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I did my own antelope last year. My issue is the waste as I’m not good at this, and that makes me feel bad. There is only one way to get better, but that takes animals, and more waste, which makes me feel bad.
I figure if I get 1/3 of the animals estimated field-dressed weight back in boned out steaks, roast, and grind, I am doing fine. Makes me feel bad and somewhat always surprised that a 110 lb deer processes down to 35-40 lbs, but it is what it is. I probably throw away more trim than I should, but I am gradually learning to use some parts that I never messed with in the past, so it's moving in the right direction anyway.

While I never like to waste meat, processing them yourself is the only way to learn how to be more efficient on future animals. Sometimes, it's hard for me to watch beginners because: 1) they are SLOW and 2) there is typically more waste. Have to remind myself in those moments that we all started off there!
 

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Silver skin increases the "gaminess" of meat and it also can negatively impact texture.
Does it? Everything I've read said fat impacted flavor and silver skin did not. So far everything I've eaten has been sublime, silver skin or no. I'm removing it before cooking, but I can't tell the difference on pieces that went into the freezer with it.
 

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I use these to raise the table up and it does wonders for not bending over

I also have this setup for when the weather is warm or I'm harvesting multiple animals and want to process everything on the same day.

Lastly I've found most people over think what they are trying to cut the meat into. I break it into muscle groups (big chunks) and go from there. Packaging use to take a good deal of time but now I grind into the bag and use a taper, don't cut steaks before freezing leaving good sized portions for whatever i want to use it for later.
 

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Discussion Starter · #44 ·
I like that fridge setup. I've been toying with the idea of getting a seasonal freezer for my garage but then I remember that my luck drawing tags is pretty lousy.

I could see myself bitching about this dumb freezer in my way, taking up space that was only ever full once.



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I am telling you guys--if you are not bottling your meat you are missing out. Silver skin-throw it in! Bottling Meat can turn a hoof into a filet minion. What the heck is this gaminess you guys are talking about? Your Freezer goes out?--my bottles are shelf stable for like 5 years. You all are missing the boat. It's time to embrace your pioneer woman heritage! Quarts are cooked at 15 lbs pressure for 90 minutes--there, not hard at all.
 

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I am telling you guys--if you are not bottling your meat you are missing out. Silver skin-throw it in! Bottling Meat can turn a hoof into a filet minion. What the heck is this gaminess you guys are talking about? Your Freezer goes out?--my bottles are shelf stable for like 5 years. You all are missing the boat. It's time to embrace your pioneer woman heritage! Quarts are cooked at 15 lbs pressure for 90 minutes--there, not hard at all.
Its been like 45 years since I've bottled meat, I would help my Mother bottle different meats. Dad seemed to think we never had enough fish so he would always go fishing and bring the catch home, Mom would cuss every time he did. When she passed away and we were cleaning out the house, I bet we tossed over 50 quarts of bottled fish and meat.

Unless you can see a "fruit room" or cellar every day, I believe the bottling/canning goods are forgotten. We are no longer "Pioneers" and self sustaining people. We drive our wagon to the superstore and buy our groceries. Much easier and faster. It's sad for sure, but 99% of America has become this way. :cry:
 

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On my first bull I was meticulous on removing silver skin and fat. It took me probably 3 days after work, 8 hours each. That was the first animal I've done where I tried to package butcher cuts rather than just cubing everything like I used to do with deer. I cut steaks, etc. That was part of what made it longer because I had everything boned out in the field and had a hard time identifying muscle groups at home off the bone.

On the second one, it was still on the bone and I washed everything well with the hose outside prior to cutting. I left a lot of the muscle groups whole that I would either cut into steaks or roasts later when thawing. I also left a lot of the silver skin on to trim off after thawing. That one took me probably took me 9-12 hours total.

It's exhausting and takes a long time, but I just remind myself I get the meat cut and packaged exactly how I want it. And I save a few hundred dollars.
 

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It is interesting to watch the progression of the hunter and or consumer as far as meat is concerned.

Anymore just about all processors will not process any meat cuts with the bones in it. Likewise it is hard to walk into a store and go look at their meat selection and find any steaks or chops with bones in it. Granted, a lot believe that they should not be paying $xx.99 for a steak with a bone in it that you are either going to throw away or shuffle off to the family dog, do dogs even eat bones anymore?

I remember back in the Cub Scouts that one time the pack master or someone suggested that we make tie bolers for out neckerchiefs and that we needed to ask our moms to save the bone out of the roast so that we could make them. Then there is the classic 7 bone beef roast. I haven't seen one of them in a store in years.
USDA is funny about bones these days for store bought cuts.
 

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I use your basic Costco plastic table and have found by placing a stnd cinder block under each leg of the table it raises the surface up 12 inches and makes a big difference on the old back.
 
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