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Thread: How do you butcher your moose?

  1. #1
    Member gogoalie's Avatar
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    Thumbs up How do you butcher your moose?

    I like using what the ADF&G put out making it easier to butcher & more clean, but I read a butchering livestock book, & it seems that that is the best way to butcher a moose, to get all the good steaks out if it, but a little more complicated as you won't be able to "hoist" the moose up if you're in an weird position when the moose goes down.

    People here on the Yukon cut the legs off w/o skining them, & then bust the ribs off with an axe, & cut the head off, & cut the neck off, & then break off the brisket, lift the ribs & remove them from the hide on the ground, & break them off with an axe, & then sever the back bone right after the ribs & remove the hind quarters, & fore quarters...

    Sorry the thumbs down icon should be a thumbs up!

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    Default WOW

    That seems pretty darn efficient; have you personally done a moose like that? I'd like to see images of the process and the final product. I like to leave the skin on if it's raining or if the spot is really muddy or dirty and then skin the quarters after they are hung; much easier to keep the meat clean and you don't the get the stink eye from your processor. <--- Processor w/hairy meat face.
    "He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit is better than he who takes a city." ~ Proverbs 16:32

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    We bone them out where they drop.
    Peyton, Colorado

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    Default 4 or 5 pieces

    We gut him. then take the head off at the big ball joint at the base of the skull. Then we cut him laterally just in front of the second from last ribs. Then we stand the front half up and start sawing the vertebrae longitudinally from the neck down. Next we prop him up on his hams and again cut the vertebrae in half.
    We carry him out on a stretcher normally, or better yet build a meat pole in site, and hoist him right there. The skin comes off once he is in the air. The bags go on immediatley after the hair, dirt, and duff is removed. A red flag goes on the rear quarter with evidence of sex for F$G Id.
    We almost always have a minimum of 4 adult men. Sometimes a few more hands (kids, older folks) to help pull, hold, push, and skin.

  5. #5

    Default Moose??

    With the help of 2 friends and 3 kids! I taken 2 moose in the past 2 years and man oh man are they work! Great meat but lots of work! This year I going to chase caribou, no moose unless a 55+ jumps in front of the gun!

    Walt
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  6. #6

    Default usually bone them out

    I usually start by skinning and getting the meat apart to cool. Usually have a tarp to set the clean meat on. I work on one side at a time. Working by yourself makes it tough. The last moose I had to back pack out was solo and I just separated it all out and then began boning all the meat out to be put into individual loads in game bags.

    When I have an atv, skin and quarter, separate ribs/brisket, bone out the rump, take off the back straps/tenderloins, separate the neck and load up.

    Last moose done in the boat was in a muddy area, so I quartered with the hide on to keep the meat clean. Skinned out the rest of the animal to cool. The quarters were hung up later that evening and skinned out. Keeping the hide on when it is muddy or in the boat won't hurt, but good a idea to get the hide off asap.

  7. #7
    Member AKBighorn's Avatar
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    I've never downed one in a muddy area so I never put much thought into that. We used to gut it, roll it over skin one side, remove quarters, head/neck, ribs and bag. Roll back over onto a tarp, and repeat. The ribs are cut off the backbone, bagged and then the backbone bagged separate.

    The last 2 we skinned one side, removed and bagged the quarters. Rolled over onto a tarp and repeated. Removed the head and neck as a whole with skin attached. Cut ribs off one side, dumped the guts, and cut the ribs off the backbone and bagged. The second method seemed to be a lot easier not having to work around a gut pile the whole way.

    After downing mine on or near a hornet nest last year and getting stung 3 times in the process. I am glad I didn't have to bone it out. I have always been fortunate enough to be able to get a wheeler to the site for hauling it out. We did drop one at the edge of a swamp once and 2 wheelers made it effortless to pull it out to drier ground for butchering.
    Last edited by AKBighorn; 09-07-2007 at 14:47. Reason: sp

  8. #8

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    Well shoot. I thought this was going to be about meat cutting rather than simply getting it out of the field.

    Carry on.

  9. #9
    Member gogoalie's Avatar
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    Default Brownbear...

    Go ahead & tell us your method & then what you do to butcher & care for it afterwards...

  10. #10

    Default

    Split the hide down the back, fold it off and take the top quarters, backstrap, ribs and top-side neck meat. Roll the guts away, take the tenderloins, pop the bottom ribs and remove them, disconnecting the front quarter at the same time, then disjoint the bottom hindquarter. Lift the spine and take the backstrap, then flip the spine to get at the bottomside neck meat. Now skin and take both of the bottom quarters. We remove the head prior to the flip if necessary.

    Back home, great big round steaks may look impressive, but they're tough in some spots because the muscle groups go in all different directions. I always break down the hindquarters into individual muscle groups, then steak those so all are tender. Lower legs to roasts and stew meat. Shoulders go to roasts and stew meat, same for both neck slabs. Backstrap is cut in chunks for slicing after grilling, rather than butterflied. They hold their moisture when cooking better that way. Ribs are cut into sections and stacked before wrapping and freezing. We used to double wrap, but now vacuum seal everything.

    We grind no hamburger at the time of butchering, instead putting up everything as stew meat. When we want burger we just thaw a pack of stew meat and run it through the grinder on our Kitchenaid mixer. It keeps better frozen in chunks rather than run through the grinder and mixing in a lot of air in the process.

    And don't forget the good stuff. Tongue, kidneys, kidney fat if there is any, heart and liver are tops. Best of all is the lace. For those who don't know of it and keep it, that's the web of fat that is in a separate layer over the paunch. Peel it off and hang it on a bush to dry while you are doing the rest of the carcass work, then fold in waxed paper and take it home. Wrap that around roasts for baking, and it's better than bacon or butter.

  11. #11
    Supporting Member bushrat's Avatar
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    Thumbs up What BrownBear said

    Excellent description of how you do it BrownBear. We do it pretty much the same, cept we don't slit the hide down the back. I go up the belly so I'm left with a full hide when done, which we also bring back and save. Only other difference is we hang all our meat until it freezes, then thaw it as needed and cut steaks and stew meat etc. The kidney fat goes into a clean bucket along with the lace, and we hang that in a game bag, using it through the winter to mix with mooseburger or fry with. Tongue is eaten first or second night, boiled into sandwich meat. Haven't done the lace-roast thing, but now will have to try it. You sound like you have it down real well there!

  12. #12

    Default

    "Tongue is eaten first or second night, boiled into sandwich meat."

    You too!

    Too bad moose don't have a tongue the size of a hindquarter.

    Here's something a little different for day 2 on the tongue: We use it to make our version of Basque pickled tongue: Slice the leftovers and layer it with thin sliced raw onion, then pour olive oil and a little white vinegar over it. You could just as well use italian salad dressing. Chill it overnight and eat that along with the onions in your sandwiches. Dang, I'm getting hungry even thinking about it!

    If we have need for a hide or know someone who does, we do it the same as you.

  13. #13
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    Cool slick moose cleaning

    i can't pass this one up...we got a late cow moose last year and cut it in half with a folding buck knife. lungs and heart came out the front and guts came out the back. then tied a tow rope through the hind leg behind the tendons. we put a rope around the neck of the other half. tied both halves to our snowmachines and drove them out. after about 20 miles, there was a pretty good rubbed off patch of hair where they dragged, but the hide is ultra tough and never wore thru. also my thumb was a little sore from holding the throttle down. it was an awful lot of work getting the halves from the snowmachine trailer to the back of the truck (probably 10 extra minutes). everything made it to the garage for more detailed cleaning-with no dirt working on a tarp. i hope to repeat all again this year as it is just soooo easy.

  14. #14

    Default

    BTW-

    It's worth any expense and effort to bring out those sweet moose bones. After you've done your butchering, cut the big bones into sections and put them along with scraps into a large pot. Barely cover with water and add a bunch of onions (dry onion works fine) and garlic if you want (dry or powder is fine here, too), then simmer for hours till the remnants of meat are falling off the bone and you can shake the marrow out.

    Distribute the meat scraps and marrow evenly between quart canning jars and add the liquid from the pot. Can this up for a long winter of great base for soups and stews. It's good enough to heat and drink all by itself.

    Long as you have the canning gear out, hack some of your stew meat into bite size chunks, brown in a skillet and can in quart or pint jars. Talk about great sandwich meat! Also simply add to the jars of stock for quick stews

    What about all those bleached white bones? The heck with buying chew toys and treats for your dogs. Pack the bones and freeze them loose for easy retrieval. Your dogs will thank you every time you open the freezer door.

    Between Mark and I we have pretty well used up a moose. Any parts left over? I tried making tripe, but unless you know a lot more about it than I thought I did, I'd draw the line there. Ugh.

  15. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by BrownBear View Post
    Split the hide down the back, fold it off and take the top quarters, backstrap, ribs and top-side neck meat. Roll the guts away, take the tenderloins, pop the bottom ribs and remove them, disconnecting the front quarter at the same time, then disjoint the bottom hindquarter. Lift the spine and take the backstrap, then flip the spine to get at the bottomside neck meat. Now skin and take both of the bottom quarters. We remove the head prior to the flip if necessary.

    Back home, great big round steaks may look impressive, but they're tough in some spots because the muscle groups go in all different directions. I always break down the hindquarters into individual muscle groups, then steak those so all are tender. Lower legs to roasts and stew meat. Shoulders go to roasts and stew meat, same for both neck slabs. Backstrap is cut in chunks for slicing after grilling, rather than butterflied. They hold their moisture when cooking better that way. Ribs are cut into sections and stacked before wrapping and freezing. We used to double wrap, but now vacuum seal everything.

    We grind no hamburger at the time of butchering, instead putting up everything as stew meat. When we want burger we just thaw a pack of stew meat and run it through the grinder on our Kitchenaid mixer. It keeps better frozen in chunks rather than run through the grinder and mixing in a lot of air in the process.

    And don't forget the good stuff. Tongue, kidneys, kidney fat if there is any, heart and liver are tops. Best of all is the lace. For those who don't know of it and keep it, that's the web of fat that is in a separate layer over the paunch. Peel it off and hang it on a bush to dry while you are doing the rest of the carcass work, then fold in waxed paper and take it home. Wrap that around roasts for baking, and it's better than bacon or butter.
    This is pretty much the way we do it also. One difference is the burger and sausage. We grind that after cutting and wrapping all else. Pard has a commercial grinder that used to be a grocery-store meat-department item. Rubbermaid tub full in minutes!
    Repeat after me: Placement. Bullet. Caliber.

  16. #16
    Member stevelyn's Avatar
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by gogoalie View Post
    I like using what the ADF&G put out making it easier to butcher & more clean, but I read a butchering livestock book, & it seems that that is the best way to butcher a moose, to get all the good steaks out if it, but a little more complicated as you won't be able to "hoist" the moose up if you're in an weird position when the moose goes down.

    People here on the Yukon cut the legs off w/o skining them, & then bust the ribs off with an axe, & cut the head off, & cut the neck off, & then break off the brisket, lift the ribs & remove them from the hide on the ground, & break them off with an axe, & then sever the back bone right after the ribs & remove the hind quarters, & fore quarters...

    Sorry the thumbs down icon should be a thumbs up!
    Folks a ways upriver from you taught me how to disassemble meese. We skin first disassemble and put the quarters in cheese cloth bags.
    Now what ?

  17. #17

    Default

    Long as we're making each other hungry, I'll toss in ideas for the liver. Hard to beat it fresh, but the darned thing is so big you have to freeze lots unless the neighbors show up with their hands out. Problem is, it can get grainy in the freezer. I don't mind the graininess, but my wife doesn't like it after it's been frozen.

    We found common ground in the leftovers, whether fresh or frozen. Cut the cooked leftovers in small cubes, the smaller the better for anyone who doesn't like the texture of liver. Add diced raw onions, and maybe some celery if you want, then enough mayo to make a spread. Use this in sandwiches, and pretty quick you'll be thawing, slicing and cooking the liver for sandwiches without a midway stop on the dinner table.

    Another option if you like liverwurst but don't want to go to all the trouble of making it: Simply run cooked liver through the meat grinder and add a little mayo and seasonings to taste. Use it as is like a spread, or put it into the reefer to chill and firm, then slice like liverwurst. It isn't "real" liverwurst, but your taste buds are going to like it just as well.

    Dang, now my fantasy moose has both a tongue and a liver as big as a hindquarter. I'd be happy if it had twice as much ribs too. It's turning into a pretty funny looking critter, but I'd be eating good.

  18. #18

    Default moose liver

    I've got a moose liver and heart from yesterday that you can have in Anchorage.

  19. #19

    Default

    I'm not in Anchorage, or I'd be right on it. If no one here takes you up on it, connect with these folks or one of the shelters and I bet it's gone in a flash.

    Thanks for putting this out there. Shame to see really good food wasted.

  20. #20
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    BrownBear your making me drool, and I can't go Moose huntin this year

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