Time to process an elk?

Customweld

Well Known Rokslider
Joined
Sep 13, 2016
Messages
930
Location
Idaho
I’ve tested when hunting in CWD areas. But I’ve also been known to eat a tenderloin before the results came back.

Sounds like our 12 hour time is pretty common for an elk. My wife does all of the cutting and she is super careful and doesn’t waste much. We even save and wrap scraps for the dogs. It seems like there is still plenty to do while she is cutting and I’m taking a break from wrapping: sharpen knives, saw bones, tear tape….
We save our scraps for the dogs and run them through the grinder at the end. I usually put the scrap grindings in the 1 pound plastic bags from Waltons. It’s great for the dogs and they get to enjoy elk and deer all year too!
 

KoolBreeze

Well Known Rokslider
Joined
Jul 2, 2016
Messages
320
The authorities here are recommending that you handle the deer with latex gloves and soak everything in a 50/50 bleach solution for an hour after processing. I can wear the gloves and soak the knives in the bleach solution, that's no problem. But everything that comes in contact with the meat? That seems just about impossible considering grinder parts, tenderizer parts, cutting board, counter tops, sink and etc without some sort of dedicated processing area. But maybe I'm overthinking it?

I had not thought about freezing it, thawing it post-test and then processing it though. I might try that next time.

And yes, there is no evidence it transfers to humans. But I've read it has infected monkeys that ate the infected meat. That's a little to close for comfort for me. I'm old and gray and not as worried about it for myself as am for my kids and grandkids.
 
OP
zion zig zag

zion zig zag

Well Known Rokslider
Joined
May 16, 2020
Messages
794
We save our scraps for the dogs and run them through the grinder at the end. I usually put the scrap grindings in the 1 pound plastic bags from Waltons. It’s great for the dogs and they get to enjoy elk and deer all year too!
Damn, I wish I would’ve thought to grind the dogs food. I’ll definitely do that from now on.
 

elkguide

Well Known Rokslider
Joined
Jan 26, 2016
Messages
4,220
Location
Vermont
From a whole elk in the back of the pickup to meat in the freezer and crawling in to bed, my buddy and I used up 4 1/2 hours. We did have to not cut up one front quarter that was too bloodshot, so make that 5 hours for the two of us.
 

LickyLicky

Junior Member
Joined
Mar 17, 2018
Messages
12
Time always varies depending on how clean the meat is, how much is bloodshot, the size of grinder borrowed and the soberness of the assembly line we create with friends. Usually get it done in a long afternoon/evening.
 

Rich M

Well Known Rokslider
Joined
Jun 14, 2017
Messages
2,835
Location
Orlando
I can do a 600# beef cow in about 10-12 hours from the gun shot. Mostly grind and cube steaks. Wife helps w quartering and wrapping. I can do deer much faster.

Id say you’re doing good. All thats really gonna change is deciding which cuts deserve to be strategically made and which ones you just blow thru.

A .75 or 1 hp grinder will save more time too. I knew a guy w a 5 hp grinder. Swore he just got it started and the deer was done.

Its all part of the process and i enjoy processing. We also can part of the meat. Cube it and pressure can, comes out great.
 
Last edited:
OP
zion zig zag

zion zig zag

Well Known Rokslider
Joined
May 16, 2020
Messages
794
Anybody have recommendations for a book or chart that has detailed pictures/descriptions of different cuts. I label so much stuff steak/roast when it’d be nice to know actual names of the cuts.
 

huck

Well Known Rokslider
Joined
Dec 28, 2021
Messages
258
My wife and I can do an elk in about 4.5 hrs, but we have a good setup ,meat saw, 3phase grinder, i wont even start it for a deer ,2 big tables,lots of meat tubs and cutting boards. I also used to cut meat for a living.The main thing to keep in mind is that its all part of gift of being able to eat your own food that you harvest ed and processed start to finish , so it really doesnt matter how long it takes as long as its good and its fun .
 

Wetwork

Well Known Rokslider
Joined
Feb 4, 2021
Messages
115
Location
Eastern Orreeegon
Two seasons ago I built a coolbot walk in cooler. Nothing real fancy but I can hang two full elk and two bucks at the same time. This changed everything for me. No rushing, so we let the critter hang for around ten days then spend a weekend processing. Chamber sealer and we pressure can all lesser cuts of meat. Like the legs and such. From the sound of it grinding meat into buger is real time consuming compared to canning. Canning frees up freezer space since you don't have to freeze or refrigerate it. And trust me it's so good canned it doesn't last long.-WW
 

JiminAZ

Member
Joined
Dec 23, 2020
Messages
50
Location
Phoenix, AZ
I do it (mostly alone) in three sessions. First I spend maybe 4-5 hours taking the aged meat off the bone, cleaning up blood shot/fat and separating into muscle groups. Meat goes in stainless bowls by type (hamburger, roast, jerkey, sirloin/backstrap/tenderloin) and into the refrigerator. At this point everything is cleaned up and trimmed out.

Next session I cut meat into meal sized portions (in our house most meals start with 4 lb meat), and vac pac. Maybe 2-3 hours.

Final session I grind burger and vac pack. Again maybe 3 hours. I usually have help for the burger.

I am really meticulous and fussy with the process, so I'd say I'm on the longer side time wise.

All the bones go in bags in the freezer and my wife will make bone broth - another full afternoon project.
 

Wapiti1

Well Known Rokslider
Joined
Sep 18, 2017
Messages
2,967
Location
Indiana
My wife and I take about 6 hours if I don't grind right then. Add an hour to grind and another to package the ground goodies. I'll freeze the trim and grind later if I have other animals to process later in the year. Then grind all at once.

We both start cutting, then one will vacuum pack while the other cuts. She was a butcher's daughter and can freddy krueger an animal very efficiently. One other item we use is a bandsaw for some cuts that you don't normally see like shoulder blade steaks, and hind quarter slices. Also makes shanks easy, and if you get one bone in, backstrap chops.

Jeremy
 

TreeWalking

Well Known Rokslider
Joined
Sep 22, 2014
Messages
161
I used to do my own elk processing but have come to the conclusion the most cost effective thing is to bone out the elk to get it off the mountain, then take the meat to the local butcher for processing. Keep the back straps and let them cut the roasts and grind the burger.

Why spend a whole day messing with it when we can pay a pro to cut and wrap it for a couple hours of wages.
I take a lot of pride in keeping hair and dirt off as much of the meat as can in the field then getting the meat off the mountain and processed. I trim silver skin and end up with a lot of clean, red meat. I just don't think a butcher cares as much as I do. That is why I put in the effort after the kill rather than scratch a check.
 

cgasner1

Well Known Rokslider
Joined
Mar 12, 2015
Messages
809
I put the quarters and straps in a fridge in my garage and ratchet strap it shut. 7 days later I open the fridge up and start cutting it’s about 10 hours to cut and vacuum seal my steaks. My grind goes to a shop in town and he grinds what you bring him doesn’t care what it is or how dirty or clean. You get your meat back from him only guy in town that you will


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

Pony Soldier

Well Known Rokslider
Joined
Dec 31, 2021
Messages
395
Location
Montana
Since my home is typically so cold, I usually have to leave half an elk on the kitchem table fo two days before I cam cut it up. Once started it takes about 3 hrs per half - cut, wrapped and in the freezer.

I bone out the meat and the hamburger meat goes double bagged into a 5 gal bucket. On half an elk there is about as much hamburger meat as there is steaks and roasts. I keep a separate freezer for the bulk frozen hamburger meat. By storing in the bags in bulk, the freezer burns are minimal. Every couple years, I pull 250-300 lbs of frozen meat out and deliver it to my local processor in August to grind it and store it in 1.5 lb airtight bags. I bring that home to my hamburger freezer for the family.

I only use my band saw on my pigs. Largely for ribs. The rest is boned and cut like the elk.

Takes about 3 hrs for a deer and a pigs. I killed a beef last summer. Slightly larger than a large bull elk but only took a little longer.

By having my processor grind the meat in August, its the off season and I get my hamburger back.
 

AaronMColeman

Well Known Rokslider
Joined
Nov 20, 2018
Messages
887
Location
Wyoming
Processing big game at home shouldn’t be a ‘timed event’.

Take as little or as much time you need. Enjoy it.
This is the answer I like best. I put on an old movie or some music, have a friend over and we make a day of it. With a buddy, I can do an elk in about 6 hours from pulling it off the hanging rack to wrapped and in the freezer.

Solo DIY I can do an elk in about 6-7 hours...ususally done in 2 sittings.
 
Joined
Jan 18, 2022
Messages
62
I like to do it over the process of a few days - I generally do one quarter per day, or a hind each day and the fronts on the same days. Seems like it makes the experience more enjoyable and less of a slog.

I also generally do some of my burger right away while the quarters age, and then do another set of burger from the parts of the shoulders and hind legs that don't look like roast/steak material.

I figure it takes me like 8 hours to do an Elk alone.
 

Dos Perros

Well Known Rokslider
Joined
Jul 30, 2015
Messages
3,344
Location
Lenexa, KS
I get the 'wanting to enjoy the process' attitudes, but, at least for me, if I'm having to butcher an elk, it means I've already spent a week away from my family and job, and once I'm home I'm re-inserted fully into the meat grinder of life...butchering is done (usually alone) after the kids go to bed, from 8PM to 2AM, until it's all done. That gets old pretty quick.
 
Top