Processing And Packaging The Spoils Of Your Latest Hunt

One of the greatest perks of hunting is the unique flavor that wild game meat brings to the table, but it's not as easy as simply bringing it home and throwing it in the oven. From quail to elk, any game animal you plan to eat will need to be properly handled, processed, and prepared for easy use in your kitchen. Unless you plan to handle the mess and work yourself, make sure you know who to turn to and what to look for in business that can deal with a whole animal.

Likely Candidates

Not every business that offers game meat processing is actively advertising that fact, so you may need to do a little investigating in your area. The most likely businesses to provide this services are small scale butcher shops and taxidermists, both of which regularly handle large animals in one form or another. Some privately owned meat processing facilities may also offer help, but the limitations imposed on them by the USDA can make doing so prohibitively expensive.

Apart from the more obvious angles, you may also be able to find sporting goods outfitters that have members of their staff who can handle the job. Be especially wary of these though, as the process involved in skinning, butchering and portioning your kill requires immaculately clean facilities. Anyone who isn't regularly involved in food handling may not have the budget to properly maintain those facilities, so if you choose this route insist on inspecting their prep areas yourself.

Convenience vs. Affordability

A properly appointed meat processing business like Custom Butcher & Smokehouse can reduce an animal's carcass to its component parts in a matter of hours, but having a stack of venison steaks may not be in your best interest. Look closely at the different butchering options they offer, and make a decision on just how much of the animal you plan to grill as steaks, roast as large portions, or boil in stew. You may even want some of the primal or sub-primal cuts of meat left intact, if only to keep your options open.

Focus your search on facilities that give you the option of deciding what state you take your meat home in. This will allow you to choose between the convenience of having a few dozen individual servings, and the affordability of simply having the major bones removed, and their associated sub-primal cuts separated from the larger primal. A good example of this is the tenderloin, which is a versatile and flavorful sub-primal, from which several smaller steaks, a roast and stew meat can be cut, or which you can roast whole.

Butchering the animal you brought home isn't a glamorous process, but it is a necessary one if you plan on eating it. Taking advantage of the experience and convenience offered by wild game processors can allow you to avoid taking that mess home with you, and ensure that you're getting the best quality cuts of meat from the animal when all is said and done.