Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Well, I didn't plan for THAT.

Oh cool, it feels like bloody playdough!
-Miniwether, wrist-deep in freshly ground venison.

Yes, that is a spoon stuck in her hair.

So, Monday a friend at work asks if I'd like some deer meat. He didn't have room in his freezer for it and he knew I'm always up for free food. Tuesday morning comes and I helped him carry a heavy ice chest from his truck to mine. Mmmmm, venison!

When I got home yesterday evening I lugged the cooler into the house and exclaimed, "Hey honey, check this out! Free meat!". Misseswether came over, looked in the cooler, then looked up at me with a strange expression on her face. Confused, I looked into the cooler.


Fresh venison.

Still on the deer.

So instead of spending time prepping for my classes I've spent the last two nights butchering a deer. Not exactly what I had planned. At least he had quartered it already, I just had to cut the meat off the bones into assorted steaks and roast plus grind up all the small bits into venisonburger.

It cutting time!

I hadn't done this in twenty-five years. Luckily there's the internet! Five minutes of searching brought me to this post on a bowhunting forum. If you ever end up with a freshly killed deer you need to butcher but don't quite remember how to do it, go here.

Hmmm, pretty simple...

Of course, it's not as easy as it looks. By 1:30am I decided I didn't need to get every bit of meat of the bones. I cleaned up and crawled into bed. Ninety minutes later a massive thunderstorm came through and knocked out our power. Being exhausted, I slept right through it, then on into the morning well past my normal wake-up time. I finally woke up to sunshine and birdsongs. It was a beautiful morning if you excluded the fact I needed to be to work in 30 minutes for a meeting. Considering I have a 25-minute commute, I was a bit rushed this morning. *sigh*

After a full day of being ground through the gears at work it was time to take out my frustrations on the meat. Luckily, I had picked up a meat grinder on clearance last year, so I was set to turn medium-sized chunks of deer into itty-bitty bits of deer mixed with yummy bacon. As usual, the Wethergirls wanted to help. Miniwether got mad yesterday when I wouldn't let her help cut up the deer so I let her help with the grinding today.

Making meatdough. Miniwether was on bacon duty while Mambowether supervised.

I sent it through the grinder first to chop it up then I had Miniwether add the bacon while I reground it. She also made a few big meatballs, but those got reclaimed by the meat-collective when it was time to wrapped everything up for the freezer. By that time they were in bed and I was alone again in the kitchen. For a brief moment I considered leaving the clean-up for Misseswether, but considering the large number of really sharp knives involved plus that whole thing about loving her, I cleaned everything up.

This made her happy, which is a good thing. And by good I mean I won't have to sleep with my eyes open...

I see it is now 11:16pm. I still need to do some stuff, then off to bed until the 6am alarm sounds. Who knows what adventure tomorrow will bring...

Peace be with you.


Packman said...

Very cool. I'm hoping to get my first deer ever this year - I've been skunked each of the last two. Finding a place to hunt around NYC takes some doing, and getting away from the family even more.

I had assumed that for my first time I'd pay someone to do the butchering, but you and the link make it look doable. What do you think? If my hunt is successful should I give it a try?

Merriwether said...


For places to hunt in New York try calling apple orchards. They often need some help thinning deer herds. A friend of mine in Schenectady had an orchard he'd let people hunt on, though he's no longer there.

If I were you I'd pay someone else to process your first deer, just because they'll maximize the amount of meat you'll get and even turn the little bits into sauage and jerky. The link does a good job of explaining the basics, but I found it glossed over some finer points. I had to just guess a few times, luckily I had vague memories back when Poppawether used to process deer in our basement.

Best case is you find another hunter who would be willing to teach you how to butcher a deer.

If you do decide to process your own deer you'll need a big space on which to work, a SHARP knife, a saw, a meat grinder, and assorted clean buckets of ice/water to put the meat in as remove it from the deer. An understanding and loving wife also helps a great deal.


Merriwether said...

Oh, and good luck in the hunt!

Izzy G. said...

Family looks good, Blast.

Windrider said...

man, I remember those days of butchering deer! And Yes, it is much better to have a processor do it for you.

I've butchered 5 deer, and numerous hogs. But overall, the processor is the way to go if they are nearby.