After field dressing and properly aging your deer you need to know how to butcher a deer. Basic butchering skills are a real asset to any hunter. These basic butchering steps will tell you how to butcher a deer, as well as store and label your cuts of deer meat.
To butcher a deer, you will need:
- meat saw (or hacksaw)
- sharp butcher knife
- butcher block paper or zip lock freezer bags
- block and tackle
- large cutting board
- large bag lined trash can
- wet stone (to keep knife sharpened during cutting)
- clean cheese cloth
- bucket of clean water
- black sharpie marker
To begin the butchering process your deer should have already been properly field dressed and undergone the "aging" process. So, the deer carcass should be suspended from the block and tackle to a sturdy limb with the hind end up and the head down. Before beginning the first cut when you butcher a deer, ensure all your tools have been properly cleaned and sanitized.
- Take the hacksaw and cut the carcass in half going down the middle. Stay as close to the center as you can. Wipe the bone fragments off of your saw as you go so you will not litter the good meat with tiny fragments of bone.
- Wipe the sawed area of meat off with damp cheese cloth. Pat the met to keep it dry.
- Remove the rump. Keep in mind the rear legs are jointed. Find the joint and cut around it. Remove the rear shaped leg.
- Cut the steaks from the first leg. Remember to cut against the grain and also that the lower you go down the leg the tougher the meat is.
- Place the steaks into freezer bags or wrap in butcher paper. Be sure to label the package.
- Repeat step five for the other leg.
- Remove the loin meat. (This runs down the long area on the spine from bottom of back to neck on both sides.)
- Take the long narrow loin and cut it into smaller steak sections and wrap or bag. Remember to label.
- Remove the front legs by cutting between the chest muscle and the leg. These are known as the "hams" or "roasts". You can cut these in two pieces, bag and label.
- Repeat step 9 for other leg.
- Neck, leg, chest, and spine meat can be trimmed off to use for stews. Try not to waste any of the animal.
- Clean and dispose of excess meat and carcass in the trash bag and properly dispose of it.
As a note of caution, when field dressing and aging the deer, make sure it is properly hung and that the temperature is below 40 degrees Fahrenheit.
Also, remember when you butcher a deer to cut against the grain. If you cut with the grain your steaks will be tough. The shorter the muscle fibers the more tender the meat.
Deer meat is a leaner healthier choice for meat eaters. So, take your time, cut carefully, and give try to butcher a deer. You will save money and might find you are good at it. Happy hunting!