Even among hunters, butchering is often the point of disconnect between hunted animal and food on the plate. Whether from lack of knowledge, time or resources – real or imagined – this is a job many hunters feel comfortable handing off to a processor, even though it’s where the magic happens. On the butchering table, your harvested animal is turned into choice cuts for your dinner table, making it a step best left for your hands.
When butchering game, a sanitary workspace and high-quality tools are vital.
The connection hunters experience with their food has been well-discussed in this book, and it can’t be overstated during the butchering process. You start this process with things like hindquarters, shoulders and backstraps and end it with things like steaks, roasts and burger. Your pre-season planning, hours of honing your shooting skills, the hunt itself, the field dressing and pack out – these all begin to manifest themselves into dinner-ready cuts.
Not only are you strengthening the connection with your food, but you retain complete control over what touches it and how it’s cared for. There won’t be any wondering if the meat in your freezer is from your animal or someone else’s, no questioning how long it was left out or contemplating the cleanliness or ethics of the butchering facility.
If you have a family, the lessons learned and bonds built around the butchering table are ones that will stick with everyone for years. When the entire family pitches in, everyone gets to feel like they contributed to meals down the road. And that’s a feeling that can’t be replaced.
If you’ve been handing your downed game to someone else for butchering in the past, try a do-it- yourself approach this season. You’ll find the rewards are gratifying and plentiful beyond measure.
1. DAILY VITAMINS
Venison is a good source of niacin, riboflavin, vitamins B6 and 12, phosphorus, zinc and thiamin.
2.THE HEART OF THE MATTER
Because it contains so much less cholesterol than beef, it’s a better option for your heart’s health.
3. NATURAL SELECTION
Animals born, raised and killed in their natural environment are free of injected chemicals.
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