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Bambi

November 11, 2012

When I was a kid, I’d help my grandparents butcher a steer every fall. I’d watch my parents bring home two quarters and hang them in our cold basement for a few days. Then the big night came of them cutting the meat on the kitchen table, wrapping each piece in butcher block paper and labeling. My job was to put everything in the freezer, spread out so each piece would freeze quickly. I remember my parent’s happiness at having all that meat to feed their growing brood of kids. (Eight as it turned out.) I remember what a wonderful flavor that beef had. No such thing as antibiotics in feed, growth hormones, etc… at least not on my grandfather’s farm.

Fast forward forty years. At first, I became interested in venison because I was going through a divorce and couldn’t afford beef. Someone offered me a deer. I scrounged the money to have it processed and felt ripped off because I only ended up with 25 pounds of meat.  We got used to its flavor though and began to really enjoy it. I felt much better about serving my kids meat that was about as natural as it could get. Since then, I’ve been lucky in the past few years to have friends and neighbors who shoot me a deer or two every fall.  This year, I decided to do the butchering myself.  I studied up on Youtube, bought a knife kit from Walmart, a bunch of freezer paper, tape, and zip lock bags. I was all set.

Last night, my hunter friends brought me a huge buck. I gulped. It’s one thing to see a dead deer up close. It’s another to have to skin and debone it without anyone’s guidance except the two hours I spent on Youtube.  Only one of my daughters hung around, fascinated by the beauty of the animal and had long conversations with it. The others shuddered and took off for parts unknown. I’d set up outdoors on a collapsible six foot table and that deer took up all six feet. It took me an hour to skin it. Then I tried the Walmart handsaw to hack through the ribs. After five minutes, I went and got my Sawz All. Whoo hoo! Power tools- gotta love em. The rest of the process went fairly smoothly and I ended up with three ice coolers full of meat.

I ground up  some of the deer into burger- my grinder is slow and it took a lot of time. Still, I got it all in the freezer by 11:00pm.  93 pounds of meat plus another 20 pounds of bone-in meat for Armenian stews. This evening, another gift- this one a smaller doe. My learning curve is much better. It took me 35 minutes to skin and quarter. No messing with a truculent meat grinder tonight. The doe will go for steaks, roasts, plus tenderloin.

My daughter observed, “Mom, first we made all that applesauce and tomato paste, and now we are getting a freezer full of meat. We are doing really good at stocking up on food.” I could only smile.

 

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Susan Munroe permalink
    November 12, 2012 1:49 pm

    I wouldn’t know where to start, but removing the skin sounds like a good idea.

    Do you hang up venison for ripening (or whatever they call it) like people do with beef?

    Are you going to tan the hide, too?

    Keep going, Tam! You’re doing GREAT!

    Sue

    Like

  2. Kimberly permalink
    November 11, 2012 7:22 pm

    Wow, Tam. You can do anything.

    Like

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