Butchering Steps to Bone A Venison Front 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 front leg consists of the shoulder, arm and shank. The meat from the front leg is less tender tat that of the hind leg, and is used for pot roasting, stews, jerky or grinding.
2. Cut along bony ridge in the middle of the shoulder blade. One side yields the small, boneless chuck “tender.” Bone the other side along the dashed line to make a shoulder roast.
3. Trim remaining meat from bones. Use the chuck ”tender” for jerky or stews. Pot roast the shoulder roast, cut into stew chunks or use for jerky. Grind the shank meat for burger.


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