OK, all you DIY deer hunters out there, don’t blow a gasket when you read the next sentence.
I’ve paid more than $250 this year for venison processing, which doesn’t include the gas purchased to drive to my hunting spots and any other costs associated with the seasons. The latter costs have been minimal since I have enough gear, but there have been some.
Yep, that’s a lot of money for cutting up and prepping venison. I know that. I’m not happy about it, but a couple of things conspired to get to that monetary outlay. One is time, or lack of enough time, to properly debone, clean, prep and package my venison. That’s probably the biggest factor. Another is a lack of ample space at my home, although that’s my fault for having a jammed garage and no work area.
So, those two things can be easily rectified, right? It’ll take some doing but getting my garage in order is priority No. 1 now that my deer season is almost over. I may take our son for one last outing but chances are good that we’ll be focusing on squirrels, rabbits and then turkey season.
The other, finding enough time, is simply one of those things that requires making the time. With kids’ activities, work, and other things, setting aside an afternoon or evening can be difficult sometimes to break down a deer and get everything done, then cleaned up and discarded. But that’s part of the process. I don’t dislike that process … in fact, I rather enjoy doing my own work. Next season, I’ll be better prepared — with space, and setting aside dedicated time — to handle my venison prep.
So, for the $250 (or more, if we happen to kill one or two more deer) spent this year at the processor, what are some things could I buy for my home processing? Glad you asked.
Chopping block — A good chopping block, or cutting board, is a solid investment not only for your meat prep but other kitchen prep. Having a stable surface on which you can trim meat, cut backstraps and debone a hindquarter is a good investment. Professional chefs use a wooden board that lasts for years and won’t ruin your knives. See This Board
Knives — I’ve trimmed venison, and other meat, with a variety of knives over the years, from folding pocket knives to old trusty kitchen blades to nicer knives with specific purposes. My father was a butcher and I didn’t understand, way back when, why he had so many different knives. But each has a purpose – cutting, trimming, breaking down big portions. Keep them sharp, don’t put them in the dishwasher, and they’ll last for years. See These Knives
Electric Grinder — One of the benefits of paying a processor is they have the equipment for doing specific tasks, including grinding venison for burger or sausage. But you can do your own grinding at home with a Weston #8 Electric Grinder, a heavy-duty 575-watt model that also includes a sausage unit to make your own sausages. It’s something you need. See This Grinder
Vacuum sealer — Yes, wrapping meat in butcher paper will work in the freezer. But you can do better by investing in a Weston Vacuum Sealer Professional Advantage sealer. How? Because it has superior components, an angled vacuum chamber opening to prevent liquids from entering the vacuum chamber, and a fan-cooled motor to keep from overheating. Whether you’re storing burger, snack sticks or bigger cuts, this is the way to do it. See This Sealer
Smoker — Man, oh, man … smoked venison. Slow-cooked shoulders for pulled venison sandwiches. Fooling around with different wood chips for flavor, or liquids such as beer or bourbon and different rubs. You can smoke venison or other meats year-round, or create your own sausages, too, and be the envy of your friends. See This Smoker
Sounds good, no? If you’re tired of paying a processor, even though they’re good folks and do a good job, and want to handle your own venison processing, make plans now and be ready before deer season gets here in autumn.