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First and I think most important, butcher the deer yourself. It is not that difficult and no way mysterious. Once you get started removing the meat from the bone it is all self explanatory. The biggest problem with butchers is they rely too much on the saw. The gamey taste that so many complain about is not in the red meat. It is in the velum between the folds and muscle groups, in the fat, and in the bone marrow. When you simply run a quarter of venison through a saw you are using the best tool for distributing the gamey taste to every cut it comes in contact with.

There is no steak on the shoulder. Trying to make steak of any cut other than the backstrap or hind quarter sets you up for dissappointment. The shoulder is excellent meat and after being boned should be cubed up for excellent stew meat or sausage if you like.

The backstrap speaks for itself. Simply bone along the backbone ridge and off of the ribs. The best way of butchering the hind quarters is to first remove them one at a time from the pelvic bone. It will take some experience to remove the quarters cleanly. But don't worry about your first efforts, whatever you botch up makes excellent stew meat to add to your shoulder. Once you have the removed quarter examine it. There are lines to follow for undoing the muscle groups. Use the tip of a fillet knife and slit along these lines and pull with your other hand to separate the muscles from one another along the vellum folds. The entire quarter will come apart this way. Some of the muscles will be flat and diagonal, some will be round and straight. But all will be separated from each other by the gray vellum that allows the muscles to slide against each other as the animal moves. Use this vellum as your road map to disassemble the quarter.

Once you have separated the major groups, slice the steaks perpendicular (across) to the grain. This is the advantage you have over a butcher. A butcher will simply stiffen the quarter in the freezer and run the whole works through the saw. It is a sure bet that over 80% of the quarter will be sawn at an angle to the grain and not perpendicular.

Your steaks will be made up of one muscle. When thawed any remaining vellum will be on the outside edge and easily removed, which you should always do. A sawn steak will be comprized of many muscles usually in small pieces all with vellum in between. This vellum is what makes the difference between gourmet and dog meat.

Take the plunge. Do it yourself! You'll throw rocks at butchered venison from then on.

ammohead
 
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