🔪 Could you be your own butcher?

Ruth Ann Reyes
Ruth Ann Reyes Posts: 577 admin

I am not sure how that I could be a home butcher...but, I have gotten a few whole beef tenderloins from the local grass fed ranch. I've done the trimming, etc. myself. Baby steps 👣 folks!

Have you ever done home butchering? If so, what have you processed?


  • hmsadmin
    hmsadmin Posts: 123 admin

    Very nice job, Ruth! :D Those are some fine looking fillets!

    While growing up my dad went hunting frequently and I have memories of many hours spent at the kitchen table helping them (as much as I could at the time) with butchering and packing venison away in our deep freeze. I remember thinking I was just so cool because out of me and my 2 brothers, I was the only one brave enough to help 😂

    Then, a couple years ago I got super "lucky" and was offered half a deer. When I accepted the offer (cause who would possibly turn down free venison??), it didn't dawn on me that it would be exactly as stated.. a near half a doe, with much skin/hair/bones intact, that had simply been field dressed and very roughly quartered (seriously, I think they did it what a hacksaw..), with a bonus sprinkling of grass and dirt too!

    I really didn't think I could get through the job.. but the thoughts of all the tasty meals I would be making, and really not wanting her to go to waste, got me through it. I know I wasn't cutting "butcher" cuts, and I spent way too much time being obsessive about removing all ligaments, but it was good experience, good to know that I can handle the job when needed, and the full freezer afterwards was well worth it.

    I do still have a bit of an aversion to handling, even packaged, raw meats.. It's never an enjoyable experience for me, and it even bothers me sometimes to cut into an already roasted bird. I just take a moment to be thankful for what the animal is providing, and appreciate my good knife for making it easy.

  • Karyn Pennington
    Karyn Pennington Posts: 71 ✭✭✭

    I agree. I'm fine with trimming (chickens, venison, etc.), but when it still looks exactly like the animal, it's more difficult.

    I can and have done fish, but I don't like to. My husband (thankfully) has no problem with it and always tells me, "If you're hungry enough . . ." What I think would be most difficult is raising a baby animal knowing I'm going to slaughter it. I know it's done all the time, but my emotional make up would have a very difficult time with that.

  • hmsadmin
    hmsadmin Posts: 123 admin

    Very nice work, Ruth! Though are some delicious looking filets!

    My dad is an avid hunter, and as a kid, deer season was something we all looked forward to. I have many good (if not so pleasant) memories of him bring home his hunt, hanging them up to age in the back yard for a few days, and then we'd all pitch in for butchering and packing it up for the deep freeze. I always felt so cool helping with the task, especially because out of me and my 2 brothers, I was the only on "brave" enough to help. 😂

    I was too young though to actually help with the butchering part though.. But, when I got the offer of a half a deer for free a couple years ago, I jumped on it! Filled with thoughts of all the delicious venison recipes I'd soon be cooking, it didn't fully dawn on me the sort of task I was really getting into, or that I would be getting pretty much as stated.. roughly half a doe (seriously, I think they used a hacksaw.. it was a rough half), with hide and bones and a good sprinkling of grass and dirt all included.

    I really didn't think I was up for the task once I had it all spread out in my kitchen.. but I was determined and wasn't going to let her go to waste. I know I wasn't cutting "butcher" cuts, and I was way too obsessive about getting all the tendons and connective tissue off.. But, in the end, when I knew I had gotten every bit of usable meat, and my freezer way full to the brim, it was well worth it!

    I still have an aversion to butchering, it even bothers me sometimes to cut into an already roasted bird.. but I'll just take a minute to appreciate what the animal is providing, and go about it with that sort of reverence in mind when I get squeamish about it.

  • LaurieLovesLearning
    LaurieLovesLearning Posts: 7,519 admin

    The only issue I have is with the actual moment of death. Afterward, I have no issue.

    I am curious about getting quail...and I might get some yet. They are supposedly easy to process. If only I could bear that moment, the rest would be easy.

  • Marjory Wildcraft
    Marjory Wildcraft Posts: 1,613 admin

    @Laurie it's never easy. And if it ever becomes easy, you shouldn't do it...

    Hey, I was over at Lynn Gilispies house for dinner the other night. "Wow you have a huge kitchen island" I exclamnmed. Lynn told me that was very purposeful Each year her husband Tom and/or one of the boys, gets an elk. That kictchen island was designed to be big enough to process the elk they get every year. The whole family works on it together. And that yearly elk is a big part of thier family food supply.

  • LaurieLovesLearning
    LaurieLovesLearning Posts: 7,519 admin

    @Marjory Wildcraft I totally get that. I just have too much trouble with "that moment" part. The raising & cleaning is what I can do easily. It is my happy and beautiful livestock before and food afterward. I know that if you lose that sorrow (or whatever it is) at having to take the life of anything, that you have big problems & probably should not even be living free at that point... A person can learn to deal with that moment as it is a part of life (and death). I just don't think that I am one of those that could learn how to.

    A large island...that would be dreamy and so very useful! I have the tiniest kitchen and feed a large family out of it. There is little countertop and no space for even a cart much less an island! I would love a large working kitchen!

  • ines871
    ines871 Posts: 1,283 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Growing up around Meat-rabbits, flocks of chickens, milking & lawnmower goats, geese, horses, etc, - whenever it was needful the meat appeared on my plate, tho I never made the connection consciously. - Once in the USA, right after high school I moved into the cutest hand-made LOG-cabin, where promptly I started growing food on all four sides. - And the landlord next door said "How about you get some chickens too". Great I thought, they will make my Compost... richer!! ... The cute chickies tried to follow... me going to work as a (factory seamstress at Levy Strauss). - Inevitably the day came when he appeared with a Butcher-knife: "You can't let them get too old as then they don't taste too good anymore" <- WHAT ?? I was confused. - Then "no, No NO!! - I'm NOT killing my chickens, you EVIL man"

    Long story short, he managed to talk me into that more or less satanic act. BUT I was Not prepared for what happened next : There I was with the head in one hand, & the knife in other hand, while the body of my Beloved poor chicken was flying around the yard, splattering blood wildly as it went. I SCREAMED... & nearly lost my mind. Actually Truth be told I think I lost my mind assuming... that in a 100 years I could, let alone would, kill anything. --- I had nightmares for seven ! years !! afterwards, during which time I asked that very chicken to "Please forgive me". - And this will make at least a few people laugh... And I have not killed any animals since.

    Complete proteins you say ? - There's Quinoa, & sardines (someone else killed), & LOTS of other proteins. We can all be nourished well.

  • egaa1959
    egaa1959 Posts: 6 ✭✭✭

    Greatful... To know how to shoot, gut. Skin and process Bambi. (Deer) The only good thing my Ex husband taught me years ago.

    Was so happy to be invited to help process 100 chickens a few years ago... That's a stinky job.

    Fish, wild game, raccoons, squirrels,

    Skills worth knowing and passing on.

  • Gardennan
    Gardennan Posts: 47 ✭✭✭

    My husband and I work as a team on butchering days. He does the "deed" and gutting I do the processing cleaning and packaging. We have raised rabbits, chickens and turkeys for meat. It's never easy to do but we know our animals had a great life with only one bad day.

  • bd5hixson
    bd5hixson Posts: 3 ✭✭✭

    My husband and I also work as a team! We just started our own meat chickens and turkeys last year and are adding more this year and he's done deer several times. Same here - my hubby does the "deed" and gutting and I do the cleaning and packaging- I can handle it better when they come to me looking more like meat 🙂. I like to cut the chicken into parts ahead of time so I can just pull out breasts or thighs or wings when I want. We keep several whole chickens too. I ground up most of the turkey and kept one whole, a few breast and drumsticks. I never want to go back to grocery store meat again! I love knowing exactly the life our meat lived.

  • JOBallinger
    JOBallinger Posts: 15 ✭✭✭

    If the lives of my children depended on me being the family butcher I could do it. (If I couldn't talk one of my sons into doing it for me.) Otherwise, no. I couldn't do it. We got chickens. We have never butchered a single one. We got rabbits. Same story. My husband grew up on a farm and he has butchered hogs with his family and he went to a chicken processing class and he has no problem with it. I, on the other hand, can hardly take the meat off of a chicken that has already been cooked or eat ground beef if I see it raw. I think he needs to be the family butcher.

  • Jimerson
    Jimerson Posts: 291 admin

    My first step into the world of animal processing (not counting junior high science class dissections) was fish. Next were chickens and rabbits, which for some reason is an entirely different story. My heart ached when I went to butcher them.. maybe because I had raised them from chicks/kits. Either way- fish, bird, or mammal -I offer up a sincere thanks. I've never butchered a large animal such as a deer or cow, but I'm willing to try given the opportunity.

    RICHARD Posts: 22 ✭✭✭

    I have butchered our home raised chickens, numerous game animals. The biggest problem for me is that I now need assistance, either from a person or device, to lift larger animals to the appropriate height for processing without risking contamination from the floor of the processing area.

  • twohunnyz
    twohunnyz Posts: 4 ✭✭✭

    Yep, my hubby and I work as a team, too. For a number of years I only helped in order to ease myself into all aspects. It worked! Now I can do everything. The deed itself is still not comfortable nor should it ever be. We always say a silent prayer of thanks before. We have done cattle, sheep, goats, rabbits, chickens, deer, etc.

  • VickiP
    VickiP Posts: 586 ✭✭✭✭

    When we were younger we butchered our own hogs, I hated the slaughtering part, but actually enjoyed making our own hams and bacon. Now we hire that out. But we still have the equipment and use it for roosters and the occasional deer.

  • seeker.nancy - Central Texas
    seeker.nancy - Central Texas Posts: 795 ✭✭✭✭

    I grew up on a farm. We raised chickens, ducks, rabbits, goats and the occasional steer. Dad was an avid deer hunter. I helped with all phases and learned to hunt as well. My brother hated the whole farm life lol but I was my dad's shadow. I was taught to never kill anything unless you could use it; he held great disdain for trophy hunters that only wanted the horns or whatever and let the meat just rot. Deer was the main staple meat and it was my job to cut up the shoulders. My daughters learned as well. The youngest disliked it the most but because she was a better shot of the two that was her job (At this point my dad could no longer hunt and my fibro was too bad for me to sit in the cold.) My oldest was the best at dressing a deer so she did that and we all cut it up for the freezer. It is never easy to take a life, and we all learned to give thanks to the animal for giving us that life. It is not for everyone and there is no shame in that. We all contribute according to our abilities for all are needed.

  • ines871
    ines871 Posts: 1,283 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @seeker.nancy - re "It is never easy to take a life, and we all learned to give thanks to the animal for giving us that life. It is not for everyone and there is no shame in that. We all contribute according to our abilities for all are needed."

    Thank you so much for saying that. - I just have NO desire to Intentionally... hurt, or maim, or kill another life; so thank you for saying there is "no shame" in that.

    Like I said already I eat the little sardines that others killed, & during winter also turkey that others killed, so I am not against eating an animal's sacrificial meat. And always always give Thanks.

  • tammyrichardsmt9
    tammyrichardsmt9 Posts: 109 ✭✭✭

    We have processed chickens, rabbits, squirrels and we have cut up and packaged deer meat. I am not sure I could raise a beef or other larger animal and process it. Probably if I had to I could...