Best practices for big game processing at home
- Food Safety: Keep everything cold. Bacteria starts to grow around 40 degrees. If you don't have a walk-in cooler or cold enough temps, ask us about a CoolBot, which can transform your space. Cooler meat is easier to work with as well. Work with gloves on, it will protect your hands from the cold meat and you can easily dispose of and grab a new pair between tasks. If you don't have proper conditions for hanging a carcass you run the risk of contamination. You can age individual cuts in the refrigerator as needed by placing them on a wire rack set over a pan.
- Setup & Supplies: After skinning, remove residue hair. Ensure you have plenty of Nitrile Gloves and sharpened knives on hand. Keep a steel nearby to sharpen edges throughout. Click here to read more about knife maintenance. If this is your first time cutting big game, use a stiff-spined knife, which is easier to wield than a flexible blade. If you're experienced, a flexible knife will fillet meat off bones better. Have your meats sterilized and ready to go.
- Cutting: Sort your meat into tubs as you cut (backstraps, trim meat, etc), which will make packaging quicker. Consider your temperature and timeline, moving tubs into refrigerated spaces when not in use is a good idea. If you're slicing roasts into steak, put them into the freezer for about half an hour first which makes it easier to cut uniform slices.
- Packaging & Preserving: If you want to prevent freezer burn, vacuum sealing is ideal but may cost a bit more. Butcher paper works, and will work even better if meat is wrapped in plastic first. Click here for information on making sausage or click here for tips on making your own jerky.
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