Do you process meat yourself or have it commercially processed?

Process yourself or take it to the processor?

  • Do it myself

    Votes: 42 56.8%
  • Take it to the processor

    Votes: 4 5.4%
  • Some combination; I do some and drop some off

    Votes: 28 37.8%

  • Total voters
    74

Becca

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We've been fortunate enough to put some critters in the freezer already this season, which is IMO one of the biggest benefits of hunting. Hunting season is pretty fast a furious for us, and so in past years we have typically dropped our meat off at a local game shop for processing. This year we ended up doing my Dall sheep at home, and helped our friends to process a bull moose they split with us. Doing it ourselves was a lot of work, but we saved some money and had control over the whole process.

I did the sheep in the kitchen, it only took a couple of hours and I did all steaks and roasts:






Luke and Blake processing the moose, which took 14 hours start to finish. We did steaks, roasts, and burger, as well as ground sausage-- chorizo, breakfast and Italian.




We took our caribou to the game shop to have it made into cured sausage like hotdogs, pepperoni sticks and salami, all products we have had from them before that we're excellent in the past.

I wonder what the rest of you do with the meat you bring home, as there are obvious advantages and disadvantages to each option. Do you do it yourself, or pay an expert? Some combination?
 
Last edited:

swat8888

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There is no way I'll ever take my meat to get cut/wrapped/frozen again...such a rip what they charge for that. I will cut up and vaccum seal all the good pieces of meat that I plan on cooking as steaks, roasts, etc. I do still pay as astronomical price to get some hunter sticks & summer sausage made, in the future I'd like to get a meat grinder and smoker and figure out how to make my own burger, sticks, brats, etc. I get more satisfaction out of doing it myself anyhow, plus I'm a huge cheapskate.
 

JG358

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I do all my own processing. Ive tried a couple different butchers over the years and have never been very happy with the results. Up front cost sucks but I feel its well worth it in the long run.
 

ScottR_EHJ

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Time is far and away my biggest constraint. I will always process my own if I have the time, but if not it will be headed to the processor. The place I take it to does a good job, and don't complain if the boned out meat is a little ugly...
 
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Becca

Becca

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Time is far and away my biggest constraint. I will always process my own if I have the time, but if not it will be headed to the processor. The place I take it to does a good job, and don't complain if the boned out meat is a little ugly...

Time is our biggest constraint too, as we often have trips planned back to back, or only have a day before going back to work. Our local processor does an excellent job, and I take meat to her with full confidence that we will get our meat back and that the product will be excellent. It really becomes a question of whether I want to save the time or save the money. I really do like doing things myself when possible, but I am not sure I want to invest the time/equiptment to do the cured sausages myself...
 

Yellowknife

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Pretty much do it all myself. Broke down last year and had a quarter of a moose done by the pro's but only because my wife was due to deliver our daughter that week.

I usually cut up several animals a year with friends and/or family. I own half of a 1 hp meat grinder with a friend, and we have processed something like 20 caribou and moose through that thing in the last 5 years.

To me, the cutting portion is part of the hunt as a whole. Can't imagine just dropping it off with somebody else. It can be a massive amount of work with multiple animals hanging, but everyone chips in, including the whatever kids are around, and it gets done.

Yk
 

JNDEER

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I don't kill lots of animals ever year, but for the one or two I do kill I process them myself.

I wanted to take it to the butcher, but in CA where I live they are not cheap. $100 off the top (even if you bring them the meat de-boned) + per lb. of what ever you want done to it.

I can take our little blacktail deer and have it cut up in about an hour. Some steaks, roast, ribs, and the rest into a bag to be ground up. I will take the animals I kill, grind them up and mix them together. I will than either make my own jerky, brekfast sausage, or burger useing the mixes you can buy at the store. I will do the jerky in a cheap walmart dehydrator or in the oven.

I tried to wrap the meat and to use the vacuum, but in the end I just use a good freezer Zip lock bag and it works just fine.
 

BuckSnort

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I have always done it myself.. I take my time and cut all of the fat and silver skin off of the meat and try to get as much pure clean meat as possible, the rest goes through the grinder and made into summer sausage..

If I was on an out of state hunt and killed a critter on the first day I might take it to a butcher just for the fact of him/her keeping it frozen till I'm ready to go home..

Becca, I haven't killed a critter in 3 years, you're pics of the processed meat makes me really miss having game in my freezer lol...
 

Slim Jim

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I have been processing my own meats for about four years now. The last time I took my meat to the butcher about five years ago I think that I was taken for a fool. All I got back was a small box of meats mostly burger and that is counting my salami sticks. I found out that I can just purchase salami sticks during hunting season for the same price as if I was having my own meat salamid and processed through them. Why is it the same price and why only is it during hunting season unless maybe they using other peoples game meat? Just saying
 

>>Lefty>>

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Generally we (the guys I hunt with) process ourselves, all cuts, ground, sausage etc.. Have all of the commercial equipment for vacuum sealing and what not. Used to use stretch wrap and butcher paper, but the vacuum is faster, lasts longer in the freezer, and you see exactly what you are thawing out for dinner. But as others have noted, sometimes time is a constraint, and we take to a processor. Mixed results from different processors, but one common trait is the expense, quite costly.
 

belly-deep

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I like to cut my own steaks. I take the scraps in to have them ground and mixed or turned into sticks, etc.
 
Joined
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Yakima, WA
We do our own processing. Steaks and roasts are prepped so they can be thawed and cooked right out of the freezer. The grind and jerky meat go into 2# packages for future use. We will grind 5-10# at time for burgers, spaghetti, tacos, sausage, etc.
One of my backcountry buddies is a master sausage maker, so we've started doing our own breakfast and summer sausage with his guidance and recipes. We also cure and smoke our own jerky.
 

Beastmode

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Both. Most of time I just flat out don't have the time. Working in the line of work I'm in I work all hours of the day and night so most of my spare time is spent with the wife and kids or sleeping. When I have the time I love doing it myself as then I know all the steaks and roasts are trimmed the way I like and ready to eat.
 
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I like the satisfaction of doing it myself. Always have and most likely always will. The price of the equipment pays for itself very fast.
 

actionshooter

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I do my own steaks and take the scraps in for burger and some peperoni if I have enough left over. I will make some of my own jerky.
 

Cindy Wamsley

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We process some of it ourselves, take some of it to the best jerky maker I know IMHO and have some of it processed by the packer if needs be. Just depends on time and cash really. Thankfully, where I live we have a cannery where we can take whatever food we want and can it ourselves. I love it because it allows versatility in the finished product. Some in cans, some in the freezer and some jerked. I'm a big fan of the canned meat. There are so many things you can make with it and it is fast and convenient. I've even dehydrated some of it and put it in homemade backpacking meals.
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Becca

Becca

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We process some of it ourselves, take some of it to the best jerky maker I know IMHO and have some of it processed by the packer if needs be. Just depends on time and cash really. Thankfully, where I live we have a cannery where we can take whatever food we want and can it ourselves. I love it because it allows versatility in the finished product. Some in cans, some in the freezer and some jerked. I'm a big fan of the canned meat. There are so many things you can make with it and it is fast and convenient. I've even dehydrated some of it and put it in homemade backpacking meals.
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Not to divert from the original thread, but I would love to hear more about what you do with canned meat Cindy. I started pressure canning fish a few years ago, and have just started to experiment with canned meat as well. Thinking of doing another batch once hunting season slows down a little (haha). What are your favorite meals using canned meat?
 

TEmbry

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Anchorage AK
I despise processing meat and when available will always have a butcher do it. It turns my moment of triumph into too much of a work session IMO. However, I'll gladly do it myself if need be on say an out of state hunt.
 

Cindy Wamsley

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Not to divert from the original thread, but I would love to hear more about what you do with canned meat Cindy. I started pressure canning fish a few years ago, and have just started to experiment with canned meat as well. Thinking of doing another batch once hunting season slows down a little (haha). What are your favorite meals using canned meat?

Becca,

Single products I've canned at the cannery are beef (stew meat), hamburger, pork, chicken, elk, potatoes and carrots. Combinations I've canned are chicken noodle soup, chili, veggies (potatoes, carrots and celery) and a pudding (like carrot pudding).
Some of our favorite things to do with the canned meat are: enchilada's, chicken and broccoli casserole, quesadilla's, burrito's, bbq sandwiches, pot pie filling over homemade biscuits, a variety of soups, sandwich fillings and chicken rollups. The canned hamburger can be used in any recipe calling for hamburger but we find it best when used with seasonings like tacos, or in soups and casseroles. I'm sure I'm forgetting some of the recipes we use it in but that's a pretty good idea of how we use it. The canned meat is so convenient for any recipe that calls for cooked and shredded meat. It is also very convenient to dehydrate the meat and add it to backpacking meals or take the cans with you when road camping. You mentioned fish, I've talked to some women who've canned their husband's catch and they speak very highly of the canned fish.
 

ohhiitznik

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I process all my own meat. I've got my own grinder, smoker, and big ol chest freezer. Its easier for me to do deer, waterfowl, turkeys etc. Haven't done an elk yet, but I'm planning on it! I've gotten adept at butchering deer and it'll make my elk deboning much easier. Besides, I can make all my own jerky/sausage/ cut my own thickness of steaks and remove all the silver skin etc. All I need now is a vac sealer.
 
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