How to Butcher a Red Stag

A step by step guide

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So you have managed to shoot your deer, you have got it home and skinned it, and now you are wondering what to do with this colossal lump of meat and bones before you can cook and eat it.

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Firstly, we have to cut the carcase into ‘primals’, this is to give us parts that will be easy to handle and to work with.

Tools - you will need a good sharp knife, a steel to maintain the sharp edge on the knife, a bone saw and an apron. It is important that the knife and steel are clean, not only for hygiene purposes but also for keeping the knife sharp.

They can develop a thin unseen layer of grime, which prevents the knife making a good contact so a scrub in hot water and detergent will prevent this.

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First off, locate the pelvic joint by feeling for the protruding bone as shown, then make a cut across the flank and down to the bone. Saw through the backbone and cut through the other side.

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Yep, you’ve guessed it! Saw through the bone and clear the otherside. You should now have 3 'primals' and the neck end, ready for butchering. 

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We will deal with the front end for now, so at this stage we will remove the ribcage and we do this by starting off with the knife as close to the bone as we can so as not to waste any meat.

The neck can also be cut into 1” sized discs. Braised and treated to a bath of red wine and accompanied with carrots, swede, leeks and makes for a lovely hearty casserole when cooked slowly in the oven. 

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Work the knife round the top rib and down the backbone and keep working downwards until the meat is free from the ribs as shown.

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The shoulder blade, or ‘scapula’ is removed now, so by starting the knife at the socket end, work down the bone, keeping the knife as close to the bone as possible again, and work all the way round until the shoulder blade is free.

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Find the joint at the top of the fore leg and cut through it and put the leg to one side, remove the bone from the ‘hand’ piece by running the knife along and around it, much the same as before and free the bone. This piece can now be sliced into steaks.

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We are going to remove the ‘back straps’ which are choice muscles of meat and are great when cut into chunky steaks and grilled or even better, barbequed.

With this in mind, you will want to keep the blade close to the backbone to ensure you get the meat off cleanly with no waste.

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Now we turn our attention to the inside of the mid-section where we are now going to remove the fillets.

Remove the kidneys and the surrounding fat but be careful not to cut in to the delicate fillets and then repeat the process of removing the fillets by keeping the knife close to the bone.

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Now we are onto the third and final part, the haunches.

The First job is to split the haunches by sawing through the bone as shown.

Steve then roughly measures one third of the way down the hip and marks, then saw through the bone to give us two parts, one of which (the chump end) will be steaked and the other will be broken down into roasts.

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We now need to remove the femur so that we can work on those roasting joints. Look for the bone that runs down the leg as shown in the photograph.

You will be looking to cut from the point of the bone, down along and slightly underneath the bone, back towards the other end and as you follow the bone round.

You will see the seams of the muscles. With the femur bone fully removed, run your knife down between the muscles using the seams as a guide to give you three separate cuts of meat.

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Job done! See the full video 'here'

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Realtree International Pro-Team members Steve Wild and Keith Anderson give us their step by step guide on how to Butcher a Red Stag...