Deer Processing

This is an anticipated time of the year because we get to re-stock our freezer with fresh deer meat.     This is our first year to make our own breakfast sausage.    I feel a little frustrated that we haven’t made sausage before because it is so good.   

Anyway, I thought I would show you the steps we go through to process a deer.   



Of course, the first step is the deer harvest.   Chance lives for archery season.    He’s my little hunter.  

Chance will quarter this deer and the sections will be packed in an extra large ice chest for a day or two so the meat can cool down and bleed out a bit.     We leave the ice chest drain plug open so any melted ice can drain.     We learned this ice-packing method from my sister and brother-in-law.    It works like a charm.  



After the deer stays in the ice chest for a day or two, the next step is to de-bone each piece.  


Michael usually helps Chance with the de-boning process, but he’s been so busy at our shop that Chance had to work solo this time.  


The de-boned meat is refrigerated in these large stainless steel pans so it can cool down again.   We usually grind the meat the next day. 


I purchased this meat grinder at a garage sale.   I paid a 1/3 of the price of a new one.    The grinder is an indispensable deer processing tool. 


I purchase these freezer bags for the ground meat.   I like these bags because the meat thaws quickly when I’m ready to use it or it can be defrosted in the microwave.  



When we make sausage, we run it through the grinder two times.    As the meat comes through, I sprinkle  on the  sausage seasoning periodically to help disperse the seasoning.     We add a small amount of beef fat to the mix because deer is so lean.   Sausage needs a little fat so it will brown when you cook it. 


I purchased this seasoning packet from our local butcher shop.   I got the beef fat from the same butcher.  


When we are ready to grind the sausage a second time, we add this attachment to the grinder.   This attachment makes it easy to fill the freezer bags.  



As Michael runs the meat through, I hold the bag over the spout.   As the sausage comes out, it fills the bag.   I don’t even get it on my hands. 


Here’s another picture of our grinder.



One bag of fresh breakfast sausage stuffed and ready for the freezer.  


After we finished, we had roughly 70 pounds of sausage.  


And this is the finished product.    When you buy breakfast sausage, it has so many preservatives added to help it stay fresh on the shelf.   If you’re accustomed to the flavor of the preservatives, you don’t taste them.   When you taste this sausage that is free of preservatives and additives, you can certainly taste the lack of preservatives.    All you taste if the freshly ground meat and the spices.   It’s hard to explain the taste difference. 

Here’s another thought for you…a few people that we know are paying $90.00 per deer to have them professionally processed.     Once you have a grinder, you can process your own deer.   Just get your own system  for handling the fresh meat and processing yourself becomes quick and easy.

I hope this post was useful to anyone who is thinking of processing you own deer.    If you do decide to process yourself…make sausage.  You won’t be sorry. 

And that’s all folks…. Smile

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