Butchering setups, Outdoor/Farm kitchen setups? Tell me about 'em, or let's see 'em.

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I don't kill a lot of deer, but its slowing getting to be more and more. I find that I spend a considerable amount of time processing each one (probably a full 8 hours by the time you include making sausage). I know I need to look into becoming more efficient at it, but I'm also wondering what I can do to help the processing along beyond just technique.

I do my rough butchering out in my barn/shop, and then finish processing, to include making sausage, in our kitchen. I can continue to do it this way, but wonder the pro's and con's of a more dedicated setup. I picked up a large grinder this fall (LEM 22), and have an old enterprise stuffer that I use to stuff sausage (that I need to get mounted better). I also have a large three bay commercial sink I could enter into the equation. I added an electric smoker a few years ago, and have two old school weber grills - all part of the arsenal I guess.

Also, most of my 'real' cooking is 'in bulk'. I regularly make 30+ pounds of chili at a time, and can a good portion of it. In the summer, I can about 40-50 quarts of peaches. In the fall I can probably 25 quarts of applesauce. I also make a boat load of blueberry jelly every other year. Finally, I extract honey (probably 200 pounds) once a year.

All of which makes a mess of the regular kitchen. The big benefit to the regular kitchen is that its heated and air conditioned. And all the other 'kitchen stuff' is already there. The down side is just the havoc created, and that I'm stuck in a kitchen, inside.

Anybody have a more dedicated place or setup for these types of tasks? Anybody run into the same issues as I do? Anybody setup something that's 'double duty' for these and other tasks/activities (i.e., picnic pavilion, fire pit hang out)? I try to involve my kids (girl 2 and boy 4) in everything, and they always seem attracted to the gore of butchering. My wife is also a big help, and I sometimes feel like I end up taking over her space and make a mess of it, even though we work together to get it cleaned back up.

Feel free to post pics/show up. I'm interested in seeing what others do and how I might improve my own setup for these tasks, or if just sticking to how I'm doing it now is best.
 

Tod osier

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Having a second kitchen is really nice. I put one in for processing in the basement. Big countertop, huge sink, with the freezers right there. It is really nice as you say to not mess the kitchen up or to be able to cook in the kitchen while you process stuff. I plumbed it for gas and was going to add a burner, but I make jelly and pressure can on a turkey fryer that I can put right outside the door and walk a few steps to bring stuff in or out. Not outside, but good windows to have a view.

As far as 8 hours to process a deer, I don’t think that is long depending on what you do. I do a lot of deer and I spend At least that long. I see 1-2-3 hour estimates all the time and for the level of processing I do (breaking down to neat silverskin free roasts, removing all fat from grind, etc...) that isn’t happening in a couple hours. To make sausage on top of that is a few hours.

I have pics, just need some time to get them up here.
 
OP
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Looking forward to your pics Tod, and thanks for the info.

I've also thought of getting a 20 foot container and doing this. I could air condition that (the cold isn't an issue for me, its the heat that drive's me nuts), and possibly turn part of it into a cooler.

As for processing time, yes, most people that I see quote short times are just quartering or not really breaking it down into muscle groups and getting all the fat and sinew/silverskin off. I could stand to improve a bit on some of the basic butchering, but I don't do it often enough to really get good at it. The one part that I'm sure take more time than it should for me is skinning. I'm pretty sure I could set up a better system to skin deer/game than I do at this time which is by hand. I do try to keep the hides in good shape though, as one of my goals in hunting is to use everything I can.

That said, try as I may, I cannot make a deer liver turn out well to save my life. But that's another thread...
 

rayporter

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at one time we had a real system where we would do 5 and 6 a night.

had a v shaped trough 30 inches high we laid the deer in and skinned back the legs and stomach. this was right under a hoist. the skin was pulled off as we cranked up the deer. 2 of us took off the legs and meat while 2 were deboning. start at dark and eating liver and tenders by midnight. grind the next day.

now 2 of us usually skin and quarter 3 or 4 deer one night. save the neck and backstraps and legs. not long here 2-3hr.

the next day we debone and cube what we are canning. and grind.

we have an old counter top from when my bud got a new kitchen. we put folding legs on it and 2 can sit and debone. it even has a hole to drop the scraps through. and is easy to clean.

that night we wrap the steaks and roasts then grind what's left that is not getting canned. lets say 40 to 50 lb of grind and 60 lb to can. this is all day -maybe 10 hours.

then the last day we can 28 qt.. this takes most of the day even with 2 fish cookers going. figure 8 hours.

then we rest and drink. cause the next day I have 740mi. to drive.

if I am alone and just doing one I will drag it out. hard to guess how long. 8 hr not counting canning is not too far off. I have 14 lb in the freezer still to can. that will add 4 hours to what I have done already.
 

Tod osier

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Here are some shots in use over time (from room not quite finished, but functional, up until this year). Lots of ways to do it, but this has been great for us to have.

Shot from back when it was new and pretty much done building, just needs a few things like trim. Sink is big enough to fit a meat lug in flat on the bottom....


First sausage batch...


This fall...




Brats and Hot Italian....
 
OP
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Nice setup Tod! Looks like you've got the kids right in there, and a cold beverage to boot!

I love the butcher block countertops. That's now a must have if I do something like this.

Many thanks for taking the time to find and post your pics. This was exactly the kind of thing I was hoping to see. Very cool.
 

rayporter

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nice set up tod.

my top is just like it except for the folding legs under the counter top. this lets the counter top be stored against the wall when not in use. we use it in the garage so it cant be permanent.

one thing to consider is whether you want to stand or sit to work. I cant stand and bend over for any length of time.
 

KJH

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I have a similar issue that I'm solving this spring with adding a second kitchen in my shed for meat processing and canning. We're installing a commercial sink, 22ft of counter space for equipment, and a used commercial range top. I was able to buy used stainless counter tops and equipment from a school that was remodeling their kitchen.




.
 

NJDiverDan

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I have my butchering area set up in my shop. I have a 3 basin commercial sink that I got from a guy who salvages restaurants. I also made a 4X8 table with a 3/4 in Melamine top which is on locking wheels. Even though this cleans up well, I still cover it with cheap butcher paper while we are working. I also have several large cutting boards (biggest is 2x4, smallest 1.5X3). Each person cutting gets their own board so no one moves something and causes an accident.

Best thing I added was the 6X8X10 walk in cooler. I made this with a Cool Bot controller and a window AC unit. Great so that we can hang meat, then take our time butchering.

Grinders, stuffers, dehydrator, slicer and vacuum sealer are all stored on a work bench in a L shape to the sink, but are brought out as needed. Oh and a big chest freezer as well.

Also have a 880 lb electric hoist in the rafters. Most the time we are working with game that has been quartered in the field, but sometimes one gets brought in whole.
 
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