Butchering

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by DayBird, Jan 13, 2005.

  1. DayBird

    DayBird Big Bird

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    What was the first animal you ever butchered by yourself, without help? How were the results? Were you pleased?
     
  2. ratherbefishin

    ratherbefishin Well-Known Member

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    my first deer-I got a lamb chart and sort of followed that.It really wasn't that hard, took a while but over the years, I got better and quicker.I did figure out a couple of things- gut shot deer are really messy to process[ I wass more careful nexttime to pick my shot] and also I figured out how to remove hair-with a vinegar dampened cloth- and next time I was more careful when skinning it too, not to get hair on the meat.
     

  3. jackie c

    jackie c Well-Known Member

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    The first thing I butchered was a chicken, and, well, lets say I really butchered it :rolleyes: . Much better at it now, with a few hundred under my belt! :D
     
  4. Lt. Wombat

    Lt. Wombat Well-Known Member

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    Speaking on this subject, does anyone have an e-mailable guide or link to a guide or something along those lines that details the steps for butchering a goat/deer?

    We're going to butcher rather than sell the bucklings this year and I don't want to waste it due to ignorance.

    I'm a skilled surgeon so that part isn't an issue. I even plan on using a electrosurgical scalpel rather than a knife for everything but the breaking of joints.
     
  5. Cyngbaeld

    Cyngbaeld In Remembrance Supporter

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    Here you are!

    http://tinyurl.com/ypvjk

    My first was a chicken. The hardest part was making myself DO it! I knew I had to do it or quit keeping poultry. I skinned it, the rest wasn't much different than dealing with a whole chicken or turkey from the store. Later I was given a buck and butchered that by myself. I just cut all the meat off in chuncks and canned it.
     
  6. DayBird

    DayBird Big Bird

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    I butchered a rabbit this afternoon and was just wondering what others had with their first experience. I had read everything I could find on the rabbit forum. I think I did a decent job. I need better tools, I guess. A sharper knife would have been very handy. She was an older doe with a nasty temperment and she would fight with all the bucks so she had to go.

    My problem was cutting the carcass into usable pieces. The results were usable, just not very pretty. I might also add that supper tonight was the first time I've ever eaten rabbit. Overall, I'm happy with the results.
     
  7. Cyngbaeld

    Cyngbaeld In Remembrance Supporter

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    Best knife for skinning and butchering is an ulu.
     
  8. My first butchering job was sun perches from the creek by my house. I was only about 10 years old and my parents would be at work all day and I would play on the creek catching crawdads and perch. Don't remember the results of scaling and cleaning them but that was also when I learned to pan fry my catch also. My next adventure was cleaning a wild rabbit that I had shot with my christmas 22. rifle. I was only about 12 at that time. I had watched my cuz skin a few squirrels out so that is how I thought maybe wild rabbits would be done too. By the time I got through with it the meat had more hair on it then the hide did. Later I learned to just grab the skin with my fingers and just rip it off. Was a whole lot easier and faster. Now I do my own pig, sometimes chicken, squirrels, rabbits, deer (and for others also) and hope to one day buy a small steer and process it also.
     
  9. Quint

    Quint Well-Known Member

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    Hey I cleaned and dressed a couple of rabbits today too. They were sitting about 40 yards out in the field and I thought "AH HA! I know what I'm having for supper." Mr. Bunny rabbit was procured for the pot with the assistance of Mr. Ruger and Mr. Remington. Cleaned and in the fridge in 10 minutes including getting dressed to go out and retrieve them. I've waited in the drive thru for longer than that.

    I've been cleaning game and chickens and other creatures around the farm for years but I'll admit that sometimes I still have to fight back a gag reflex especially with deer and larger stuff. Keep trying and you will get the hang of it. It all eats good even if it isn't cut up pretty as it could be. A good sharp knife is a necessity. Trying to work with a dull knife will only make you crazy and bleed.
     
  10. RedneckWoman

    RedneckWoman Well-Known Member

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    The first thing I ever butchered myself was a squirrel. I think I was about nine or ten and my dad always told me "you kill it, you clean it". I had watched my dad and uncles skin a lot of them so I had a pretty good idea of what to do. I remember eating it so I must not have messed it up too bad lol.
    I do about 75% of the butchering here because dh mangles too much of it (mangled as in I can't even tell what it is or was supposed to be, doesn't have to be pretty just recognizable lol). He does help with the beef though because I can't handle that much by myself. The only thing I really don't like to butcher is fish and groundhog. I make a mess of fish and groundhog just stinks so bad it nearly gags me.
     
  11. DayBird

    DayBird Big Bird

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    I've cleaned lots of fish. I don't know why I didn't think to include those. The rabbit was the first warm-blooded creature that I killed and butchered myself. I had a hard time getting all the hair off of the meat. I made a mess of that. The meat was really good, if not a little chewy. It was the first time my wife had ever cooked rabbit. We called my Grandmaw and she said to salt, pepper and flour it and fry it like chicken. Make a gravy and serve it with smashed-taters, green beans and buttermilk biscuits. It really was good. I've got another infertile doe and a mean, old buck to process next. I'm imagining younger rabbits would be more tender.
     
  12. Lt. Wombat

    Lt. Wombat Well-Known Member

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    Thanks Cyngbaeld, I'll give it a look over after rounds this morning.
     
  13. moonwolf

    moonwolf Well-Known Member

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    I believe it was rabbit. I raised rabbits as a kid, and also hunted them. Either way, that was the first butchered animal I did myself and ate. But now that I think about it, I probably cleaned a crappie or sunfish as the first 'butchering' job. Guess I might have been about 12 years old??
     
  14. ratherbefishin

    ratherbefishin Well-Known Member

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    there's lots of very informative video's on butchering deer-and they apply equally to domestic animals.The local college has nightschool course on basic butchering-and thatwould be a good idea for any hunter or small holder.
     
  15. Snuffy Smith

    Snuffy Smith Well-Known Member

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    First animal I ever butchered was a deer. I did a very good job. Those backstraps were very tasty.
     
  16. apirlawz

    apirlawz playing in the dirt

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    I take a more unconventional approach to butchering deer. Instead of making specific "cuts" of meat, I just separate the individual muscles. It works wonderfully with the back legs and loin, (large, lean steaks and roasts) but anything from the neck, shoulders, and forelegs is usually stew, jerky, or ground with pork. It takes longer, but it is a good way to get all of the connective tissues out of the meat, and hence, no gamey taste.

    My mom (bless her heart!) always took the "hack and pack" approach. The meat was always very tough, gristley, and gamey...now I know why I hated venison growing up!!

    I'm really not sure if this will work with a goat, with it's smaller body. But then, depending on what they graze/browse on, I would imagine that you wouldn't have worry about it tasting gamey anyway.

    Incidentally...this year, I used a scalpel to see if it would make butchering deer quicker for me, and it really did help. I'd started using one for chickens and rabbits last fall, and now my hunting/skinning knife feel like an axe! I also found that separating the joints by cutting tendons and ligaments with a disposable scalpel blade is a lot quicker, and saves a lot of wear and tear on blades, kitchen shears, and my hands.

    April
     
  17. sisterpine

    sisterpine Goshen Farm Supporter

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    my first was the roosters i did a couple of months ago. it took me a while to get into the swing of it (litterally) but i finally did and now i know that is one more thing i can do to be self relient if need be. i am very proud of myself.
     
  18. cheryl-tx

    cheryl-tx Well-Known Member

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    A fryer, I was 7, had watched my Mom for so long and asked to try myself, was sick of the plucking. Bad thing to ask, LOL, I did so well I was moved up from plucking to 'gutting'. Did my first rabbit at age 10, did a pretty good job that time too. Also cleaned the perch and catfish we caught from our ponds. Have NEVER butched any large livestock though.

    Cheryl in TX
     
  19. Quint

    Quint Well-Known Member

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    I do that too. I still end up doing the gutting of the deer with my hunting knife but all of the more delicate work I do with medical scalpels. I think one reason is that they are soooooo sharp. Way sharper than I can get my knife.

    I'll be the first one to admit that my worst failing as an outdoorsman and homesteader type is my ham fisted ability to sharpen a knife. I simply can't seem to put a decent edge on things. A usable edge yes, but not the razor edge others seem to be able to do. Just getting a usable edge requires me to use a fixed position sharpener (lansky-sp?). Sharpening I just struggle with. I've even resorted to having my finer knives done professionally because I was afraid of ruining them. The axe needs a new edge and dread going out there tonight and messing with it to tell you the truth.
     
  20. agmantoo

    agmantoo agmantoo Supporter

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    Having the proper tools is important in any task. Good sharp knives when skinning made less work out of the process and is much safer. The essential tool IMO for maintaining the knives is a butcher's steel ( http://www.instawares.com/Butcher-Sharpening-Steel-Wood-Handle-14.1227-14.0.7.htm ) The steel is an easy tool to learn to use. Additionally having a quality skinning knife and curved boning knife are a must. Once equipped with these tools the idea is to never let the knives dull. Frequently using the butchers steel just "touch up" the knives edge during the processing effort. I have timed myself and working alone I can skin, quarter, removed the burger meat and loins/backstraps and have the deer meat in the aging cooler within 1 hour.