Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Prime Cuts

I spent the day, yesterday, cutting meat. The weather is still too nice for ducks so it's a good time to finish up lose ends from the big game season. I know, the season ended a week and a half ago but with temps not reaching above 45 degrees I say let 'em hang. 

My whitetail hung for 11 days before I broke it down. It gives it a chance to bleed out but more importantly, the enzymes have enough time to start breaking the meat down. Obviously, you don't want to wait too long and have the bad bacteria start growing but I'm a huge fan of aging and letting nature do it's thing. You'll have a better tasting and much more tender cuts. 

Above is this best part of the deer--back straps in the form of butterflied steaks and the tenderloins. The cubes are the trimmed parts that will be used for stew meat. Just to give you an idea, I took the hind quarters and cut out a couple roasts and steaks out of the sirloin and the rest is grind for venison sausages. When it's all said and done, I'll probably net about 40 lbs of meat. That doesn't seem like a lot, does it? It is 40 lbs of some of the best meat you can get though. 

I process my own wild game for a few reasons. 1) I have the time. I can spend a couple days if I want so that when I get a little tired of it, I can walk away and come back to it. 2) I don't like spending the money. Yeah, I'm kind of cheap. I helped a friend shoot a deer this year and she decided to have it cut up by a game processor in town. I think it was around $160 and that's just steaks and burger. That's like 4 bucks a pound not including license, shells, gas, etc. I like venison but that starts getting a little spendy for me.

The main reason I process my own game is because that way I know what I'm getting. Yeah. I don't always trust I'm either getting my own meat back or that I'm getting all of it. This way I know and if there's a problem, I am the one responsible for it. 

I didn't shoot an elk this year but that ship hasn't sailed yet. I still have a damage hunt tag and permission to hunt a ranch near town. As soon as we get enough snow in the high country, the elk will come down. That season ends February 15th so the odds are pretty good that I will fill the freezer with elk. 

Today the snow is falling and it's cold up on the river. Maybe the ducks will come to the river. Cutter and I are going to go find out.

Keep 'em where they live...

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