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Author Topic: Elk processing tutorials?  (Read 651 times)

Offline lamrith

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Elk processing tutorials?
« on: October 29, 2019, 08:35:25 AM »
Following along with my consumables thread I am wondering if there is a repository, go to videos or recommendations of places to research for someone looking to self process an elk for the 1st time?  Hands on instruction woudl be sweet, but I figure with seasons in full swing most are hunting or have their own animals to process.

Our family eats ALLOT of ground meat, so it is easy enough to throw everything but backstrap/tenderlions into a grinder and call it good. <shudder>  While that makes even me shudder the fact is we would consume it all no problem. 

However I would like to find out about how to cut some good steaks, maybe a few roasts as well.  But where to start?  Having never processed any animal before I have no idea where to start or what parts to cut into steaks Vs Roast, etc.  Any places you all recommend to get started researching?

How do folks like to cut up the backstraps?  I had a Mule deer backstrap a few years ago that was still in a log and cooked that way, it was DELICIOUS.  It was camp food cooked in a skillet so a nice sear on outside and inside was still pink.  Melt in mouth!!  Then I have seen some people cut them into steaks.  Having a smoker I am leaning towards the log format, but looking for guidance.
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Offline Stein

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Re: Elk processing tutorials?
« Reply #1 on: October 29, 2019, 08:40:58 AM »
There are tons of videos on YouTube.  When I taught myself, I bought this and it was incredibly helpful in getting me up to speed.  After that, it's just practice and personal preference.  I didn't have the luxury of unlimited YouTube material back then, so I think you could go either way.  Keep in mind that each person has their own way, particularly when deciding on what to keep as a roast, steaks, stew meat, misc cuts and grind.  Some people will really load up the grind pile while I try to keep it as small as possible.

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Offline bracer40

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Re: Elk processing tutorials?
« Reply #2 on: October 29, 2019, 08:50:53 AM »
If you want easy access to a more permanent resource for butchering (& cooking), you might want to check out Steve Rinella’s book (s).
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Offline lokidog

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Re: Elk processing tutorials?
« Reply #3 on: October 29, 2019, 08:52:21 AM »
No video to recommend. I just start on the outside and work my way in layer by layer. I prefer to get as much "junk" off before removing muscle groups from bone and then separating the individual muscles.

Anything can be made into steak, some will be tougher than others though.  ;)  Most muscles in the hind quarter get labeled as some kind of steak. The round gets labeled as roast unless I am doing a bunch of canning, then it all gets separated and chunked to be used in tacos or stews later. I freeze all of my "steak" in whole muscle as I can then decide how to prepare it later and not have to deal with precut steaks. For something like the ackstrap, I will estimate how many steaks of what thickness and cut in those lengths.

The lower shank I have started deboning and then removing the silver skin from the outside before freezing. When preparing this, cut into one inch pieces for a delicious Osso buco.

Good luck

One of my son's favorite ways to eat venison (deer, elk, etc) is to do a rub, smoke it somewhat dry, and then cut into thin slices for French dip.

Offline lamrith

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Re: Elk processing tutorials?
« Reply #4 on: October 30, 2019, 08:38:39 AM »
Thanks for the tips folks!

So some follow up questions:
For the parts I do turn into burger, how do you like to grind it? 1x with coarse plate, 2x with course?  1 Course, one Med?
Most if it I will not add any fat as the bulk of the burger we use currently is in taco, spaghetti, etc.  For the stuff I plan to make burgers with I am thinking just use bacon or maybe pork belly?  This burger will get ground and formed directly into patties then frozen ready to go.
Well not all of it... I think the 1st batch will go straight on the grill!!  :-p

How about slicing for jerky or stir fry, any particular section of meat you find work best, or a recommended thickness to slice to?
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Offline 7mmfan

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Re: Elk processing tutorials?
« Reply #5 on: October 30, 2019, 09:07:28 AM »
Here is a decent video put together by a guy named Clay Hayes. He does a decent job of showing how to break the quarters apart by muscle group, and gives a brief description of what each piece can be used for. I found it helpful.

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Offline 7mmfan

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Re: Elk processing tutorials?
« Reply #6 on: October 30, 2019, 09:14:05 AM »
Thanks for the tips folks!

So some follow up questions:
For the parts I do turn into burger, how do you like to grind it? 1x with coarse plate, 2x with course?  1 Course, one Med?
- For my burger, I only grind it once on the course setting. Without any fat in it, it all cooks down and separates into tiny pieces anyway.

Grinding when adding fat
- I have always only ground once, mixing the fat in as I go and hand mixing, but I can see the benefit of mixing and then regrinding. I just haven't gone that far. Every once in a while I get a package that's pretty fat heavy, or fat shy.

I have been using bacon ends and pieces for a long time as my fat, and I use nothing else, regardless of what I'm using that burger for. Some guys don't like that hint of bacon in their spaghetti, I think they're nuts.

How about slicing for jerky or stir fry, any particular section of meat you find work best, or a recommended thickness to slice to?
- I save the bottom round and sirloin for jerky most of  the time. Have used various top round and sirloin tip cuts as well, they all make good jerky.

One thing I started doing a few years ago is doing minimal processing/cutting on the front end, and leaving my cuts of meat as intact as possible. They freeze and keep better that way, and offer more flexibility down the road. Once you cut steaks, you can't uncut them into a roast. Same goes for the jerky cuts. Leave the bottom round as intact as possible, in case you don't get to it for a couple months, it will keep better, and if a different plan comes along in that time frame for that cut, you aren't left hanging because you already sliced it
.
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Offline 7mmfan

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Re: Elk processing tutorials?
« Reply #7 on: October 30, 2019, 09:16:16 AM »
Also, make sure and cut the eye of round out and save as it's own piece. Season and cook like a tenderloin or backstrap. Delicious.
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Offline lokidog

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Re: Elk processing tutorials?
« Reply #8 on: October 30, 2019, 09:59:08 AM »
I grind once using a 1/8" plate, but I also remove 98% of silverskin and anything else that is not meat. If you don't want to be that meticulous, I would course grind then regrind with the finer plate. With the 1/8" gring, I doi not need to add fat to the meat to get my burgers to hold together on the grill.

7mm, you can keep your bacon spaghetti....   :chuckle:

Offline 7mmfan

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Re: Elk processing tutorials?
« Reply #9 on: October 30, 2019, 10:27:56 AM »
I grind once using a 1/8" plate, but I also remove 98% of silverskin and anything else that is not meat. If you don't want to be that meticulous, I would course grind then regrind with the finer plate. With the 1/8" gring, I doi not need to add fat to the meat to get my burgers to hold together on the grill.

7mm, you can keep your bacon spaghetti....   :chuckle:

Perfect, more for me!!!
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Offline 206

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Re: Elk processing tutorials?
« Reply #10 on: October 30, 2019, 10:30:13 AM »
Here is a decent video put together by a guy named Clay Hayes. He does a decent job of showing how to break the quarters apart by muscle group, and gives a brief description of what each piece can be used for. I found it helpful.



I watched some of this and actually smelled that meat.  I obviously butcher my own.

Offline Angry Perch

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Re: Elk processing tutorials?
« Reply #11 on: October 30, 2019, 11:09:50 AM »
I'm with Loki. You can cut roasts into steaks, or add something to your grind after the fact. But you can't turn steaks into roasts, or pick the fat out of your burger.

Offline Stein

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Re: Elk processing tutorials?
« Reply #12 on: October 30, 2019, 11:54:05 AM »
If you want to start with a few steaks and roasts but want most ground, that's easy.  Grind everything except the backstrap, tenderloin and one or both rear quarters.  The backstrap can be cut into 2-3 roasts or sliced however thick you want steaks.  For deer, the tenderloin is a single serving steak and maybe a couple steaks for elk.

For the back quarter, watch some videos and follow the seams.  Save the one that looks like a football for roasts (it's located right above the kneecap and called the top sirloin).  Next, you want to find the top round and cut that into steaks.  It is thicker than the bottom round and has more rounded corners where the bottom round is more square and flat.  The top round looks more like the top sirloin than the bottom round does.  The bottom round will have a ton of silverskin and the top round will have much less.

You can use the rest of the hind quarter for more steaks, stew meat, grind or whatever you want.  That should be a good place to start and you can adjust depending on what you and your family like.
« Last Edit: October 30, 2019, 12:03:14 PM by Stein »

Offline lamrith

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Re: Elk processing tutorials?
« Reply #13 on: October 30, 2019, 12:14:56 PM »
Thanks guys!

Is the brisket on an elk any good for low n slow like it can be from beef?  Obviously elk do not have as much fat which makes me wonder if it will work cooked that way.
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Offline Russ McDonald

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Re: Elk processing tutorials?
« Reply #14 on: October 30, 2019, 12:44:06 PM »
No video to recommend. I just start on the outside and work my way in layer by layer. I prefer to get as much "junk" off before removing muscle groups from bone and then separating the individual muscles.

Anything can be made into steak, some will be tougher than others though.  ;)  Most muscles in the hind quarter get labeled as some kind of steak. The round gets labeled as roast unless I am doing a bunch of canning, then it all gets separated and chunked to be used in tacos or stews later. I freeze all of my "steak" in whole muscle as I can then decide how to prepare it later and not have to deal with precut steaks. For something like the ackstrap, I will estimate how many steaks of what thickness and cut in those lengths.

The lower shank I have started deboning and then removing the silver skin from the outside before freezing. When preparing this, cut into one inch pieces for a delicious Osso buco.

Good luck

One of my son's favorite ways to eat venison (deer, elk, etc) is to do a rub, smoke it somewhat dry, and then cut into thin slices for French dip.
Sounds just like what I do.  Grew up doing hoof to freezer on everthing we harvested.  People always ask when they come over and I cook them wild game why it taste so good.  I always tell them I process the game 100% make sure I have great cuts of meat.  I have smoked a moose roast on my old smoker and it was awesome.  Wrapped it in bacon though. 

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Offline lamrith

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Re: Elk processing tutorials?
« Reply #15 on: October 30, 2019, 01:19:01 PM »
Here is a decent video put together by a guy named Clay Hayes. He does a decent job of showing how to break the quarters apart by muscle group, and gives a brief description of what each piece can be used for. I found it helpful.

:kneel:
WOW, that is about perfect.  I like the way he is working through it group by group.  Only 12min in, but that is the one I will have pulled up when I am breaking mine down if I get one.
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Offline CaNINE

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Re: Elk processing tutorials?
« Reply #16 on: November 01, 2019, 01:45:05 PM »
The bearded butchers have a great series on YouTube.
The lazy do not roast any game, but the diligent feed on the riches of the hunt.

Proverbs 12:27

 


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