Butchering deer legs needn't be difficult, as long as you prepare properly. After killing your deer, you'll need to field dress it and hang it in a cool, dry place for at least five days. Butcher your deer using only the sharpest of knives, as dull knifes may cause accidents or extend the time it takes to break it down. As you butcher your deer, remove any silverskin you might find, as this will make your deer meat exceedingly tough. Finally, if chronic wasting disease, or CWD, is prevalent in your region, you may wish to refrain from butchering and consuming your deer altogether, as this deer disease can also affect humans.
- Skill level:
Things you need
- Spray bottle
- Paper towels
- Several sharp knifes
- Whet stone
- Skinned, halved deer carcase
- Cutting board
- Garbage bags
- Sealable plastic bags
- Black marker
Prepare for butchering deer legs by making a clean butchering area. Dilute one part bleach in 10 parts water, and pour it into a spray bottle. Prior to butchering, clean your knives, cutting board and counter with this solution. You can also use it to keep your tools and butchering area sterile during the butchering process. Make sure to have several rolls of paper towels on hand to mop up any stray blood.
Find the rear leg joint on each side of the deer carcase -- they should be fitted into the deer's hip sockets. Cut around the joints to separate the rear legs from the carcase. Using your hacksaw, cut the rear legs just above the knee, and discard the lower leg meat in a garbage bag.
Using your knife, cut the upper portions of the rear deer legs into uniformly thick steaks. If necessary, use your hacksaw to cut through the bones. As the lower halves of the rear deer legs are tougher than the upper portions, leave these halves intact, reserving them for roasting. Also known as a "Denver roast," this venison cut lends itself well to braising recipes.
Separate the front legs from the carcase by cutting your knife into the round part of the legs where they meet the chest cavity of the deer. Remove them from the carcase and slice diagonally into two hams.
After you have finished butchering your deer legs, pat the cuts dry with paper towels and place them in sealable plastic bags, labelling each one by cut type and date butchered. Freeze until ready to use. Sterilise your tools and butchering area thoroughly with bleach solution.
Tips and warnings
- To find out if CWD is prevalent in your part of the country, contact a local gaming agency.
- As you carve your deer legs, sharpen your knifes as needed on a whet stone.
- Tenderise deer meat by marinating it for eight to 24 hours. Thyme, garlic, juniper, black pepper and bay leaves all complement venison well. Use olive oil and red wine in your marinating solution.
- When hanging deer, make sure that the place it is hanging has a temperature below 50F. Otherwise, your deer could spoil.
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