Butchering Tips On Boning a Venison Hind Leg
Now that you’ve cut up the carcass, it’s time to bone the meat. Boning is easier than bone-in butchering, and usually results in tastier meat. Bone marrow is fatty and can turn rancid, even in the freezer. By boning, you avoid cutting the bones, so there is no bone residue to affect the meat’s flavor.
In addition, boned meat takes less freezer space and is easier to wrap. There are no sharp edges to puncture the freezer wrap and expose the meat to freezer burn.
The photo sequence that follows shows an easy method for boning a big-game animal. To roughly estimate the amount of boned meat you will get, divide the field-dressed weight of your animal in half. You will get a smaller yield if the shot damaged much meat, or if you aged the animal.
Work on a large hardwood or plexiglass cutting hoard. To keep bacterial growth to a minimum, wash the board with a solution of 3 tablespoons of household bleach to 1 gallon of water, and wash it occasionally during the boning process. Keep two large bowls handy for the trimmings. As you bone, place large chunks to be used for stew in one bowl, and small scraps for sausage or burger in the other.
How you make the final boning cuts depends on the animal’s size. On a moose, for instance, the rump portion is large enough to yield several roasts. But on an antelope, the same cut is too small for a roast; it is better for steaks, kabobs or stroganoff. Keep the meat cool throughout the butchering and boning process. Work on the carcass in a cool shed or garage. To reduce bacterial growth, bone and freeze each portion as you remove it, or refrigerate it until you can bone it.
You can butcher faster by working in pairs; while one person cuts up the carcass (see the butchering piece in the previous edition), the other works on boning. Save the bones if you want to make soup or stock. The backbone makes particularly good stock. Saw the larger bones into pieces to fit your stockpot.
|1. A hind leg consists of the sirloin tip, the top and bottom rounds, the eye of round, a portion of the rump, and the shank. The sirloin, rounds and rump are tender cuts for roasting or grilling. The shank is tough and best for ground meat or soups.|
|2. Separate the top round from the rest of the leg after cutting through the thin layer of silverskin that covers the leg. Work your fingers into the natural seam, then begin pulling the top round away from the leg. Use your knife only where necessary to free the meat.|
|3. Cut along the back of the leg to remove the top round completely. The top round is excellent when butter-flied, rolled and tied for roasting. Or cut it into two, smaller flat roasts, cube for kabobs or slice for sautes.|
|4. Remove the rump portion. Cut the rump off at the top of the hipbone after removing the silverskin and pulling the muscle groups apart with your fingers. A large rump is excellent for roasting; a small one can be cut for steaks, kabobs or sautes.|
|5. Cut bottom away from sirloin tip after turning leg over and separating these two muscle groups with your fingers. Next, carve sirloin tip away from bone. Sirloin tip makes a choice roast or steaks; bottom round is good for roasting, steaks, or kabobs.|
|6. A boned leg will look like this. Cut the shank and upper leg bone apart at the knee joint if you plan on using the shank for soup. Or cut the meat off the shank close to the bone, trim away the tendons and silverskin, and grind the meat for burger or sausage. Use the leftover bones for stock. On a larger animal, you may wish to separate the eye of round from the top round.|
|7. Make large-diameter steaks from a whole hind leg by cutting across all the muscle groups rather than boning as described above. First, remove the rump portion as described, then cut the leg into inch-thick steaks. As each steak is cut, work around the bone with a fillet knife, then slide the steak over the end of the bone. Continue steaking until you reach the shank.|
Click here for: Tips on how to bone a front leg.