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Processing Deer

November 8, 2009

We’re going to process my son’s deer today, turning solid chunks of meat into breakfast sausage and stew meat.  While processing takes quite a bit of time, it is well worth it in the end.  After my husband cleans the deer, he quarters it and then cuts off the backstrap, tenderloin and ribs.  The ribs are immediately washed and cleaned and go directly into a huge stock pot to simmer for about 3-4 hours.  The rest of the meat is wrapped in freezer wrap and put in the freezer until we have time to process it (which is today).

Johnny and I work together on this project to make it go faster.  We take all the frozen meat out of the freezer and let it slightly thaw (so that we can easily slice off the membrane that covers the meat).  This membrane gives the meat a “gamey” flavor and can also make it tough.  We carefully remove the membrane by slicing it off the meat in very thin layers.  Be very careful during this step because it can be extremely dangerous if the knife slips.  By the way, use a very sharp knife.  A dull knife can actually lead to more acciedents.  Go very slowly across the meat and take your time.  It’s not a race. 

Once the membrane has been removed, we cut off chunks of the meat and using our Kitchen Aid with the grinder attachment, we grind it up, mixing in ground pork to add a little fat (since venison is a very lean meat).  Here’s the recipe we use for Venison Breakfast Sausage:

8 lbs. venison

½ cup salt

2 tablespoons ground sage

2 pounds pork

2 tablespoons black pepper

2 tablespoons ground ginger

Grind meat with a medium blade.  Combine spices and mix well into meat.  Sometimes I use my hands for this part to really mix it up good. 

To serve, form into small patties and fry in heavy pan until browned.

As I said, it’s a very lengthy process, but once the meat has all been ground and mixed together, make a small patty and cook it to make sure it has the flavor you need.  This also gives you a chance to adjust the spices to your liking.

Once it’s all been mixed together, separate it into 1 pound portions, package it up with freezer paper, label it and pop it into the freezer.

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