Archive for the 'Processing' Category

Proper Field Dressing for Great Tasting Game

Monday, November 5th, 2018
Field dressing deer

Field dressing deer

This is Passport to Texas

It’s deer season in Texas, and harvesting the animal is just the beginning.

Once you’ve pulled the trigger and you’ve got an animal down, the work really begins.

That’s longtime hunter and accomplished home cook, Lee Smith. Field dressing, which involves removing the animal’s internal organs, is a race against the clock.

Meat spoils due to three things: heat, moisture and dirt. Getting those internal organs out is going to immediately start to let that carcass cool. Second thing is: the skin. Taking that skin off is going to get that animal cooler, and also allow it to dry quicker. Once you’ve got it back [to camp], and taken the skin off, you rinse out the interior chest cavity, and get it into that cooler.

If you’re hunting on public land, or there isn’t a walk-in cooler at your lease, once you’ve field dressed and skinned your animal, quarter it.

That’s taking off the four quarters, the two backstraps, and the rear legs. That’s what you are legally bound to take. If you don’t take that, you can be ticketed for waste of game.

Put the quarters into tall kitchen garbage bags, and then into coolers with ice. How to handle game at home – that’s tomorrow.

Out show receives support in part from RAM Trucks: Built to Serve.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.

Meat Processors Help Feed Hungry Texans

Wednesday, October 26th, 2016
Huinters for the Hungry

Hunters for the Hungry helps feed Texans

This is Passport

Feeding Texas is a non-profit association that represents food banks in the state. Hunters for the Hungry is one of the programs it oversees.

The way it works is, we recruit meat processors to help us get venison out to the families that we serve. For hunters it’s an opportunity to donate back to their communities. And, for our food banks, it’s an opportunity to have access to a really great lean source of protein that the families that we serve really need.

Celia Cole is CEO of Feeding Texas. She says Hunters for the Hungry enjoys enthusiastic hunter participation among deer hunters. Yet, Cole says they need more processors.

Our greatest challenge is bringing in enough processors. So, in all of the areas where there is a lot of hunting, we are in need of more processors. And that is the key to making this program work.

Cole says it’s easy for processors to sign up.

We have our website and processors can go there to sign up. Really, all they need to do is enroll with us and show a copy of their inspection and be willing to package the meat in the packaging that we provide. So, it’s fairly simple for a processor to register and become involved in the program.

Tomorrow: how Hunters for the Hungry benefits processors, hunters, and the community.

The Wildlife Restoration program supports our series.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.

Early Texas Life…and Sausage

Friday, August 21st, 2015
Hanging sausage to dry at Sauer-Beckmann Living History Farm

Hanging sausage to dry at Sauer-Beckmann Living History Farm

This is Passport to Texas

Buying ready to cook food wasn’t an option for early Texans. Most grew vegetables and raised animals to feed their families. Timing was everything when processing certain foodstuffs.

05-Things like this butchering that we’re doing today, or making sausage, has to be done in the wintertime.

Summer heat would spoil fresh meat. The Sauer-Beckmann Living History farm, at the LBJ State Park and Historic site, interprets early Texas life.

05-What we’re doing on a daily basis down here is just trying to show you how people would have lived a hundred years ago.

Which means this early 1900s farmstead did not have the benefit of refrigeration. If families wanted bacon or sausage in summer, for example, they had to plan ahead and make it during the cooler months of the year.

05-Because a lot of the meats we prepare, they take about ten days to cure.

Attempting to cure meat in 10 days of Texas– summer heat would raise a stink. Staff uses 60 % beef to 40% pork when making sausage, a favorite of the German families that settled Texas Hill Country communities.

10-You know, these people ate a lot of lard, they ate a lot of fat. But they were working so hard that it really didn’t make them fat, because they burned it all off. They worked their way through all those calories.

Something to consider next time you’re in air conditioned comfort, eating a sausage sandwich, unbuttoning the top button of your jeans.

That’s our show… For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I-m Cecilia Nasti.

Hunt | Food: Doing your Own Processing

Thursday, December 18th, 2014


Processing venison at Feral Kitchen

Processing venison.

This is Passport to Texas

Chris Houston of Austin is a hunter and home cook; he butchers and processes what he harvests; but that’s not always been practical.

05—We have a decent sized [kitchen] counter space, but certainly a limited area and limited equipment.

Hunters, says Houston, go to processors because of limited workspace, equipment, and a lack experience. He adds processors are decent folks who provide a good service – but he still wonders what comes back to him.

06—Am I getting back my animal in the sausage? Am I getting all the meat that I had taken in there?

Chris Houston taught himself to butcher and process, and excels at it now. To empower others to do the same, he offers a fully equipped commercial kitchen and his knowledge as Feral Kitchen, a wild food workspace.

23—Butchering and sausage-making tends to feel complicated. However, it can be really simplified. And so, we really want to pass on that education and that confidence to others. We’ve been offering some classes on general game butchering, and some other classes on sausage-making to kind of help people take that step in the learning curve to doing it themselves. And, really, to just try and simplify the entire process.

Learn more about butchering and processing wild game on the Texas Parks and Wildlife website and at

The Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program supports our series.

That’s our show… For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.