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GRANT: I recently learned that the shop that processes the most deer locally where I live won’t be processing any venison this fall.

GRANT: This week is the two-year anniversary of my daughter Raleigh donating me one of her kidneys. We’re blessed that both of us are very healthy.

GRANT: Each year I return to the Mayo Clinic for an annual checkup. And as part of that checkup, I visit with a transplant dietician. Their job is to make sure the diet I’m eating is very healthy for a transplant patient.

GRANT: The appropriate diet for a transplant patient is simply a healthy diet for anyone and I have to describe to the dietician what foods I commonly eat. So, I always list venison and tell them I eat very little other sources of red meat. And they get all excited. And they tell me, “Grant, venison is the healthiest red meat you can eat or provide for your family.”

GRANT: And they go over the lack of antibiotics and that deer eat a wide diversity of plants. So, they’re getting the full mineral compliment versus a cow that might be limited to a pasture or a feedlot and only provided a certain food source.

GRANT: You can google and look up the nutritional analysis of wild venison and see that it’s extremely healthy. But it’s more than that.

GRANT: I like knowing exactly how the meat my family and I consume was processed.

GRANT: I really enjoy hunting and improving the habitat for game and non-game critters. I like seeing all the different critters while I’m out hunting and the thrill of creating a hunting strategy.

GRANT: Having the ability to provide fresh, organic meat to my family is a wonderful feeling and many people share that passion.

GRANT: I recently learned that the shop that processes the most deer locally where I live won’t be processing any venison this fall. They’re going to be focused on beef and pork because they got so behind during the covid crisis. I suspect many other processors will be following the same plan.

GRANT: Processing the deer is not difficult and allows you complete knowledge of exactly how that meat was handled from the field to the table.

GRANT: Given the current situation in our nation, I wanted to take a few moments and share with you how the GrowingDeer Team handles and processes meat from the field to the table.

DANIEL: There she is right there. Probably a yearling doe. Good eating. The freezer was getting a little empty from last year but we – we’re going to fill her back up. So.

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GRANT: My goodness.

GRANT: I simply place a Buck Cuff around the front legs of the deer to remove the whole deer from the field and take it to a clean place for processing.

GRANT: By bringing the whole carcass to a place that is clean and setup to process deer, you can avoid getting dirt and other debris in the deer and, ultimately, on the meat.

GRANT: Skinning a deer on the ground may be necessary during some hunts, but when you can bring out the whole carcass and hang it up, it makes the process much easier.

GRANT: Once the deer is skinned, the meat can be removed by primary muscle groups.

GRANT: Removing muscle groups or individual muscles from the bone saves a lot of space in the freezer or cooler if you’re bringing the meat home. It also makes it much easier to remove all the connective tissue when it’s time for that step.

GRANT: Once all the muscle groups have been removed, it’s important to start cooling the meat.

GRANT: We often place the meat in the cooler with ice and leave it overnight or put the cuts in a tub and place that in a refrigerator. If you do place it in a refrigerator, it’s important to cover the meat with water so it doesn’t become dried out.

GRANT: When it’s time to start processing the meat, we take it out of the cool area and remove all the connective tissue.

GRANT: Connective tissue is often responsible for the gamey taste some folks refer to. I have found that by removing the connective tissue, the meat tastes better and is more tender.

GRANT: When removing the connective tissue, it’s very important to have a sharp knife. This process is similar to filleting a fish and you don’t want to leave any meat attached to the connective tissue.

GRANT: This process will result in very clean meat that can be processed as you wish.

GRANT: These cuts can be made into steaks or roast and sized appropriately for how you cook.

GRANT: Ground venison is very tasty. We use a bunch of it for burgers, venghetti or spaghetti with venison, and other dishes. Or we can freeze the ground venison and use it later to make summer sausage.

GRANT: I strongly prefer using a vacuum sealer to package the meat because it will have much longer freezer life. Although that’s rarely a problem in the Woods’ house.

GRANT: You may think it’s expensive to purchase the appropriate processing equipment, but considering most processors charge a hundred dollars or more to process a single deer, it’s easy to see that you can pay for the equipment in a season or two.

GRANT: More importantly, you know exactly how the meat you and your family are going to consume was treated.

GRANT: Venison is a great source of protein and can provide many wonderful meals for you and your family.

GRANT: There are many benefits to processing and eating venison you harvest, and I encourage you to process the game you harvest this fall.

GRANT: Many of the recipes we use to prepare venison and other wild game can be found on our website.

GRANT: All aspects of managing habitat and hunting are great ways to get outside and enjoy Creation. But more importantly, I hope you take time every day to be quiet and listen to what the Creator says to you.

GRANT: Thanks for watching GrowingDeer.