Thursday, November 20, 2008

Cuttin' Up Elk

Well, got the elk to the house last night (already quartered) and put it all in big coolers with ice outside on the north side of the house so it would stay cold. Turned out a pretty cool day so I'm not concerned about it going bad out there. Started in on it this morning--had some help show up, but still only got through one front quarter and one hind quarter along with all my mom duties for the day. And it's not a very big elk either. So tonight I made sure the meat that was still in the coolers wasn't sitting in water from the ice and will tackle the rest tomorrow.

To cut meat, I always cut open a kitchen trash bag and lay it over my counter to put the meat on--lots easier cleanup. Grab your knife, sharpener, cutting board and get to it. The lower legs with all the tendony stuff in them are best for bottled meat or ground up for burger. Above the joint you get some really nice chunks perfect for roasts, steaks, jerky, etc.--just look at your chunk of meat and ask yourself "What does this chunk of meat want to be?" Ha ha ha--just kidding, but it's almost that easy. You actually ask--"What cuts can I get out of this chunk of meat?" Real thin pieces won't make good steaks (steaks are particularly good cut across the grain), but might work for jerky or bottled meat. Some pieces can provide any number of cuts, you just look at the bowls and decide what kind of cut you want more of and start cutting it. I'm only making steaks, jerky, and bottled meat with this elk--those are my 3 favorite ways to eat elk, and I'm in charge of the butcher job, so that's how I'm cutting it.

Here's the hind quarter partly cut up. I have bowls on the counter to put the cut meat in--one for steaks, one for jerky strips, and one for bottled meat chunks. One good "roast" piece can give you some of each cut, so I just sort as I go and pack the meat when the bowls get full or the bone gets empty.

Same hind quarter, turned over, minus the meat--my dog had a good time with this one . . .

Next post . . . bottled meat!


Sharla said...

Okay, maybe I'm glad I wasn't there. Just the pictures are making me sick. Of course maybe that's cuz I've had the flu. Seriously Angela, you've been like crazy lady with this blog! Awesome!!

Will Blog 4 Food said...

Just wondering where you got your times? I just canned chicken, which would seem to me to be less hazardous than elk, and it made me do it for 10 pounds at 1 hour 15 minutes for pints. 55 minutes doesn't sound like enough, but maybe with the higher pressure?

Angela said...

Will--I just use the time from the lady who taught me who has been doing it for many years. I have been bottling elk with the 55 minute time for over 10 years now and had no ill effects. If you look up bottling meat in your canning book it will probably say 1:15 or something like what you did. Probably good to be safe, but I'm okay sticking with 55 minutes here. :)