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Question for the hunters about processing your own meat

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Question for the hunters about processing your own meat

Old 10-25-2017, 04:46 PM
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Default Question for the hunters about processing your own meat

Around here, bow season is 3 months long, with firearm season about mid way through bow season. I usually kill two deer, and my brother kills one or two a year, and we have been butchering 2-3 times through the season, and it's starting to get annoying butchering and cleaning up so many times to process one to two deer at a time.
How do you or others you know keep the harvested animals and have one "big" butchering process at the end of the season? I've not harvested anything yet this year (not much time to hunt yet), and we are thinking about after dressing and quartering up the deer, cutting out whatever steaks/roasts we might want, and just chunking out the rest big enough to fit into a grinder and freezing it all until season is over, thawing out the chunks, and processing like usual.
My only concern with that is the length of time it will take to thaw out possibly four deer worth of cubed (quite large) meat, without the outer chunks going bad before we can get all the pieces apart. We are currently using a chest type freezer, which freezes pretty hard, so I will be sure to turn it on a higher (or lower?) setting so it's doesn't get quite as cold, but still freezes.
What are your thoughts, and how do you do it?
Old 10-25-2017, 05:58 PM
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We don't freeze venison twice. Grind when cool, but fresh.. thaw when ready to cook.
Old 10-25-2017, 05:58 PM
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I don't know anybody that "holds" deer like that. Up on the farm in WI we just hunt rifle season, which is a damn short 9 days. We gut them and hang them in the barn or shed but the first few days nobody really bothers with processing them. After a few days we'll do a morning hunt, process one or two, grab a bite to eat, hunt the afternoon, and then process one or maybe two before we start drinking and BSing. We run an assembly line, one guy skins them, my uncle butchers them, and the rest clean the silver skin and vacuum bag them. I'm the FNG so I'm usually cutting silver skin or fetching water, vacuum bags, etc.

If you're going to grind the bulk of it I'd say your plan is pretty good, just use quart bags instead of gallon bags. You'll waste more bags but that's the trade-off for not doing it multiple times.
Old 10-25-2017, 06:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Craash420 View Post
I don't know anybody that "holds" deer like that. Up on the farm in WI we just hunt rifle season, which is a damn short 9 days. We gut them and hang them in the barn or shed but the first few days nobody really bothers with processing them. After a few days we'll do a morning hunt, process one or two, grab a bite to eat, hunt the afternoon, and then process one or maybe two before we start drinking and BSing. We run an assembly line, one guy skins them, my uncle butchers them, and the rest clean the silver skin and vacuum bag them. I'm the FNG so I'm usually cutting silver skin or fetching water, vacuum bags, etc.

If you're going to grind the bulk of it I'd say your plan is pretty good, just use quart bags instead of gallon bags. You'll waste more bags but that's the trade-off for not doing it multiple times.

I hunt in WI too. We hang deer and depending on temps, process within a few days usually.

It's the ever dreaded thing because it takes us soooooooooo long to do. Can't stand it, but that's another thread I suppose.
Old 10-25-2017, 06:14 PM
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Thankful my hunting grounds is 1/2 mile from a really good, fairly priced processor. He has a cooler big enough to handle hanging for 5-7 days. You can definitely taste a difference in meat that has been hung and meat that hasn’t.
Old 10-25-2017, 07:10 PM
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My BIL takes 4 per year, he works a deal with some processor. processor is getting something from the state to try to get more people to hunt. It's dirt cheap.
Old 10-25-2017, 08:44 PM
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Headed to WI myself Nov 13-21. 15 years been travelling up there to hunt and hang with friends.,,,I love it up there. Here in the south you have no choice.... kill it, cool it, process it. Simple as that.
Old 10-25-2017, 09:22 PM
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We were just looking for a way to try to prevent from having two to three separate small processing days, and condense them into one long day/weekend. It would also make it easier for us to decide how much sausage, bratwurst, jerky, and snack sticks to make with the total meat in front of us, versus making a little of one and hoping to get more and making a little of something else.
Also, early bow season is usually to warm to let the deer hang at all, later in the year we do that as long as the weather permits it.
Old 10-25-2017, 09:37 PM
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Just debone the meat, separate into groups (roasts, backstraps, etc), vacuum seal and freeze. Thaw out slowly in cooler or fridge before your grinding day, but allow enough time to trim everything up and remove silver skin and cut into grinding pieces for whatever you choose to make. We've done it this way in the past to get it over with in one of two days and to make various things you mentioned.

It worked out well, but I still believe freshly ground venison is much better than 6 to 12 month old frozen ground venison. So now I just cut up and bag about 2 pounds of chunks, vacuum seal, freeze, then thaw and grind as needed. It's real easy and quick to grind when all you have to do is open up a bag and run it through once or twice.
Old 10-26-2017, 06:19 AM
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Originally Posted by sds06 View Post
Headed to WI myself Nov 13-21. 15 years been travelling up there to hunt and hang with friends.,,,I love it up there. Here in the south you have no choice.... kill it, cool it, process it. Simple as that.
This year I can only make the ass-end of the season, I fly in the 22nd. The bad news is opening weekend is my best chance at taking a buck, the good news is more than half of the hunters only go out the first three days so I'll have no trouble filling my coolers with meat.
Old 10-26-2017, 07:15 AM
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Ive found over the years I only eat three kinds of deer meat. Ground, backstrap, and jerky. I can take a deer apart into theese three types in an hour or less and eat every bit. I never throw out anything.
Old 10-26-2017, 07:47 AM
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Originally Posted by barrell View Post
Ive found over the years I only eat three kinds of deer meat. Ground, backstrap, and jerky. I can take a deer apart into theese three types in an hour or less and eat every bit. I never throw out anything.
Yep. That's why we stopped trying to get fancy with all kinds of sausage, brats, etc. Although some smoked spicy deer sticks are really good if done properly, I've found its too much trouble to make myself so I take one deer a year to a processor and pay them to make those. The rest falls into your three categories.

And using the gutless method I can clean a deer on my tailgate in about 20 minutes flat and not leave any meat behind. Quicker than going to the grocery store.
Old 10-26-2017, 08:24 AM
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I can go from shot, de-boned and to fridge in hour and half tops. I leave it in fridge or hanging at 35-40* for 3-5 days. Then i grind or chop depending on what i am doing. Pack and seal after that. Never freeze thaw and re-freeze. I usually do 4-5 a year and usually end up grinding 2 at a time if they were shot a day or two apart.
Old 10-26-2017, 09:40 AM
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Originally Posted by JFranklin View Post
I can go from shot, de-boned and to fridge in hour and half tops. I leave it in fridge or hanging at 35-40* for 3-5 days. Then i grind or chop depending on what i am doing. Pack and seal after that. Never freeze thaw and re-freeze. I usually do 4-5 a year and usually end up grinding 2 at a time if they were shot a day or two apart.
Have you ever compared the taste of frozen ground venison versus freshly ground venison from frozen chopped venison? To me it just seems to lose some flavor and becomes really dry if ground and then frozen, even if its vacuum sealed. That's why we started cutting it up into ready-to-grind portions and freezing until ready to grind and consume. It's a little more work on the back end but man it sure seems to taste better.
Old 10-26-2017, 09:46 AM
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Originally Posted by Craash420 View Post
This year I can only make the ass-end of the season, I fly in the 22nd. The bad news is opening weekend is my best chance at taking a buck, the good news is more than half of the hunters only go out the first three days so I'll have no trouble filling my coolers with meat.
Odds go down after first weekend, but my biggest bucks have been taken after that first weekend.



Originally Posted by JFranklin View Post
I can go from shot, de-boned and to fridge in hour and half tops. I leave it in fridge or hanging at 35-40* for 3-5 days. Then i grind or chop depending on what i am doing. Pack and seal after that. Never freeze thaw and re-freeze. I usually do 4-5 a year and usually end up grinding 2 at a time if they were shot a day or two apart.

I wouldn't mind doing that. Some in my group are a little too particular and old school, so we spend a substantial amount of time messing with all the little pieces.
Old 10-26-2017, 10:40 AM
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Originally Posted by autobaun70 View Post
Thankful my hunting grounds is 1/2 mile from a really good, fairly priced processor. He has a cooler big enough to handle hanging for 5-7 days. You can definitely taste a difference in meat that has been hung and meat that hasn’t.

Same here, I know some folks that process their own but quite honestly I just don't have the time to do it.

Have watched couple buddies that do their own but one of them used to be a butcher in a grocery store through high school and college . Neat to watch him do it and looks pretty simple but he has a great set up with walk in cooler


I shoot may be 1 or 2 a year at best

I do make my own summer sausage with the burger a lot of times, I have all the stuff I need to do that and will do 25-30lbs at a time
Old 10-26-2017, 12:07 PM
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Originally Posted by Craash420 View Post
This year I can only make the ass-end of the season, I fly in the 22nd. The bad news is opening weekend is my best chance at taking a buck, the good news is more than half of the hunters only go out the first three days so I'll have no trouble filling my coolers with meat.


I hope to whack one with archery before the Saturday gun opener, if not will be slinging lead. I leave all my stuff up there (bow, gun, clothes, etc) so I just hop on a plane with a cooler as my checked bag. I usually take some FL goodies up, and bring some WI deer meat back.

Good luck and be safe
Old 10-26-2017, 01:00 PM
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As a family, we kill at least 5 deer a year. We frequently will freeze bags a of cubed venison and then have one or two large grinding sessions. we make mostly burger and some breakfast sausage. If you lay the cubes out on a baking sheet and put those in the freezer until the cubes are hard, and then bag them up, they won't stick together as much and are easier to separate when thawing. Also, don't fill the bags very full and try to lay them in the freezer as flat as possible. That will make it easier to thaw the cubes more evenly when the time comes. We then grind with some beef fat, bag it up in regular serving sizes and put it back in the freezer. We've been doing it this way for years and have no issues with the way the meat tastes.
Old 10-26-2017, 01:12 PM
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Your working to hard. Our little family hunt club (still hunting only) kill about 6-10 a year.

I take mine to Duffies in Meherrin, VA, immediately after killing it. He guts it, skins its, ages it and processes it to my directions. Hamburger (mixed with beef fat), sausage, cube steak, roasts, etc. and I keep the tenderloins whole.

$100.....that's just to easy and I also don't have to worry about disposing of the remains. He did my bear two years ago as well.
Old 10-26-2017, 01:13 PM
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Some of you guys talk about butchers being dirt cheap.....

How much money are you talking about here to have your deer processed......?

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