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Sunday, October 31, 2010

Where did my Pigeons go?

I was raising some pigeons in my barn to use for training my retriever when suddenly they all disappeared! Now I wonder where they went?

Deer tender loin with Peppers and tomatoes

I love to eat deer tenderloin and one way I like is with peppers and tomatoes. First find a deer and harvest it then drag it home and remove the hide. Use a sharp knife to remove the tenderloins down each side of the spine. Lay them out and cut them into medallions about 3/8 inch thick. Now find you a sweet onion, some red and green peppers I like about four of each and two cans of tomatoes with garlic and basil. Saute the deer meat in olive oil, throw in the onions and the peppers cooke em thill tender, Now add the tomatoes and one can of water, you can thicken this with a little flour if you like. get you some bread and enjoy.

Summer sausage anyone?

I did BBQ and sausage this weekend so i figured I would shre with all of you the results. I will say the use of a mechanical grinder makes all the difference as does the mechanical mixer when making sausage. First I weighed out all my deer meat 23 lbs and my pork 9 lbs and found I would need two packets of the seasoning and two packets of the cure, This would use the entire kit and not leave me with stuff hanging around opened up to the world. I cut the pork and prepared the grinder with the big 3/8 plate for a coarse first grind of the deer and the pork. It is important when using a smaller grinder that you remove all of the tendons and shine from your meat before grinding. Shank mean and the neck are loaded with this type of fibrous membrane and need to be cut fine and ground last unless you want to spend a lot of time cleaning the plate. After grinding I mix the spices and cure with the required amt of water and run it through the mixer for about 4 to 5 minutes. It is important to keep this cold so I add ice cubes to it while I am mixing it with the spices, A wetter cold mixture will fill the casing better and allow the fat and meat to mix together. I use my verticle stuffer to fill the casing and tie off the end before I set them aside. When I get them all stuffed I like to wipe em down and let them air dry before I hang them in the cooler overnight. This allows the cure time to work and the flavors to marry with the meat. In the morning I will hang them in my smoker. Keep in mind before hanging any  sausage in the smoker it should be at the ambient temp. Never hang frozen meat or real cold meat in the smoker. Observe the smoking instructions that come with your kit and you will have a safe sausage.

Lets eat some BBQ

Okay here is what we have been working for some good ol fashioned BBQ. Not sauced to death or cooked to shoe leather but some, tender tasty ribs ready for the table enjoy em I did!


After I get them all seasoned upo I let them stand for a bit while I get the smoker going. I usually use hickory or white oak to BBQ with and that is what I used today, some weel seasoned hickory. I started the fire and got a real good bed of coals going, when I am BBQing or smoking I use a very low heat. When  got the temp to around 150 I put the meat in for about two hours, then kicked it up to 200 for another three hours, then 230 till it reached an internal temp of 180 degrees. I only sauced it for the last three hours and used  a medium smoke to flavor the sauce. The key to a good BBQ piece of meat is not cooking it like you would in an oven but cooking it at temp's that are just as low as one dares to go for a length of time required to bring the meat up to that temp. Now the difference between BBQ and jerky is that the heat has to be high enough to cook it nice and slow but not dry it out. I never go above 225 degrees.


Okay what a weekend so far I have been keeping busy like a one armed paper hanger, and I did not even get out to hunt but let's get going here. I told you ai was going to BBQ so I went down to the local warehouse store and found pork loin on sale for $1.89 a pond and it is boneless lean meat. Now usually I use Boston butts for making sausage and BBQ but I love smoked pork loin on a sandwich so I went ahead and picked up a couple of them and some pork spare ribs. When i got them home I divided the loins into three equal pieces and took the skin membrane off the ribs on the bone side. Next I rubbed them down with my secret rub....  okay really it is just a seasoned packet that I like to use Hickory chicken wing for the loin  and taco for the ribs they are quick easy and inexpensive. Check out the pics for how I cut the ribs down to Saint Louis style, and trim up the loins.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Lets do some bbq

I love to eat and I love to BBQ so naturally my hobby feeds my family and I so that is a good thing! Today I am going to put together a box to ship out to my Nephew and his wife in Seattle. Now since you all know I cannot post more than one picture at a time, this will be a ongoing thing today and when it is all done you can see the meat from bag to box so to speak.
I grew up in my fathers country butcher shop, slaughtering and cutting up beef mostly, occasionally doing hogs, but mostly beef.  But my father was a big fan of Carolina style BBQ, and it was not unusual for us to stop at a greasy spoon pit and eat BBQ couple times a day on vacation. In fact I sampled BBQ from Kansas to Carolina before I was 18 years old and grew to love it, but we never made BBQ always steaks and burgers. When I got older and moved to the ranch I decided to try my hand at traditional BBQ. I had spent some time in the pacific Island area of Guam and Hawaii during my military time and had seen the bury the pig kinda cooking, with banana leaves and hot rocks, but it just did not have that deep smokey flavor I loved so well. I found an old oil tank and turned it into a smoker pit like the ones I had seen during my travels, bought some hams and pork shoulder from the butcher and gave it a try using charcoal briquettes. The results were just okay and the sauce was good but something was missing from the mix. I tried wood the next time, oak wood and I have to tell you that was a lesson learned as wood burned so much faster and hotter than charcoal I had to have a hose ready and the smoke was so thick it had a very bitter taste, but the sauce was better this time. As I learned from my mistakes I built bigger and better smokers, found Hickory wood and cast iron pots for sauce making and entered into competitive BBQing. I had a team of guys who were into doing this and every year we would enter the local competitions. The first year we came in 9th out of 52 for our Boston butt. The next year we added a rib win to our trophy table, and the following year we had three top 10 finishes. Now competitive BBQ is very expensive and we were just doing this one event a year but people liked the meat, so I started doing catering of BBQ during the weekends. BBQ FOR YOU was a success and we made our name in fund raising BBQ chicken and pork, doing small parties and weekend outings. After the kids graduated and moved on I did not have to work so hard so I gave up working at it and now do it for is best and the product better! Stick with me through this series of post today and I will do my best to show you how I do my BBQ. But first I have to go get my meat and spices for today, and some beer cause you can't Q without beer!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

okay here are the pictures

Lucky I don't make this computer into jerky

Let's Eat..... okay maybe snack

Well the jerky is dried and packaged up as you can see from the pictures. I did use the wife's oven but got busted when the drippings on the tin foil sitting on the bottom of the stove began to smoke a little. Okay maybe a lot more than a little but I was quick and the smoke alarm did not go off. So I turned the oven to off and left the door cracked some to allow it to dry some more. I then set the oven on warm again so I could continue with the process thinking that new foil and all were the ticket, not to be after about 90 min she is smoking again! This time a piece of jerky had fallen to the floor of the oven and was gently BBQing filling my house up with the fragrance of burning sugars and meat. So once again I go through the drill opening windows and such but the meat is beginning to dry some. So I get it warm again and this time shut it down close the door and go to bed. In the morning the jerky is almost done and I am getting me a little sample which I must admit was very tasty. This evening 30 min and it was done, I cooled it off and put it in the vacuum sealed packages for the freezer. I will say cutting the jerky thicker was a good ideal it was not powder dry and it made a nice chew. The flavor was excellent, not to hot or spicy, salty enough to off set the sweetness and dried to perfection. Next deer you get ask the butcher to slice you some jerky meat and try making your own.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Drying Jerky

I am still working on building a decent dehydrator from a stainless steel cased freezer. The inside is metal also coated with a porcelain type product and it has racks from top to bottom adjustable every 1/4 inch. Hopefully I will be able to get heat and air into it safely but we will see.
So I am going to use my wife's convection oven when she settles in to watch some television, I'll just wander in and put the jerky on the oven racks, and wander out like nothing is up. In the morning I will have jerky or cinders but I have the feeling I will be making some serious dried deer meat.. I set the oven at the lowest possible temp. and let the fan circulate the warm around some. When I cut it thick it takes some time but I could possibly cut it 1/8 thick and do it in a couple of hours.
Now to keep my wife happy, jerky being her favorite, I will put down some tin foil in the bottom to catch any juice that will drip out while the jerky is drying. So when I get up early and package the jerky in Tupperware all I have to do is pick up the foil, she comes out from her shower and the place is sorta man clean and she has fresh jerky, I am the man!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The Marinade

Let us all face it deer meat is really just the carrier for the marinade. What I mean is that if you did the Native American  way of jerky making it would be air dried meat no seasoning or flavorings just smoke possibly. Today we have any number of seasonings available to us that we can just go down and buy fresh off the shelf. Fresh being a relative term here as any spice you buy in a jar is already old. Fresh whole un ground spices when you can  find them, whole pepper corns and kosher salt will go a long way toward making good marinade for your deer jerky.
So tonight I came home and opened up the vacuum sealed jerky meat I prepared yesterday with my so called "cure" if you will, and prepared my liquid part of the process. Keep in mind that the meat will absorb the salt and sugar carrying the spices with them, the meat juice is replaced by this and comes out. The ideal is not to make a liquid your meat is swimming in but a sauce that it will absorb into the fibers giving us the flavor we like so well. Taste your marinade and you will have a very good ideal what your jerky is going to taste like.  Okay Okay I am going to get to that part here where I give you my recipe for the marinade but first I got to tell you about something I come across Okay Okay
Bills NSS jerky Marinade:
2 tablespoons of hot sauce, (hey man you are the one thats going to have to deal with it so you make it as
                                           hot as you like)
4-5 good shakes of that Worcestershire sauce
Some vinegar
some salt and some sugar not much hand full of each
some black pepper
couple shakes of paprika
mix all this up real good till the salt and sugar melt into the liquids forming a solution. (like that solution)
Pour it over the meat working it so that all of the meat comes in contact with the marinade and is not soaking in it but covered in it.
 Now go and vacuum seal it back up and place it back in the refrigerator over night. Tomorrow maybe I will jerk it or put it away for later.
Some of you asked me what was in the carboy sitting on my cutting table in the butchering pictures. Well actually  nobody asked but I want to talk about that so I figured, you know. I would bring it up. Okay it is Apple cider that I set off about three weeks ago now, and as of two days ago it was sweet as the day I put it up. However today it has come to the front and is cookin like Mom Mom at Thanksgiving I mean a continuous rolling ferment! I will keep you posted I either have hard cider or will be making vinegar.

Monday, October 25, 2010

The meat

Here is a pic of the processed meat and the seasoning I have applied. I assure you that I am using more cure than appears in the photo. I take this seasoned meat and place it into my vacuum sealer and seal it up. Then  I place it into the refrigerator and let it sit over night. Tomorrow I will add the marinade and seal it back up for another day. In a day or so I will post the drying of the jerky.

Cutting the jerky meat and seasoning

I can't figure out how to post more than one photo but just hang with me I will one day but till then, lets look at making the jerky, I use a slicer my wife bought for me for like 50 bucks at some closeout store and I love it. Just keep the meat cold and ready to go thru the slicer as the colder it is the better. Set it for 3/8 and slice the muscles across the grain add your cure. Let me be clear here you are eating raw meat here not cooked in a oven or slow cooker and dried at 120 degrees till it will break when you bend it. Def in the range for nasty critters to grow and live causing  some discomfort to your lower bowel. I use a cure that I made, not Nitrates or Nitrites, but 2 cups salt 1 cup sugar and 2 tablespoons of garlic and paprika. I like to add a liberal application of coarse ground pepper to this. Check out the next post.

Making deer into meat

Here are the major muscle groups that I will use in Jerky notice how clean the bone is in the picture. You will not get this in your local deer butchering shop. they cut the easy chunks and grind them into burger and loose sausage. Here you get to use all of your deer or most of it anyway, what I don't use I let the Tom Brown have for crunching on. Now here is where I differ from some others. Many people cut their jerky meat into long strips but the grain and fibers of the meat grow along those same lines making eating jerky near impossible, especially with my choppers! I cut mine cross the grain and about 3/8 thick this makes for easy eating and the jerky making easy for me

The process of sausage making and butchering your deer

Okay we have our deer and it has been hanging in the cooler for the past 24 hours or so so let us begin to turn it into something. I want to make sausages of some form and some jerky for the wife and I, so lets look at how we are going to turn those big pieces of meat into what we want.
First you got to have some place to work. either your kitchen or your garage, I have a building built by Sheds are Us that I put white sanitary wall board in and painted the floor a gray. I built a table taller than most as that was the most comfortable for me and covered it with goat hair fiberglass to seal the surface. I never cut on this but work off of it with a cutting board. It is not big but it is perfect for me to process my deer in.
Last post we took the deer and cut it into it's major parts. Let's take a hind quarter and break it down into its major muscle groups for making some jerky. The other parts we will use in our ground meat that we will use in sausage. Using your boning knife take a very cold hind quarter and on the thin side of the haunch cut from the top to the shank Use the tip of your knife to cut entirely around the bone , separating the meat at the knuckle. You now have a big piece of boneless haunch and the major muscle groups are visible to you. Use the tip of a sharp knife and separate at the seams, use your steel liberally to keep your knife sharp. Place the major muscles in the freezer while you bone out the rest of the haunch for sausage meat. Check out the next post for how handle the rest of the meat

Sunday, October 24, 2010

getting started with the sausage process

Here we go with our sausage making post. You can tell I have harvested the doe in the picture, it took all day but that is why I hunt, I got to  read a good book, took a nap in the sun shine outside, ate all my food before 8 am and watched the world wake up, now there is my sun rise service and I enjoy it often I tell ya. I am not going to post the skinning and taking apart pics because some may not like that, let me know though and I have no problem posting on how to butcher either. So I got this nice little doe at about 45 yds. with a blackpowder rifle in Maryland. Head shot with a .490 round ball and .20 patch, 70 grains of FFF not a massive load but real accurate in my gun. She dropped instantly and had no Ideal what just happened. The four that were with her another  big doe and three little ones stayed right there and continued to eat, running off only when I went to pick her up.
I like to hang em from the head, my dad from the hind legs, but the key is getting them cooled off quickly. My son who worked in a deer processing shop showed me the quick way to take care of em and I use his method everytime with little mess.
When it comes time to gut the animal I hang it by the neck and starting at the top make an incision just through the skin at the brisket and work the knife down to the anus. I do not cut the gut sack yet and it stays in place. Now I make a small incision and with two fingers just under the sack I slip my knife in and open up the stomach cavity never touching the stomach or intestine as this will taint the meat big time. I have a tub under the deer and the internals just fall into the bucket. Taking a saw I split the brisket and cut loose the lungs and heart dropping everything in the bucket. I then tie off the intestine keeping the deer poop inside and remove everything that is left. Open up the body cavity and rinse it out real good taking a towel to wipe it dry when you are done, as water will ruin good meat fast. Allow the meat to hang and cool in the evening air, but hang em high as critters are looking for an easy meal. I like to drop off my gut pile and hides in an cut field away from where I hunt, but where the foxes and buzzards can find em quick. Believe me when I tell you bald Eagles love a deer carcass and make beautiful pictures, and foxes make good targets!!!
Okay lets get the hide off of the deer. Once again I have the deer doing the Saddam and using a very sharp small knife I cut around all four legs just under the knuckle, and split the legs up to where I cut the brisket. now I cut all the way around the neck and down the throat area to the brisket, staying just under the skin not cutting the meat. Working my small knife I get the hide working down and pull it off, usually it will come with very little knife work down to the hams. Using the same small knife I split the hide on the hams and pull it the rest of the way off. Now my deer is naked, cold, and bare. The hams are attached by a joint and socket so using my butcher knife I cut the hams and use my small knife to take the hams off laying them on the clean hide. The front shoulders are not attached with a socket just tendons and ligaments, follow the meat and they come off in one piece also also going onto the clean hide. Using a very sharp small knife I remove the outside tenderloins (back straps) and the inside loins or the true tenderloin. Next I separate the body from the neck and then the head from the neck saving a killer neck roast. I place all this in pans or hang in the cooler box till I am ready to process into sausages. Next we will butcher the meat!

Lets make some sausage

Okay so you want to make some sausage so let's start at the beginning first you have to get your meat, which in my case is deer meat mixed with pork for the fat. I buy 2 Boston Butts from the bulk store (Sams) and put em in the hanging cooler I have for the deer. I have it set just at 32 degrees and it makes the meat nice and tight to work with. Then I go to the fast food market (my deer stand) and select a deer for the job. I like a nice doe  not a real young one but a nice size deer that will make it worthwhile, the trail cam works wonders here. Now make sure you are ready to do this as deer are not real cooperative always. Sometimes they spook or just don't show up, but you have to be prepared every time you go into the woods so that you can deal with the deer after it is harvested. I keep my meat shop ready and clean so if I do happen to get a shot I am ready here at home, and the cooler box I plug in before I leave every time to go hunt! I worked in a butcher shop as a kid and my dad taught me how to work a knife and turn hanging meat into table meat. It is not hard to do and I suggest reading up on the process if you are going to give it a try. Next lets talk about the harvest. A deer that is wounded releases a ton of adrenaline and causes the meat to tighten up and be tough, so when harvesting I like to go for a spine shot or a head shot, both dispatch the animal instantly and the meat is not tainted. So lets go see if we can find that deer in the picture and get started.

I am back

Okay I have been away for a bit just had to rewind some. This summer was not real good to me had some teeth pulled (9) of em and I got to tell you that set me back physically and financially. You know how good your insurance is when you start to use it, and mine is kinda weak. So I sold my Bonita boat, went into depression, and bought a four wheeler. and paid for my dental work. But I am back in full swing now and ready for the season, so stick with me and get on board cause I got some neat stuff I want to share with all of you.First thing is we are going to make sausages from our deer. I know you all like burger and chili, spaghetti sauce and such but I am telling you take it to a whole nother level and make some sausage. There are kits available at Gander or on line, but I will tell you this if you smoke the sausage you got to use a cure or your meat will spoil. Yes you can make your own cure, but I like to use Prague number 2 for dry salami, and number one for cased sausage. Come on let;s get going with that deer sausage Bill!