How To Process Game
Many folks who prepare may end up relying on killing an processing meat. I will show you the process for processing meat from a large herbivore. This process will work with about any animal, whether domesticated like a sheep or cow, or a deer elk or moose. First, start out by dispatching the animal. I will use this 5 point deer as my project, because the buffalo was a major ordeal and i do not have a lot of photos.
After the animal is dispatched, immediately cut the throat and open the chest. Remove the entrails. Make sure to not nick any of the organs or intestines. A sharp knife is a must. You can keep the intestines to make sausage, and the heart, liver, and kidneys are edible, as are he brains and testicles. I do not neat organ meats unless it is an emergency and the heart on this kill would require a straw to eat.
Took a bit to get this animal 2 miles to he vehicle. He is the biggest mule deer I have ever shot and dressed out at 340 lbs. Yikes!. Thank goodness for my buddies 4 wheeler. I could have never gotten him out in one piece. Glad I left the guts for the wolves. A reminder here. Predators are drawn to the kills. I have a lone wolf in the area, and was alone. I am glad I used my AK-47 and had another 29 rounds for self defense. At this point, get that chest cavity opened up, make sure the chest is opened up, the throat is opened and the trachia is removed, and the pelvis is split. A saw is very helpful. Keep the chest open so the meat cools.
At this point you have a couple of options. If you are in the field you can skin the animal there, quarter him and haul that way. I have the luxury of getting the animal to a garage where I can get him up in the air to make my job much easier. A side note. People will often have a deer for a week or so. I totally disagree with this process. Meat does not age, the fat does. Deer meat is not marbled and is too lean to age. Just my opinion. Skinning the animal is easy. There is a fat layer between the hide and the meat. Ad you pull the hide away, use your knife to cut the fat layer. Cut around or cut off the legs above the knee.
Here is your carcass. A this point I am going to quarter the animal for easier transport. Quartering is easy. Cut the head off, remove the front and rear quarters by cutting through the hip joints. A knife will work. Make sure to keep a sharpening rod handy. Nothing dulls a knife faster than deer hair. Split the carcass in half. When you quarter the deer, you end up with two front quarters, two rear quarters and two sides. A tarp is handy.
Make sure to follow all laws. In Montana, transporting an animal requires that you have proof of sex for the animal. I figure this would be proof. Yes, I am in a non prepping situation and some of the things I would not waste if surviving, went wasted. I did not save the hide, the organs or intestines. Only reason I took a buck, is the area I hunted was buck only for muley's.
This is the fat cap. This animal had almost 3 inches of fat on him. He was, in human terms, morbidly obese, which was evident by the Twinkie wrappers scattered everywhere in the wheat field where he was harvested. The Fat Cap can be cut off and saved for frying. It is different from lard or beef fat, and can be gamey. This one was not gamey due to the deer living off wheat and alfalfa.
We are at the point where we want to start removing the meat. Save everything, including the scraps. Scraps can be mixed with fatcap and ground into burger or sausage (see the sausage section). This is a simple process. Remove the meat in the largest chunks as possible from he bones. (Save the bones. The marrow is very tasty, the bones can be boiled to baled broth, and dogs love em)
Make sure to set the backstrap (loin) aside. It is the premium stuff. Cut a lot of the meat into steaks. Make sure to cut cross grain. This will ensure the most tender cuts. I have to admit, my dog and I snack on the raw meat while butchering. I use the sink to soak all the meat. It draws out any additional blood.
These are a few tools that make your butchering experience easier. Knives, a saw, rib spreader and a sharpening stone. Different sized knives make it easier. Buckets and tubs, at least 3, to help separate the meats. You will probably need some old rags too. I do not use rubber gloves.