Butchering Your Own Meat
For larger animals a gambrel is used to spread the legs to hang it and make skinning the animals easier. It is difficult to explain the skinning process here but we will try.
Starting at the rear hoof area we want to make a slice vertically downwards and try to separate the skin from the meat gently by short strokes against the hide as opposed to the meat. Go all the way around the hoof working your way all the way down cutting and pulling at the same time. You maybe able to pull down a lot faster near the stomach area. The neck area is hardest.
Once the hide is off the animal it should be washed down with a gentle spray of water or use rags in warm water to remove hair and blood.
Processing Prepared Meat
The homesteader learns to do his own butchering to save money and to benefit from his work. Knowing how to butcher like a professional is not necessary. Butchering, cutting and wrapping will vary in prices but in 2008 you can expect to pay about 35 cents a pound minimum. A large animal will be costly. You already supplied the meat so now you may also want to supply the labor for free.
Homesteaders should evaluate the greatest use of meat cuts they prefer according to their family needs. Some meat such as wild meat may not produce the best steaks because the frying pan will make them tough. Barbeques may also do this with wild meat such as deer. However, steaks may not be the best choice when roasts, stews, hamburger, tenderloin can all be derived from one animal.
Most people enjoy a variety of cuts and some cuts are more tender than others.
Generally one can look at the animal and recognize parts of the animal that can be separated such as the front and rear legs. Start with the front legs by slicing the meat close to the rib cage in between the legs and you will see that they will show signs of separating without having to cut any bone.
Next remove the neck.
If you want tenderloin you cut along the backbone but off to the side a bit and try to take a wedge out of that area along the back of the rib cage. Or, you may want to make chops by cutting off the rib cage area first, then the remaining body in that area and temporarily freezing the backbone section. Afterward, you may cut this into chops with a band saw blade.
If you have already removed the neck, ribs, front legs, you may have to remove the carcass from the tree to remove the rear legs off the body. The rear legs or thighs are perfect for roasts or steaks.
The front legs will be alright for steaks but may best be suited for stewing meat, or hamburger.
Save as much trimmings as possible for hamburger or sausage.
Wrap enough meat for one meal into waxed paper of freezer bags. Place cuts of the same kind of meat into a larger freezer bag for double protection against freezer burn.
You may also want to consider the new vacuum bagging machines. Placing meat cuts of the same type into a larger bag helps preserve meat longer and keeps it all organized.