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Fall is in the air (ok maybe it is just in my mind) but it can't be far away. With this time of year comes butchering season, whether pork or beef or venison or even the lowly chicken. I am looking to replace some worn equipment I have and add some I have never had. I would be interested to see other peoples equipment or butchering setups. I would also be interested in sources for things like meat saws, slicers grinders etc. Freezing and canning supplies. Maybe if we all can share a few sources, we can all find everything we need this fall to put up our winter meat.
I will start by saying I have been looking at a LEM brand band saw on Amazon, but just not sure if it is really worth 2 times the price the Chinese models are selling for. I assume it is probably Chinese made also??
 

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I have one of those band saw things and to be honest I really don't use it. I tend to bone everything out. Packages up easier and takes up less space in the freezer. I use all the bones to make broth. My only necessary equipment is:

9mm pistol
an engine hoist to raise the carcass (if sheep, goat or pig - I can manage a chicken LOL, and I send beef to the processor)
a good quality skinning knife (mine is a Forschner)
a good breaking knife (I have a Victorinox)
a medium sized boning knife (Forschner)
a good meat saw (can't remember the brand and I am too lazy to go check)
One of those large white plastic folding tables - not absolutely an essential but so easy to clean and work on I (personally) wouldn't be without it. Unless I had a stainless steel one...

With those I can do pretty well anything. I *do* have several other knives in varying forms and sizes, and they are nice but not necessary. You could get away without the engine hoist if you had a tractor with a front loader or some strapping young men (I have neither :awh:) For chickens I have a WhizBang plucker, but for some reason the belt comes off fairly frequently so I tend not to use it. I scald in a cheap turkey fryer and then hand pluck. Works for me because I hate doing a whole lot all at one time anyway.

A Foodsaver vacuum system is a nice thing to have as meat stays fresher for longer when vacuum packed. Again, it isn't necessary but certainly worth having if you can manage it.

Another nice thing to have is a really good quality meat grinder. I have a Weston and I love it. Makes really fast work of grinding. I have used a Tasin and that worked well for maybe 7 years. It's replacement lasted less than 2, so I bit the bullet and bought the Weston.

That's all I can think of off the top of my head.

Mary
 

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You may not need this as it sounds like you have previous butchering experience, but in case anyone else is new to it, here is out go to book.

It's fantastic, straight forward with everything a person needs to know.

http://ow.ly/hGUta It can be ordered through this link.

Trying to add a picture of the cover, not sure it will go through. It's called Basic Butchering.



 

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Discussion Starter #4
I have been looking at these, as they can be operated as a manual meat grinder or a motor added for an electric version. I found this one on Ebay, but it cost a bit more than others I have found (that I think are the same exact thing) but this is the only one which actually states that it has ball bearings, as most of the others talk about plastic bushings, which probably would not hold up to the electric motor part?? I think it is a "Sportsman #32" but not sure???

http://www.ebay.com/itm/181536677599?_trksid=p2055119.m1438.l2649&ssPageName=STRK:MEBIDX:IT
 

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I would say without a doubt....

My must have now is a havalon knife.

Replacement bladed skinning knife that is surgical sharp. They come with 12 blades, you can easily do 2 or 3 deer completely with one blade.

I would like to see other set ups as well. I'm going to be need one shortly for chickens
 

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I have a combination bandsaw and grinder, but I rarely use the bandsaw. Its hard to clean, and I don't like bone fragments on my meat when I'm butchering deer. When I do my beef next year, maybe that will change.

I am curious about the knife recommendations. I usually use some very sharp hunting knives and fillet knives on deer, but there have to be better tools.
 

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I have a combination bandsaw and grinder, but I rarely use the bandsaw. Its hard to clean, and I don't like bone fragments on my meat when I'm butchering deer. When I do my beef next year, maybe that will change.

I am curious about the knife recommendations. I usually use some very sharp hunting knives and fillet knives on deer, but there have to be better tools.

Here you go....

http://m.havalon.com/piranta-edge-skinning-knife-xt60edge.html

Not very often you see a product will nothing but 5 star reviews
 

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Unless you are going to butcher a lot of critters buying expensive super high quality knives is, IMO, a waste of money. Its been my experience cheap knives cut just as well they just need to be sharpened more often.

As for equipment. I use the bucket on the front of my tractor to lift the critter and a recip saw to half/quarter it and to cut through the big bones. I don't really need a meat saw because I debone the stuff before I pack it for the freezer.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Slingshot, here is a link to a thread I made about my chicken set up a while back you may like.
http://www.homesteadingtoday.com/li...broilers-freezer-camp-how-they-got-there.html

I will admit in the past I have gotten by without having "Exactly" the right equipment, but I am slowly adding each year and would like to eventually get to the point where I can turn out a nice professional looking package and cut of meat. I butchered one of my sows last month with a few knifes, reciprocating saw and my tractor to lift her with, but I would much rather have a better set up for my planned hog killin's later this fall.
I am pretty well set on the #32 meat grinder by Buffalo Tools I have found on Amazon. Now I am just trying to find the best price and then on to decide on a meat band saw. I intend to weld me up a scalding tank when I get home. I will probably make it all S.S. as I only intend to have to make another one once.
 

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Slingshot, here is a link to a thread I made about my chicken set up a while back you may like.
http://www.homesteadingtoday.com/li...broilers-freezer-camp-how-they-got-there.html

I will admit in the past I have gotten by without having "Exactly" the right equipment, but I am slowly adding each year and would like to eventually get to the point where I can turn out a nice professional looking package and cut of meat. I butchered one of my sows last month with a few knifes, reciprocating saw and my tractor to lift her with, but I would much rather have a better set up for my planned hog killin's later this fall.
I am pretty well set on the #32 meat grinder by Buffalo Tools I have found on Amazon. Now I am just trying to find the best price and then on to decide on a meat band saw. I intend to weld me up a scalding tank when I get home. I will probably make it all S.S. as I only intend to have to make another one once.

Thanks for the info....

I have this crazy idea to convert a old 2 horse trailer I have in to a mobile processor.

ImageUploadedByHomesteading Today1411770208.101876.jpg

I'm thinking with a few modifications to include a water hook up it should work great. Plucker, scolder, 2 stainless steel tables and a rotary cone station I'm in business.
 

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We built a fire under a large tank of water that was under the A-frame on the right side. There were a pair of rollers that the block & tackle were attached to and the whole A-frame was on wheels.
The hog we were going to butcher would be let into a small pen that stuck out from the main pen. He was shot there and stuck for bleeding then the walls of that small pen were removed by me as my step-father was slitting and inserting the pole between the hind legs that the block & tackle was attached to. We would pull the hog up high , slide him over the tank and lower him down to scald. We had an old wooden table that we dropped him on to scrape the hair off then picked him back up and put a tub under him to catch the gut pile. That steel A-frame was also used with chain falls to pull car engines. The meat saw was an over sized hack saw and old butcher knives is all we ever used. It was about three hours from alive to cut wrapped and in boxes. Within a few minutes the boxes would be weighed and some friends that had a milk cow and butchered beef each year would be there to trade us beef pound for pound for our pork. We only saved a little pork for the sausage.
 

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Cut up two hogs today we killed yesterday. One about 325 and the other about 225 live wt.

Equipment I use:

9mm pistol to stun
Large breaking knife to stick/bleed out
SS gambrel (from an online butcher supply place) to hitch up the back legs
Short pc chain.
Hay spear on the front end loader of the tractor, with two pair of vice grips to keep the chain hooked to the gambrel out on the tip end of the spear point.

I take the killed hog from the pen they were raised in down to my shop area for cleaning/skinning.
Pressure wash the carcass
Then skin with disposable surgical scalpels. ( Buddy of mine is in the med field and gets me bundles of them for free) Use about two per hog. Lets us skin real close, retaining most of the fat.
On a beef, I use a 6" boning knife to skin.

Split the pelvic arch, the breast bone and the spine with a sawsall and long wood blade.

Still hanging on the gambrel, now in halves, we drive it up to the house, and put on a roll around cart one 1/2 at a time, and roll thru the garage to the walk-in cooler located in the cutting room on the back of the garage. Hang until the next morning, about 24hrs, until thoroughly chilled (about 35-40 degrees).

Cut room has walk-in, stainless table, along with a folding plastic table, about 12' of counter top with a real deep commercial 2 compartment sink. Weston 1.5hp #22 grinder, Weston 2300 vac sealer, hot water heat under counter, dishwasher. Whole room is tile floor and tile walls up 4' so it can be hosed down with a hose connected to the water heater.

Hand tools are good Forschner knife set, sharpening steel, couple hand meat saws (12" and 20"), plastic bone scraper ( clean dust off meat after bandsaw ), cut resistant meat gloves, lots of aprons, towels, soap, etc.

Bought a Rikon meat bandsaw (Northern Tool) for this season, mounted on casters. Like it, but a pain to clean up. I roll it out on the back deck after use, stick the hot water hose out the window and hose it out good with hot water. Makes clean up a lot easier.

We started this morning about 8am, 3 of us (me, wife, & a buddy),maybe hour of beaks total, and were done by about 5pm, except I'll have some cleanup to do tomorrow, set my bacon to curing (buddy ground his into sausage), and render down the lard from both ( guessing 40-50lbs).
 

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We've slaughtered our own goats (sometimes deer) for years using the following tools:

22 rifle (David used to kill the goats with.)
What I call the "gutting knife" (white handled one in pic below) to cut juglar & later gut animal and clean out insides
Gamble (to pull the goat/deer up by its hind legs)
What I call the "skinning knife" (black handled one in pic below) to skin with
A regular hacksaw to cut thru bones

Other tools:
Close knit netting to keep each goat separately wrapped to keep away flies while working on others
Stainless steal bucket (with lid) filled with cold water to place livers & hearts into
Pan of warm soapy water to wash hands and knives when wanted while working
Wheel barrow to cart what is not wanted off to compost pile
Buckets with lids to carry meat parts from slaughtering pen to processing center
Water hose to wash carcasses down and clean up later

This year I've learned to do things differently because I watched a professional butcher process my goats. He was limited to the area in that it was "my" slaughtering pen; however, these are the tools I saw him use and, hopefully, I can get some by next fall.

He used the same two knives (gutting and skinning) I'd been using except he had a metal rod to keep his sharp with. He created what looked like a 3/4" metal rod with two bolts on each end and that he placed over the double beams that I had been hanging the goats on. Onto that metal rod he had a nice sized pulley and a strong leather "loop" he could use as a collar. (This professional hung the goats up by their neck initially, gutted them so the guts would "not" fall into the chest cavity and the livers and hearts were easier to get out. Then he washed them out and re-hung them by their hind legs.) Then he used a saws-all with demolition blade to cut off the heads, the feet and open the chest cavity. Then he made quick work skinning with the skinning knife, using it to, also, cut up the goat as I wanted. He used that saws-all to cut thru all bone, which made this task go quickly. All I could do was stand in awe as he was so quick and skillfull. What would have taken me hours of hard labor, he did in a matter of minutes. Thus, I figure if I can get myself one of those saws-all machines with the demolition blade, I can throw the hacksaw I've been using away and save myself some blisters and a lot of time. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #16
SlingShot, That trailer looks like it would make a nice mobile slaughter setup for sure.

TnAndy, I am going to check out the meat saws from Northern, still trying to decide on a band saw??

Mot, that is exactly why I keep improving my system and buying more tools, it is amazing how easy it makes things to have the correct tools. We can all get by and many of us do and may continue to, but having the right setup can make a grueling task somewhat enjoyable (if you like this kind of thing??) I do!!
 

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About every 12-18 months, we process a large batch of broilers. With that level of infrequency, it is a chore. Surprisingly, we get better at it each time. There recently has opened a processing plant 5 miles away that will put them in a bag for $2.25. That is mighty tempting. For the process, we have:

10 poultry crates.
8 kill cones mounted to a stand that I call the 'Killonator'.
An LP turkey deep fryer that we use for scalding. This needs an upgrade.
A featherman plucker. My all-time best CL find.
Eviscerating hooks.
Food grade blue chill barrels.
A stainless steel counter and sink from a Sonic that wasn't good enough for the city health inspector. Ha!
Shrink bags.
Lots of quality knives.

For those looking for home-butchering info, I am going to put in a plug for a book that I found from HT's Highland (Walter Jeffries). You can find it on his Sugarmtnfarm.com site. Can't tell you the title. Its on my nightstand, but I can't reach it. Or read it. If you are resourceful, you will find it. This fall, when the chill comes to stay, I'll be using it to help me butcher some lambs. Mmmmm. Lamb......
 

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You may not need this as it sounds like you have previous butchering experience, but in case anyone else is new to it, here is out go to book.

It's fantastic, straight forward with everything a person needs to know.
Thanks for the tip. I will look into this one. I like the subsections of chapter 9: "Less Popular Meats".

A) Butchering Goats

...And that is why I am selling off the commercial Boer herd and replacing them with sheep.
 

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That book walked me through the first couple seasons. It's a good book for anyone.

We don't have a lot of stuff other than the saw and a 3/4 hp grinder. It took a while but The boy found an older Biro 22 band saw on the national for-sale website for $200. With patients you can find anything you are looking for there and at a good price. The patients can be hard for me at times though. The saw's been a life saver for us. We use it a lot. I have seen in person the LEM saw, it's the same as the northern tool saw with a bit better paint and a much bigger price. We use a curry comb I'm told it is, to get bone dust off. The ones with three or four rings.

I have Gramps old knives. He started as an apprentice meat cutter at 14 yrs old in 1919. Nothing stainless save for a couple Forchners and them are some good knives I really like a lot. 3 steels, 1 grooved and 2 smoothies. Mundial and Dexter Russel are good also. He preached carbon blades for sharpness and good edge. That man could put a shaving edge on anything but he still despised stainless. I guess that stuck with me. I still have the pig sticker he made eons ago, probably because I use it more than anything, but it works better than anything for bleeding out a hog. I even have his old stunning hammer.

We use an old cut down 22 for the killing. A 22 will handle anything from the biggest bulls to the chickens if you want. You just need to be patient and take the right shot. We do however have the 32spl out with us just in case but haven't needed it so far.

A couple cross arms on barn posts with blocks, butt rigged pulls up anything you want to hang. Daughter sewed some bed sheets together for bags to keep the flies off. We have a couple home spun gambrels and a couple single tress off an old harness set-up for the trussing.

Splitting the carcass we found a small electric chain saw with a low profile chain. Olive oil on the bar oil tank. Works slick and cleans up great with a bucket of water and a brush.

For the bigger sows and beef we cut down some 4x4's and 6x6's to block them up while still on the ground for gutting and start of skinning before we raise them up.

Not sure if anyone else does this. But there is a netting type membrane thing the encases the gut. We save this. Wrap up boned prime rib in instead of string. Not sure how to describe it other than it adds some goodness to the final product.

For wrapping. we go down to the super market and get a roll of their plastic produce bags. They either just give them to us or one guy will charge us $5 a roll. We put the meat in those push out the air then give it a spin. Tuck in the tail the wrap it up in waxed butcher paper. We have found stuff as old as 8 years and it was just as good as the stuff that was only a 6 months old. Gave up on the vacuum sealer after finding this trick, on everything but fish.

Butchering is a family thing for us. The kiddos and me get things ready. The boy helps with the slaughter. The next day The boy and me cut and handle the meat. Daughter does her best to keep up in the wrapping. Usually there is cider in the tea pot on the wood stove. The radio is always turned way up and some dancing around always occurs. We talk about memories, things coming up and I get all caught up on what is happening with each of them. Even they say it is one of the better times of the year. It's just a fun good time, laughing and goofing around.

There's always something that we "need" but we keep plugging with what we have. It works well for us. Sometimes we'll get something "new" and usually it doesn't fit it and goes by the way side. It's hard to change a good thing for the better sometimes it seems.



Owl
 

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As an aside...

I used to have dear friend (she's now passed on) who enjoyed a fresh yard chicken every now and then. God Bless her, she was just too big to catch them and wring their necks.

That wasn't a problem for her, as she had a little .32 Colt revolver.

"All you have to do, is shoot 'em in the head", she told me.
 
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