How to Process a Deer - Meatgistics - Wild Game

  • Team Blue Admin Walton's Employee Power User Kansas Dry Cured Sausage

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    How to Process a Deer

    Hang you deer
    Remove the rib muscles
    Processing Back Straps

    At Meatgistics, we know that there are a lot of first-time deer processors. Whether that is by choice or because you cannot find a meat locker that is willing to take it really doesn’t matter. You’ve got your deer gutted, you have let it hang overnight, and you’ve skinned it. What comes next? Well, we had Kurt Ratslaff from Back Country Hunter’s & Anglers (BHA) come in and show us how he does it. BHA is a top-notch organization that specializes in doing the “dirty” work of conservation, cleaning things up themselves! Check them out at

    List of recommended supplies:

    1. Deer Lopper (for legs and neck)
    2. Lamb Skinning Knife
    3. Gambrel
    4. Boning Knives
    5. Meat Lugs


    1. If at all possible, find a place to hang your deer from.
    2. Locate the back strap; they are long muscles running along the spine. Right next to and below that are the ribs; alongside the ribs are a good number of smaller muscles that can easily be cut off and set aside for grinding.
    3. Once you have removed that muscle, swing the carcass, so the animal’s chest is pointed to you. Grab a hold of the leg and locate the seem in between the chest and leg. Begin slicing away the connective tissue in that crease. The connective tissue and muscle are the only things keeping these together; you do not need to cut through any joint to separate them. Make sure you have a place to store this, and be careful not to drop it!
    4. For beginning home processors, we would recommend that you salvage the Backstrap and set it aside; there are plenty of amazing ways to prepare backstrap. All other cuts can be ground up to make snack sticks or summer sausage but take out your backstraps and do what we did with Our Venison Backstrap; trust us, it is worth it.
    5. You are doing this to get as much meat as you can; spend some time removing the smaller cuts that can be ground up later. Slide your knife along the rib bones and just separate small amounts as you go.
    6. Move down and continue removing the meat from the neck
    7. Repeat the process on the opposite side.
    8. Pay special attention to trimming the wound area to get all the clotted blood cut out.
    9. Beginning around the hamstring, continue to separate muscles by finding creases between them and using your knife to cut the connective tissue; right now, you should really just be separating; you don’t want to cut through muscles here. Work your way around to the base of the spine and then up around the hip bone.
    10. Take the muscle that has been separated and flip it up over the legs. Then follow the lines of the bone up the leg towards the hip and remove the large muscle from the hamstring to the hip.
    11. The football roast is Kurt’s favorite part, and he wouldn’t grind this, either. It is a simple muscle to remove; it is on the front of the leg and runs from the knee to the hip.
    12. Continue cutting off small pieces that can be ground up and used for some sort of venison sausage.
    13. Don’t forget the tenderloins!

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  • Team Orange Power User Wisconsin Old-Timer

    As Kurt said, a little different technique, but the end result is pretty much the same.

    Nicely done.

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Meatgistics is brought to you by Walton's ( Meatgistics is a community site, knowledgebase, forum, blog, learning center, and a sharing site. You can find help and ask questions about anything related to meat processing, smoking and grilling meats, plus a whole lot more. Join Austin & Jon from Walton's and sign up for our Meatgistics community today. We have created Meagistics University, where we broke down meat processing into different categories and then broke it down into a class like structure. The introductory classes are 10s, the intermediate are 20s, and advanced are 30s.

About Walton's

Walton's Inc. sells meat processing equipment and supplies, including all of the Seasoning, Equipment, Supplies, Packaging, and Casings needed to make almost any type of sausage. Walton's sells to the commercial customer with a focus on the small to medium-sized processing plants or butcher shops, and directly to the hunter or processor who makes their own product at home. Whether you are a commercial or retail customer of Walton's you will be receiving the exact same seasoning and supplies, we do not have a different "line" for commercial and retail customers so that everyone can make the best sausage or jerky possible!

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