Save a bundle by processing own deer meat

Turn meat into tasty sausage

Many deer hunters are shocked at how much it cost to process a deer, even though they enjoy the luxury of having the meat processor debone the deer and turn it into ground meat, burritos, tamales and assorted sausages.

The deer meat returns in vacuum packs ready for the freezer, but the price can be high.

“I hunted in Kentucky and managed to bring home four deer from our lease. My bill was $800 [to process the deer] after all was said and done,” Pete Cassagne said.

A week ago, I returned from a Texas hunt with five deer. The discussion with Cassagne made me think about investing in a good meat grinder. For years, I have wanted to make my own ground meat and deer sausage. I called a friend who gave me instructions and let me borrow his meat grinder.

For my first batch, which included 30 pounds of meat, the grinder sucked it down in less that 10 minutes and I was ready to start stuffing the casing.

I was so impressed that I purchased a 1 horsepower grinder at Cabela’s for $505. Then I went to Majoria’s Supermarket in Boutte, which has all the seasonings and casings plus the best price on Boston butt to make your own sausage.

Majoria’s also sells seasoning packs from Deep South Brand. The packs are measured to process 25 pounds of meat at a time. The popular seasonings are green onion, Cajun and pork, but my family enjoys the green onion seasoning the most.

After all was said and done, I was able to process a deer for around $50.

The advantages of making your own sausage are tremendous. First, you process your own deer meat immediately and you don’t have to wait two weeks. During the processing, cooked meat also allows you to add additional seasoning to meet your taste.How to process deer meat into sausage:1. Debone and clean deer meat.2. Cut up deer meat and boston butt into 2-inch cubes.3. Place 12 ½ pounds of deer meat and 12 ½ pounds of boston butt in pans and sprinkle the seasoning pack onto the meat.4. Add 8 ounces of water to 12 ½ pounds of meat and mix well, or 16 ounces of water to 25 pounds of meat.5. Refrigerate to marinate and chill for one hour.6. Wash out casing twice.7. Grind the meat after one hour. The coldness firms the meat to grind.8. Use the water from the meat during stuffing.9. The 1hp has two grinding plates, 7mm coarse and 4.5mm fine. The 4.5mm is a good selection for one grind.10. Outfit the grinder with the desired funnel and high speed auger.11. Use the 20mm funnel for stuffing and slide onto the funnel.12. Place the ground meat in the top tray and turn the grinder on. 13. Make your sausage and clean the grinder.

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