What meat processing equipment would you never give up?

teddy12b

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Nov 25, 2008
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I've been hunting for years and always took it to a processor. I'm debating on getting into the meat processing side of hunting and doing that myself. I've been looking at a meat slicer so I can start cutting hunks of meat off and then start slicing it up for jerky. Having said that, I haven't made jerky in years and I've never used a meat slicer other than a hunting knife. I know this is something guys really get into so I'm curious what are the meat processing tools that are your go to and things you'd never give up?
 

cburnworth

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I bought a meat slicer & a boning knife last year in prep of deer season. I also have a vac sealer i plan on using. If & when I get out this season and get a deer I will be making biltong instead of regular jerkey. Also look into canning the meat instead of freezing.
 
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JeepHammer

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Above.
Grinder & meat slicer.
Good prep knives are a big plus, along with cleavers.

We have used the older, heavy cast iron grinders, the smaller 'Food Processor' type grinders,
And if you can afford it, the Kitchen Aid with grinding attachment is a very happy medium.

The big old cast iron versions will last forever, but they are a pain in the arse to motorize,
The smaller ones don't hold up very long, grinding heavy meat chunks takes a lot of force.

There are a couple dedicated grinders out there but I haven't personally used them.
They look like they are stainless steel which makes for no rust and fast cleanup.

Its a lot of work, but homemade sausage is SO GOOD!

Most processors add fat to a lot of things because game is very lean, you might want to keep that in mind...
Fat chunks aren't always easy to get ahold of.

A cheap source of food grade stainless for bench tops is old stainless fridges.
Find one someone is scrapping, use sides/doors for bench tops (over subsurface material).

Learning to bone meat is a great deal.
I'm not very good at it, but it's a great skill to have and speeds up all processing.
 

bwframe

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I have only butchered a couple deer, some years back. Being a fair weather hunter that always seems busy with work and such this time of year, my experience is limited.

That said, I wouldn't overthink or overgear until you've been bloody a time or two. You can make due with minimal tools, until you learn what is best for your situation.

I got by without grinding any of my two deer. Put a bunch of great steaks/chops/roasts in the freezer and canned everything else. (Fresh canned venison is a treasure, that you will never get from sending your deer to a processor.)

My deer were taken at opportune times to quickly field dress, cool in inches of snow and age in a temperate pole barn. Best venison I have ever ate, hands down. I will never take another deer to process.

I bought a gambrell/pulley system at Menards. Liked it well enough after use to buy another, that still lives in the package. Covered for two hanging deer at the same time, just in case. I also bought an apron and Kevlar cut proof gloves, that are worn under nitrile gloves. Also a small meat hook as was seen in the YouTube video that was used for butchering direction.

I used a Rapala fillet knife for nearly all the skinning and cutting, as was exampled in the IN DNR deer butchering videos on YT...



 
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Leadeye

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I have one larger slicing knife and three different sized boning knives that do all the work. The Kitchen Aid grinder attachment that JH described does everything we need. Pork fat we save over the year from trimmings.
 

Breeve

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We raise and process our own poultry, and swine. We hunt on regular basis as well. I would say that the most important 2 things I have are a sharp small knife, and a grinder.
 

rooster

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Mar 4, 2010
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I’ll second jaybirds knife recommendation, I also use a meat cleaver a lot. Gotta be careful with it though because a mistake won’t just result in a cut it will cost you a finger or two.
 

buckhunterbb

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Apr 7, 2009
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I use a large fillet knife to cut up deer boneless. For making jerky just slice some thin slices while cutting meat or when partially frozen(can be from partially thaw frozen meat,slices nice).
For jerky I like my Nesco 1000watt dehydrator digital temp control with fan on top. If burger/sausage was my main concern then electric meat grinder. I like my 3/4hp Cabelas stainless grinder. Easy cleanup, grinds large strips of meat 1-2" diameter no problem(partially frozen works good too).
 
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PistolBob

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Oct 6, 2010
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Midwest US
Above.
Grinder & meat slicer.
Good prep knives are a big plus, along with cleavers.

We have used the older, heavy cast iron grinders, the smaller 'Food Processor' type grinders,
And if you can afford it, the Kitchen Aid with grinding attachment is a very happy medium.

The big old cast iron versions will last forever, but they are a pain in the arse to motorize,
The smaller ones don't hold up very long, grinding heavy meat chunks takes a lot of force.

There are a couple dedicated grinders out there but I haven't personally used them.
They look like they are stainless steel which makes for no rust and fast cleanup.

Its a lot of work, but homemade sausage is SO GOOD!

Most processors add fat to a lot of things because game is very lean, you might want to keep that in mind...
Fat chunks aren't always easy to get ahold of.

A cheap source of food grade stainless for bench tops is old stainless fridges.
Find one someone is scrapping, use sides/doors for bench tops (over subsurface material).

Learning to bone meat is a great deal.
I'm not very good at it, but it's a great skill to have and speeds up all processing.
I use bacon or pork breakfast sausage ground in with the wild meat. Gives it plenty of grease for cooking and the sausage seasonings flavor the whole bag.
 

Old Dog

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Mar 4, 2016
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I have to have my cast iron motorized grinder and a few good quality butchering knives. I only save the loins and a few rump roasts. Everything else is ground and half or more is turned into jerky. I use a jerky shooter and don't plan to go back to sliced jerky.
 

Jaybird1980

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Jan 22, 2016
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I have to have my cast iron motorized grinder and a few good quality butchering knives. I only save the loins and a few rump roasts. Everything else is ground and half or more is turned into jerky. I use a jerky shooter and don't plan to go back to sliced jerky.
I have been wanting to try the jerky shooter. Seems like it would be a lot easier and dry faster.
 

sugarcreekbrass

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An electric winch in the garage for hoisting and hanging deer. Much easier than hand cranks or block and tackle. Other than that, I keep it simple. I have an Outdoor Edge processing kit. I use the skinner and caper knives for thier intended purposes and the skinner for deboning. I use the butcher knife for cutting meat and the filet for trimming. I can get by with only 1 knife if needed. A simple electric grinder is also a must. My wife would say her pressure cooker for canning stew meat.
 

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