Dream Processing Setup

JLS

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Thanks for starting this thread so I can steal all these great ideas for my Christmas wish list!! I was just looking at grinders today! Do you guys find that DIY processing is more out of satisfaction and pride of doing it yourself, or more cost savings?? This was my first year really considering DIY processing... I harvested a bull elk, and a cow elk- and it was painful paying more money for processing, on top of the NR tag fees. All I have so far is a high quality vacuum sealer, so I have to borrow a buddies grinder. I'll be following this thread to see what the experienced HuntTalkers have to say
When I first started processing my own it was out of necessity. I couldn’t afford to pay for commercial processing. Now, I do it because I’m still very cheap, I feel I get a much better product, and I enjoy the final stage of the hunt.
 

Gerald Martin

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A good grinder is an absolute necessity. Bigger is better. I grind all my burger meat once through a fine grinding plate, direct into tubular burger bags. A taper to seal the bags makes it slick and easy. When you are feeding a family and processing 4-6 animals a season it doesn't take long to recoup equipment costs. Plus, I have the satisfaction of knowing exactly how my food was handled.
 

devon deer

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This might sound strange, but I get a lot of enjoyment out of processing deer (most of mine get sold to the game dealer though) I don't grind too much as I prefer to separate out the roasts/steaks.
I have just started to get into curing it (new to me but @brymoore gave me a great book by Hank Shaw) made some mistakes but getting better at it.
I give a lot away to friends/neighbours and people who have never eaten venison.

The advice given so far is great.
I have a chiller, in fact it's an old large drinks fridge, works great, it has a fan as well and I have never had a problem with mould as some fridges without a fan can get this problem.
I bring it into my garage to skin the deer, that is my 'dirty' area, from there it goes into the kitchen as quarters etc
I do 100% of my butchery with one knife, a 6'' boning knife.
I would also say buy some anti-bacterial spray and lots of kitchen roll, the latter is brilliant, dampen it and swipe over the meat if any hairs have got on there, the roll is like a hair magnet!

I hope my advice helps

Cheers

Richard
 

SFC B

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Honestly I think prices are pretty much the same. I know 2 different processors that will do a flat rate mule deer for $100.

I guess a $100 flat rate isn't bad if you shoot a deer and can get it out whole and just drop it off, but I've never been remotely close to being able to do that with an elk. As such I bone everything out in the field, I then typically take the back straps and tenderloins and trim those myself and then keep the largest muscle groups in the hindquarters for steaks and roasts and then have a butcher grind burger/ chorizo/ cut chops etc. Done this way an elk is usually ~$300, I'm bring in like 120lbs of meat so lets call it $2.5 an lb (I would have to check my last receipt but that's a ball park. If you did similar on a white tail doe you would be bring in what 20lbs of meat maybe 40lbs for a buck so $50-$100 assuming $2.5.

I'd say it's kinda a wash, I think just lots of guys have some sticker shock at an elk... which has 3X to 4x the yield of a white-tail. Going by midwest flat rates an elk should probably run $300-$400, which honestly is the going price if you bring an elk in whole and just get it cut and wrapped and just do burger and not sausage or other specialties.

I would guess flat rates are more common back east because 95% or more of animals are brought in whole versus I dk 20% of animals out west.

All that said, you are spot on if you hunt a lot you recoup your costs really quick.
Hhhmmm, all of the processors I have used around here have been by the pound. As for WT meat totals? The estimate for a 180lb buck (not big at all for the midwest) is 70-75lbs.....a decent doe will go 120 field dressed and would yield about 50lbs. The point for me is that at $100 I would at least think about letting someone else do it for convenience but when you climb from there it is just too salty. It comes down to a time vs money argument.
 

wllm1313

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Hhhmmm, all of the processors I have used around here have been by the pound. As for WT meat totals? The estimate for a 180lb buck (not big at all for the midwest) is 70-75lbs.....a decent doe will go 120 field dressed and would yield about 50lbs. The point for me is that at $100 I would at least think about letting someone else do it for convenience but when you climb from there it is just too salty. It comes down to a time vs money argument.
Yellowstone and Birdger Mtn, both do flat rate for elk... or did at one point (bozeman)
 

scubohuntr

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Mar 30, 2018
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At least one really large chest freezer, two refrigerators, all the counter space you can get, a big kitchen table and good chairs for final processing (hair and connective tissue removal, cleanup before wrapping, etc), a separate area for knife sharpening, a sturdy enough hoist/gambrel setup to pull hides and lift anything you will have licenses for, and floor drains. Lots and lots of lights. Having a fully separated skinning/quartering area, butchering area, and grinding/wrapping area would be worth doing if possible. Depending on the room you have available, an area for food prep and eating without having to completely clean up the butchering in progress would be nice. I would also have an old enclosed trailer with a Coolbot setup and full insulation parked next to the house. Find a few small town butcher shops in the off season and ask for a tour of their setups. Spend some time researching ergonomics before you get started so the counters and tables are at the right height, reaching and lifting is at the correct angles and distances, and floors are nonslip. It makes a difference. Enclosed storage for all grinders, stuffers, lugs, knives, and other equipment. Laundry facilities with a tub sink.
 

Ttannahill14

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Jan 26, 2016
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Central Kansas
I would also add a chain hoist. I have a one ton chain hoist in my garage, and on the occasions that I have got an elk out whole, it's pretty nice to be able to lift a 500 pound elk off the ground to a hanging position with only one arm. For deer it would be awesome.
We have a chain hoist in the shop.... i would imagine I will still have to quarter the animal out in the shop up on the hoist... but then it will be moved inside to the kitcehn to dis-assemble and process.
 

Ttannahill14

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Ergonomics to make the work feel better when you are done.......properly heighted countertops (remember you are a giant among men!!) with good lighting to see where you are working, and then perhaps seated working spaces as well. Restaurant prep surfaces are stainless steel for a reason: easy to clean and easy to see if they are clean.

I find that working around water/sinks I like having a spray hose to forcefully direct a stream of water. The under the sink pull up hose works ok, but if you were to do the dream setup I would install a commercial sink/hose unit found in restaurants.

See the source image



PS: I wanna see a photo of you complete with the hair covering when you get the setup in operation!
Yes I need to raise contertops...tired of my back being ON FIRE huntched over.
 
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