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Hang your deer from the top of the neck or from the horns so that the neck is about at eye level.  Then cut the skin around the neck and down under the front legs to your sternum cut.  Starting at the neck, pull down on the skin, moving around the neck to take a new hold whenever the skin  gets difficult to separate from the meat.  If you intend to use the neck roast you should start your skinning higher on the neck than in

the  picture.  A pair of large pliers or lock pliers can be useful in starting the skinning process because the underside of the skin is slippery.

Continue pulling the skin down until the skin begins to come down the front legs.  Then alternate pulling the skin at the back and then at the front legs until the front legs are skinned down slightly past the knees.  Cut off the front legs at the knees with a saber saw or saws-all. 

Continue pulling the skin down and over the rump.  Cut off the tail and pull the

skin down the legs past the first joint to the second joint, then cut off the hind legs with a saw.  You are ready to quarter the deer.

Take off the front leg quarters first.  Cut around the outline of the legs.  If you are unsure of where to separate the leg from the body, move the leg up and down and all that part that moves should come off with the leg.  The leg is separated from the body at the shoulder blade.  No cutting of bone is required.

Next remove the hind quarters.  Since the fat on a deer is almost exclusively on the outside of the carcass, you will have to peal it off from the rump before removing the hind legs.  Cut from the front of the leg up around the rump and separate it at the hip by cutting the cartilage around the joint.

The back strap can be removed while hanging, but twisting of the carcass is often troublesome.  If you have a large work space it is easier to do while on a flat surface.  Cut the carcass down at the neck with a saw.  The back strap is a strip of muscle running on each side of the spine from the neck to the rump.  It is one of the most savory pieces of meat on a deer.  Cut all along the spine bone.  Insert your thumb or fingers into the cut and run them up and down the back, tearing the meat from the bone.  Loosen the muscle from the neck to the rump, and then cut it off at the two ends.  This can be frozen in meal size chunks and sliced for steak when thawed.  It makes a delicious marinated steak using the marinade recipe on this site, or with teriyaki sauce

The author is no butcher, and there may be better ways to go about processing the meat.  What follows is a good way to cut up your deer, not necessarily the best way.  Starting with the hind quarters, peal off the fat and connective tissue on the surface. Separate the muscle groups by inserting the thumb into the intersections marked by connective tissue and along with a knife remove each muscle.  The large muscles can be utilized either as steak or roasts.  Smaller pieces and smaller muscles are cut into pieces about 1/2 to 3/4" square for stew meat.  Smaller scraps are set aside for grinding.  The small muscle groups in the lower part of the leg are wrapped in connective tissue and a lot of gristle like layers run through the muscle.  These can be salvaged by cutting the muscle lengthwise and scraping the meat from the connective tissue and gristle.  With your blade perpendicular to the meat scrape the meat off.

The rump contains a lot of good stew meat.  It is important to remove almost all of the fat from your venison because the fat has the strong gamey taste (so I have been told--I remove all fat for health reasons).  The ground venison does not make good hamburgers because it does not hang together when cooked.  Some people mix pork with the ground venison to give it more fat and then it will cook as a patty rather than falling apart.

2007 Bow Hunter's Advantage

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