Friday, July 21, 2006

day 15

Well, I'll go ahead and confess right up front: I'm pretty tired.

Spent the day in the mudroom butcher shop, got started skinning the beast around 11:00, and that took longer than it should have (about an hour). Trying too hard not to do anything wrong, I still took a lot of flank meat and brisket off with the hide--which I was not saving at any rate. Next time I'll do better.

Then dismembering the beast and pulling out the back straps, tenderloin, etc. All of that took two or so hours, maybe two and half. I took some pictures along the way, and if I get them developed tomorrow I'll try to post some here.

I learned a couple of things. First, when I killed the deer I didn't need to skin nearly at all when I field dressed it the other night. Where I did skin it (the hams) the meat dried out something fierce, wrecking a portion of the roasts in the hind legs. I had also left the tenderloins in, which was a mistake, as they dried out also. I see now why it's best to pull those out the same night or possibly the next morning after shooting. I'll do that next time.

After a break for lunch, I moved on to cutting up the legs. This took quite a while as I kept referring back to my butchering book as well as an online source I've found helpful. Towards the end I kind of lost my patience with the shank meat on the front leg, and so some of that got tossed. Perhaps on another doe I'll have the time and/or inclination to save the shanks and make some soup stock.

Learned an awful lot here too. I understand now why folks who do their own butchering at home end up grinding much of it for hamburger. I could have prepared some nice roasts, I suppose, but in the interest of time I through much of the roast meat into the pre-burger heap. Because we're nearly out of burger from last fall's two deer. and because burger meat in our house is the most often utilized form of meat (mostly for chili, meat sauce, and jerky), I feel pretty good about grinding up most of the roasts for burger. Most years I have the roasts cut into stew meat, anyway, which we still have plenty of right now. So burger it is.

By about 6 pm I was beginning to lose steam, so I got everything bagged in ziplocs and in tupperware until tomorrow. Tomorrow I'll cut and wrap the steaks, tenderloin, and backstraps; and then I'll move on to grinding the burger. Unfortunately I can't get any beef fat at our local store until next week, so I'll be freezing the burger without fat and will have to add it later.

I think that's about it. The sirloin off the hind legs was most impressive looking, given this doe's size. The back straps are smallish, but that's okay because that's mostly what my kids eat. I'll salvage the good stuff off the tenderloins tomorrow, also.

I'm also left with a bucket of very slimy flank and brisket meat. Unsure what to do with it . . . doesn't look clean enough for grinding into the burger, but there's an awful lot of it. It would be hellish to clean the slime and silverskin off of all of it. I'm open for suggestions. Maybe dog treat meat.

Anyway. That's confessions of a deer sniper for tonight. Sure hope this deer tastes good!


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