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Thread: Carcass and butchery logistics: how do you do it?

  1. #1

    Carcass and butchery logistics: how do you do it?

    I'm about to move houses, and in late April will go on my first couple of stalks with Sikamalc (if my legs don't fall off, as mentioned previously...), and have been giving quite a lot of thought to the logistics of turning a roe deer into meat in my semi-detached London flat. This has been resolved for me as my wife told me in no uncertain terms earlier this evening that there was no way in hell that I was butchering a dirty great deer at home. Well, she does give me pretty much all the leeway I want generally, so I suppose that it's only fair that I try not to cover the new house in blood.

    There appears to be a size problem: she can tolerate my dealing with rabbits, woodcock, ducks and so on in the kitchen because it's pretty unobtrusive, and within under an hour everything's cleaned up and there's just meat in the freezer. But admittedly, a 20kg roe is more involved, visible and probably smellable. Essentially, this particular point is not up for discussion.

    Now I know that if I don't bring a deer home, it's going to a game dealer so it's ethically sound, but damn it, I've always made a point of eating what I killed, although I've never killed something that yielded 12kgs of meat, so that's a fair consideration. I can't be alone in this sort of situation. I've done DSC1, so technically, I could hand a carcase for a butcher for him to do the work, and buy some of the meat back from him. This would involve a fair amount of previous relationship building I think.

    I still have an option on muntjac though having described them as "the size of a really big hare". I didn't think that "sort of like a labrador" would work as well...

    What do people in comparable situations do, apart from having sensible urban hobbies instead?

  2. #2
    Just tell your Mrs how it`s going to be and don`t be told otherwise!!
    "He who kills sow with piglets empties the forest of boar" My neighbours dad on new years eve 2011.

  3. #3
    Frankly it is a real issue and I have had exactly the same kind of discussion with my wife although, in my case, it has arisen through her increasing dislike of having deer butchered and processed on the kitchen table. Rabbits, pigeons and pheasants are acceptable, but she has a real visceral issue with the deer. I think I may have to go back to butchering them at a friends place or perhaps using the dining room (out of sight out of mind)! The other alternative is to do it on a day when she is going to be out all day and make sure to leave no sign of your activities.

    IMO you really need somewhere outside to do the skinning (which I have) so you may also have an issue there.

    I guess you could have an arrangement with a butcher which would get you the meat you want (for a price). A game dealer might take the carcass from you in return for some meat for, it but it would probably be from another beast.


  4. #4
    Rabbits, pigeons , pheasants or deer are all carcases when dead. I can`t really see the issue.
    I may do things different to some. With Roe i skin my deer in the shed and cut them up on the hook.
    I steak the haunches and portion the back straps, the trim goes into pies or tarrines and my dogs have the shoulders and the non weight bareing bones.
    The whole carcase never enters the kitchen.
    "He who kills sow with piglets empties the forest of boar" My neighbours dad on new years eve 2011.

  5. #5
    You take her out to somewhere like here:
    You both have Fillet of Venison (@ 28 each . . . and possibly some other courses, wines etc.)
    You then explain there is a cheaper way! You buy her Nichola Fletchers book "Ultimate Venison Cookery"

    Seriously, the big problem for you is where to hang it (to allow maturation - ideally at 4C and fly/vermin free) - but maybe you have a stalking friend with a fridge or larder?
    You will have already gralloched the beast on the hill and disposed of feet and head (unless your going to process and mount it yourself . . now that may require a divorce), so all you have to do is skin and butcher it - no blood, guts, mess or smell in the house at all! I prefer to skin mine with them suspended (hanging up), so do that it my garage where I can hang the carcass from a door frame. Then it's into the kitchen with a nice clean (and not that big by now) lump of meat. I learned all my butchery from watching a couple of demonstrations and the BDS DVD's - you'll soon learn, I'm slow but get there in the end. I cover the kitchen table with a heavy duty plastic table-cloth I got in John Lewis, and have a large carving board (short length of plank) that goes under the bit I'm cutting. I break it all down to freezer size bits and all the bones go in a big pot in the slow oven of the AGA for a couple of days (no AGA - that is a problem; no dog either I suppose?). Far less mess, gore and smell than pheasants or rabbits even.
    Probably worth investing some of those muslin cloth bag things for transporting the carcass and a bodybag (heavy duty waterproof black plastic bag - deer stalking equipment suppliers have them) if you are carrying it into the flat, in the lift etc.!

    And I agree, much of the pleasure is taking it the whole way through from hill to table.
    If you can persuade her to let you try it once and she sees and eats the result - Then I'd bet there will be no problem.

    Good luck!


  6. #6
    Any chance you can get it skinned and quartered before you take it home? It should not take too long if you have somewhere suitable to suspend it. Maybe more accepatable to your OH if you brough four or five bags of meat into the house than arriving with a full caracasse slung over your shoulder.

  7. #7
    With practice you can butcher the main joints of a Roe deer in the field quite quickly and cleanly. I have to do this from time to time when I am visiting family and don't want to take a carcass back to their home. Ideally you would suspend the carcass from a tree but I have also done it on the floor as well by pinning out the skin as I remove it to create a clean surface on which to work. Once the skin is off you can take off the shoulders, divide the saddle in two and take the haunches off the hip bones. They all go into resealable bags bit by bit and into a big cool box and the rest can be done at home.

  8. #8
    Chat up your local game dealer or butcher to see if they will joint it for you for a small fee. My game dealer will do all that and vacuum pack the bags for the freezer for me as and when I need it done. I get fillets, diced shoulder mince etc.
    Wait till you take a head home and tell her you are going to boil it in the kitchen!!!!!

  9. #9
    If you are in an upstairs flat then the loft hatch is your friend, along with a good sized groundsheet/tarp to protect the carpet.

    Ask me how I know???

    PS You can also pluck geese/duck/pigeon, by taping the hoover pipe to the side of the kitchen bin and sitting with the bird over the bin.

    You can also hang pheasants/ducks over the bath/shower curtain rail (overnight) if you ever get home late and need to do them the next day. ( just tell the missus to tell her friends that they are there before they go to the loo. ( been there, seen it, done it).

    So glad I've got a garage now

  10. #10
    We were going to get our bucther to process our venison but he was unable to do so because it had not come through a slaughter house ( he is not a game dealer) so we rose to the challenge of doing it ourselves. We hung the carcase in the shed (maximum-minimum thermometer to monitor the temperature) for a week, I then jointed the legs and filleted out the rest of the carcase, then moved it to the kitchen for the missus to process into steaks, burgers & sausages before freezing. If we didn't have the facilities or during Summer I would definately be looking for the use of a cold store to do this work in. atb Tim

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