By Montana Grant

Posted: October 10, 2020

The great Bull or Buck is down and tagged. Pictures have been taken and the beast is loaded into the truck or on the trailer. Now it is time to Make Meat!

Many hunters are either too lazy or too inexperienced to Make Meat! Butchering has become a lost art. Back in the Day, we cut our own meat. As soon as the critter was hung to cool, we trimmed the carcass and removed the “Fish” or inner loins. If you let these most tender loins go for too long, they will dry out.

Aging a carcass for a week or so will allow the meat to tenderize. You need cool weather or a refrigerator to make this work. 40 degrees is a good temperature to around. This is not always possible in early seasons. Later Fall hunting is usually plenty cool. Quartering the critter will allow you to store the meat until you are ready to cut.

Sadly, too many hunters just dump their critters off at the Butchers and distance themselves from the experience. There are many excellent Meat Processors available but Making Your Own Meat finishes what you started.

When I share my harvest with friends and family, they are getting clean, healthy, and meat cut with Love. No hair, properly labeled and dated, and a few recipes thrown in for good measure.

To butcher your own deer, you need a few sharp knives, a good sharpener, and a sanitary area to cut the meat. Plastic gloves are helpful, and a hack saw can cut the bone. If you bone the meat, you can avoid most bone cutting completely. YouTube videos are a great help. Better yet, call in a Mentor to show you how it is done.

I have shown friends how to cut their own for decades. Every critter is basically the same. The main difference is size. With CWD and other health concerns, experience helps. Usually your nose is a good place to start. If it stinks or doesn’t look right, then trim that away. Avoid the spine and head area. If the critter is gut shot, you also have more cleaning that will be needed. The FWP will test any meat for free.

Making your own meat is more to learn. Showing off pictures and antlers is one thing but showing off perfectly cut steaks and chops a=is another way to brag.

If you have a Grinder, you can address your own sausage and grind needs. I have found that grinding my meat with Pork Shoulder adds flavor and fat. Some guys use Bacon, beef, or whatever their pallet prefers.

A Vacuum sealer is wonderful for packaging the final cuts. You can also use Plastic Wrap and Freezer Paper to package the meat.

Start simple and add to your Butcher Shop as you go. The $125 for a deer, $300 for an Elk, or other critter savings can be used to buy a grinder, sealer, meat saw, gambrels, or other accessories. The more extras you add, the faster and more efficient you will become.

The most important things you learn are the things you learn after you already know everything!

Montana Grant

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