Meat Processing

This post is late, some days it seems nothing can get done and on other days when the end of the day comes I’m so exhausted it’s hard to do anything. The plan is to have a post every day except Sunday but yesterday was so exhausting I figured if a post was made it would have all sorts of problems so this one is late.

With a homestead it is likely that at some point meat will be processed. Of course there are many different ways to get different cuts. With chicken normally we just clean them and have them whole in the freezer, I did start canning them a few weeks ago.

What I am going to comment on is grinding meat. Yesterday was a successful hunt so something had to be done with the deer. If you don’t hunt you may have goats, cattle, sheep or another animal you buy, raise, or are given.

Before I got married  normally I did roasts with the deer, they were good but hard to go through with four roasts and the tenderloins by myself. Now we have a meat grinder and almost all of the deer gets ground.

Probably everyone has heard about the odd taste deer has, or that it is gamey (sp?). The same thing is true for goats, sheep, and grass fed beef. One of the things we have to remember is there is a reason beef cows eat a diet of corn for 6 months before slaughter, that reason is so they all taste the same. When an animal has free choice of food the meat is going to taste different depending on what it eats.

If you don’t like the different taste from animals like deer normally you can get around that through proper cooking. By proper cooking I mean figure out what you like. We have a tendency to do everything the same, make burgers with ground meat for an example, but different meat is not the same as a cow that has been fed corn for six months on a concrete slab.

People often want deer burgers, deer doesn’t have enough fat by itself to do burgers and personally I don’t like them. The way we have figured we eat deer the most is ground and in anything you would use ground beef for except patties. It works really well for chili, tacos, lasagna, etc. When used this way and cooked well there is very little if any distinction in flavor. Sometimes I think ground deer is better in these things but I don’t know why, that is there isn’t such a different taste that it can be specifically noticed as the meat. We have often used it when guests ate it and they didn’t know it wasn’t beef and they really liked the meal even though they were not wild game eaters.

As previously said I didn’t have a meat processor until I got married, it was frustrating searching for a grinder and they were all expensive. My wife brought a KitchenAid stand mixer into the marriage and it is great!

The grinder attachment is an additional accessory. This is not the biggest or strongest mixer. If you were grinding all of the time it probably wouldn’t be great but it has worked well for us so far, the stand mixer has been grinding meat for five years now and no problems. The only thing to consider is that the blade has to be cleaned regularly, I normally clean it after each quarter processed or an equivalent amount of meat. If you look in the larger picture on the meat you can see the white, the membranes on the meat, ligaments and tendons should be removed as much as possible. The mixer will grind them but the blade clogs up faster the more of those things that go through. Cleaning the blade only takes 30 seconds or so, cleaning regularly actually makes the processing faster and doesn’t wear on the machine as much.

The mistakes we made starting out were not cleaning the blade regularly and not cutting off the thicker white parts on the meat, after we started doing that it worked very well.

I’m sure that there are better processors out there but the KitchenAid stand mixer and meat grinder attachment works well for an all purpose tool in the kitchen.

Author: millcreekhomestead

Just a stay at home Dad trying to become more self sufficient in a world getting more dependent. It’s easy to get lost in all the things of the world, sometimes the best therapy is getting your hands dirty and growing something good!

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