dad was only 14 yrs old but he still had it instilled in him and he taught me the right way of doing it way before you tube days but if you don’t know today or don’t do it the right way shame on you the resources are their get it right !!!

From: Timex?
08-Dec-23
Murph...... Not even sure what your talking about. Sure I know where the flank is on the ribs down towards the brisket.......but you'd have to almost "purposely" remove it along with the hide.

Rose meat ? You talking about the 1/16" layer of meat on a hide that's a pita to get off when fleshing a hide. ???

For me the most difficult part of skinning Is the lower part of the neck. I like neck roasts & skin em down to the ears.

From: fuzzy
08-Dec-23
Yeah you lost me too Murph

From: Jeff Durnell
08-Dec-23
Back farther. Flank goes from the ribs back to the hind quarter and covers the abdomen. Rose meat goes from the flank to the shoulder area. Some of one or both can come off with the hide depending on how it's removed.

You'd be surprised also at how many hunters have no knowledge of the tenderloins, or destroy them while field dressing. I know, crazy, but I've seen it too many times. Shame.

From: Grey Ghost
08-Dec-23

Grey Ghost's embedded Photo
Grey Ghost's embedded Photo
Murph, I know exactly what you are talking about. And you are correct, very few hunters know how to leave the flank on.

Matt

From: KsRancher
08-Dec-23
GG x2. I know exactly what he is talking about. That's some really good skinning Matt. There are VERY few deer I have ever seen skinned that keep it on like you did.

From: butcherboy
08-Dec-23
I know how. Lol

From: Grey Ghost
08-Dec-23
Rusty, I watched a Meateater episode about processing deer. I cringed when I saw him hang his deer by the neck, attach a rope to the neck hide, then rip the hide off with a UTV. Of course, the entire flank came off with the hide. I'm pretty sure my Father rolled over in his grave when he saw that too.

Matt

From: Timex?
08-Dec-23
Yall have a recipe for flank meat,,, seams to me I tried making jerky with it once & extremely tough. Always goes in the grinder.

From: Fuzzy
08-Dec-23
Timex roll that flank up with some bacon strips, tie it off and slow smoke it with wood.

From: Grey Ghost
08-Dec-23

Grey Ghost's embedded Photo
Grey Ghost's embedded Photo
The other thing I don't see most hunters do is half their kills. My father insisted it helped cool the meat down faster and made them easier to handle when butchering. I've tried doing it with a sawzall, but found it was difficult to stay centered on the spine, so I do it like Dad did with hand meat saw.

Matt

From: Jeff Durnell
08-Dec-23
I prefer to leave them whole, but I've come to really appreciate the Sawzall for removing spare ribs and baby backs. Takes just seconds.

From: WhattheFOC
08-Dec-23
I can understand the Rosemeat staying on the hide - but the flank?? Really?? Even Stevie Wonder skins the hide from the flank.

From: Grey Ghost
08-Dec-23

Grey Ghost's embedded Photo
Grey Ghost's embedded Photo
It looks like Stevie Wonder skinned these deer.

From: Jeff Durnell
08-Dec-23
Yep. I wouldn't be surprised if Stevie Wonder gutted and skinned some of the deer I've butchered. I've seen where they destroyed the tenderloins while gutting numerous times... even removed a tenderloin with the guts. I don't know how or why. Didn't ask.

From: Ambush
08-Dec-23
I remove the whole flank in one piece. Even doing “gutless” you have to open the cavity up to get the tenderloins out, then further if you save heart, liver and kidneys.

I usually end up quartering in the field. I find the easiest is to set the deer up on its knees like for pics. Run the knife from antlers to tail then take the hide as far as you can on both sides. Take the back straps off with the deer up right. Put the hide back up on one side then lay the carcass over. The guts go to the bottom and it’s easy to cut the flank more than half way around. Finish skinning that side. Flop it over, skin, then cut the other side of the flank loose. Roll the guts out and get the tenderloins. You now have easy, clear access to the diaphragm and organs without feeling like you’re sticking your arms into a bloody elephant uterus.

Now does anyone cut bone in (or boneless) prime rib roast from large bodied deer?

From: Grey Ghost
08-Dec-23
That's interesting that you prefer to quarter in the field, Ambush. I avoid doing that, if at all possible. I much prefer to gut them in the field, then hang and skin. It's so much cleaner for me.

Matt

From: KsRancher
08-Dec-23
I agree. I like to get them out whole if possible. Just for the fact of keeping it clean. I like doing it in the field so that the guts, hide and ribs/spine stay. But I would prefer to keep it clean. My dad's elk this year was rough. By the time we got it in game bags it was getting a lot of stuff on it. With it being a shithole spot and dark with a lot of brush, it got dirty. Not to mention my dad tripping with a rear quarter and falling down the dang mountain. Bruising his ribs up and making the rear look like you rolled it down to the vehicle.

But all the meat came out great. Just took some extra time. 180lbs of boneless trimmed elk meat is hard to beat

From: Ambush
08-Dec-23
Not often I can get a vehicle close to any animals I shoot. We got good at keeping meat clean after many moose packed out on our backs.

The elk this year had to be back packed out. The mule deer was a rare exception, but I still pieced it in the field. A six foot square of Tyvek and snow keeps meat clean. All the mess stays in the bush and gets cleaned up in twenty four hours. But I don’t live in typical whitetail country either.

From: Grey Ghost
08-Dec-23
Good point, Rod. I kill most of my deer on my property, or nearby. I'm usually able to get my tractor within dragging distance, so I just roll them into the loader bucket and haul them to my barn to hang and skin. I haven't had that luxury with many of the elk I've killed, so field quartering has usually been necessary.

Matt

From: butcherboy
08-Dec-23
I skinned and elk on the ground once by splitting the hide down the back bone and skinning it down to the brisket. Once. Never ever again. I always skin like I would a beef on a cradle. Skin it right down to the backbone and then pull the hide out, cut a few holes in it and stake it to the ground. Much easier to remove a shoulder by cutting under the armpit and the hind quarter lays right out and it can be taken off from the inside side of the hip straight down the socket and then back up towards the back. I’ll take the whole flank and all the rib meat in one big piece. Roll the guts out and pull the tenderloins. Roll the whole carcass over onto the stretched hide and now do the other side.

From: Murph
08-Dec-23
Perfect specimens Grey Ghost nicely done, those hides will be ready for salt

From: Murph
08-Dec-23

Murph's embedded Photo
Murph's embedded Photo

From: Grey Ghost
08-Dec-23
Very nice work, Murph!! You nailed the spine cut on the one on the left. Looks like a couple of well-placed shots, too.

Matt

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