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Deer meat processing is not much different than beef butchering, and the same amount of care should be applied to the carcass. The required removal of the silver skin or sinew of the deer meat is commonly the largest difference between the two. Once the deer is hung and allowed to cool down and bleed out thoroughly, the hide is removed. The fat is commonly trimmed in the first stage of processing deer meat, followed by the removal of the silver skin from the meat. The back straps are commonly removed next in the deer meat processing, followed by the removal of the rear quarters, the rib sections and then the front quarters and neck.
The back straps, or loins as they are most commonly called, are typically butterfly-cut during the deer meat processing. This cut is also commonly the most preferred cut of the venison for many eaters. Occasionally, during some discount meat processing, these loins are saw-cut into sections called chops containing small pieces of backbone and upper rib meat. This is a common practice in some processing plants due to the expediency of the process as compared to hand-cutting and trimming the loin. In some areas where deer chronic wasting disease (CWD) is prone to exist, much of the bone, including the ribs, spine and neck bones, are disposed of and not consumed by humans.
The hind quarters are cut into steaks, roasts and any small pieces are left for burger meat. Commonly chilled to near freezing, the large quarters are placed in band saws at the deer meat processing plant and sliced into the desired cuts. Round steaks and roasts are the largest cuts from the hind quarters. The ribs are trimmed of all fat and silver skin and sectioned into small packages. The front legs can be cut into individual steaks or left whole as roasts, depending on the wishes of the customer.
In most deer meat processing plants, nothing is left to waste. Small pieces of meat from the brisket, rib and neck areas are used to create burger or stew meat. The hide is also sold, tanned and used for leather. A popular option when using a deer meat processing plant is to have the entire or partial animal turned into venison jerky, summer sausage or pepper sticks. This option is a good way to utilize the entire animal while feeding friends and family during parties, holiday meals or simple get-togethers.