Monday, November 15, 2021

Butchering steers (and hogs)

One of the things about hunting season that gives me joy is that I get to hang out with VERY cool people.

Like my nephews.

We went out to lunch and both of them expressed a desire to become more proficient at "butchering". Our conversation at lunch touched on farmers not getting decent money for their animals while consumers are paying big money for meat because there are not enough professional butchers.

Both of them can cut up a deer (sort of kind of). The cuts that don't work out become hamburger or stew meat.

But they find the idea of breaking down a steer with a hanging weight of 600 pounds to be daunting.

We all know that there are probably a half dozen strategies or practices that can reduce the anxiety and calorie burn to half or a quarter of what a rookie will experience.

So, a question to my readers...can you recommend any videos or books that are worth the time to watch/read? I don't need a college level course. We don't aim to be professionals.

Rather, we want to minimize the risk of job related injuries, minimize the calorie burn, minimize the waste and maximize the high-value cuts.

Even ideas as obvious as power winches (optimum way to set them up) or moving carcass up-and-down to be keep cutting in the ergo envelope or the order of breaking-down the carcass in a logical and rational way.


  1. I would suggest hiring a retired butcher to go through the process with them. I have friends that have done that and said that it is really worth the money.---ken

  2. I hired an Amish butcher to bring a knife and handsaw over and show me and the kids how to do it . $20 an hour for 4 hours . He had previously ruined aa 1200 pound steer at his shop with uncleaned equipment . I did not want to sell 800 pounds of beef on craigslist for dog meat again . Now we do it ourselves . With clean equipment .

  3. "Basic Butchering of Livestock and Game" John J. Mettler Jr., DVM

  4. I realize this comes from an Ohio location but there is a ytube channel by the"bearded butchers". There are episodes where they show the break down of cows, another with smaller animals pig and sheep another with processing deer at home and lots of other interesting content. I get the impression these are high end butchers, well out of my price range, but it sure seems like a free course in being a butcher. ymmv

  5. Scott Rea Project youtube channel.

    He collects it already killed and bled, and goes from there into retail cuts.

  6. I'll second the recommendation of the Bearded Butchers. Similar to your nephews, I've cut up lots of deer, but for a beef I want "recognizable" cuts of meat., and they show in a very easy to understand manner how to accomplish that. We will soon be trying it out, since I have a 2 year old beef that is blind, and I don't want the stress of trying to load it up and haul it to a butcher.

  7. The original "The Foxfire Book" published in 1972 has a good section on butchering hogs.


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