How to Butcher a Deer for Sausage Making

Learn this butchering method to more easily use deer meat for sausage making.

| October 26, 2011

The following is an excerpt from The Complete Guide to Sausage Making by Monte Burch (Skyhorse Publishing, 2011). Learn how to butcher meat and how to make sausage using this guidebook, complete with several easy-to-follow recipes for dozens of sausage variations. This excerpt comes from Chatper 3, “Food Safety.” 

My favorite method to butcher a deer for sausage making these days is to bone off all meat while the deer carcass is still hanging. This prevents the possibility of contamination from pathogens found in the brain and spinal column when cutting through them with a meat saw. This results in a pile of boneless meat, the loins going into the freezer for steaks, and the rest to be ground “burger” or for sausage making, with some used for jerky as well. 

How to Butcher a Deer 

To begin butchering a deer, the carcass should be hanging head down. The first step is to skin the carcass (if not already done). I like to use a rope winch to lower or raise the carcass as I work on the different areas. The skin can be removed with or without cutting off the head and front feet. One method is to skin down to the head and cut it off at the neck, then skin down to the front feet and cut them off with a meat saw. Or skin down to the head and cut off the skin at the joint between the head and neck. Cut from inside the skin to help prevent getting hair on the carcass. Skin down to the hocks and encircle the legs with a cut to remove the skin from the legs. The latter avoids using a meat saw completely, but it requires a bit more skinning effort.

Using a good, sharp boning knife, separate a front shoulder from the carcass. There is no connecting bone joint between the shoulder and the body. Simply pull the front leg out and away from the carcass and slice it off. Lay this shoulder aside and remove the other.

Again, using a good boning knife, simply cut all the deer meat away from the shoulder bone and leg.

The bottom portion of the leg is filled with sinew and is quite tough. I usually add this to another pile to be used as “dog food” (cooked first) for our Labs, but it can also be ground with a sharp grinder. Note: There is a sharp ridge of bone on the outside of the shoulder that must be cut around to obtain all the meat from the side.

just a voice
11/21/2012 3:57:59 PM

Seriously the whole deer into sausage why ?? You can get burger ( which I like better then beef ) Dried venison ( which you can't tell from beef ) and their is canning it which I like also.I agree please start showing pictures on the how too's

Sandra Dyer
11/3/2011 5:34:37 AM

Interesting article! I'll be tempted to try it to recoup some of the damages to my truck if I hit another deer! lol Two in as many weeks- we're having a population explosion around here and it's a shame to waste the meat.

John LeDoux
11/3/2011 12:54:08 AM

Like always, your articles contain no pictures.

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