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Thread: Processing cost?

  1. #1
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    Default Processing cost?

    Reading many people's hunting threads leads me to believe a lot (more than I would have thought) of people simply take their animals (primarily moose/caribou) to a processor. When people are talking about 400-600 pounds of meat taken to the processor are you literally talking about taking an animal directly from the field or do you hang them and then take it in? I occassionally get specialty meats done by a processor, but I hang, butcher and wrap my own meat. I do my own burger and sausage, but as said, we sometimes get specialty meats done. I feel like I pay an arm and a leg to simply get 20-50 pounds of meat done so I was wondering how much it costs to get an entire animal done.

    I try and rationalize that part of the reason I hunt is for the healthier option of wild game, but also because of the cost involved in purchasing meat all winter. So my question is...how much does it cost someone to get an entire animal processed?

    I apologize for the less than intriguing thread, but I was curious...for taking part, you can view my moose from this year, a respectable 64.5 inch bull. (yes, that is meant to be humorous)

  2. #2
    Member fk 107's Avatar
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    Wouldn't know...I haven't taken anything to the processors for years. We have done our own meat. We make burger, sausage, ribs, steaks, roasts, etc! I couldn't imagine paying for that. It cant be cheap. We have got a system down and processed a whole moose this year in a day and half. The half was to let the sausage season overnight before we packaged and froze it. Great Moose and congrats!
    "One Last Cast"

  3. #3
    Member akrstabout's Avatar
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    Burger is about $.50 a pound if meat is already off the bone. Sausage is $.89 a pound plus the fat or 50/50.

    On the bone is about $.95 a pound or so I believe at most places. That will include taking off the skim coat, deboning, cutting steaks and roasts and packaging, not vacuum sealing.

    I butcher my own animals also. But take in clean boneless meat for burger, black bear summer sausage, moose polish and moose hot dogs. Nice to have a variety those items are cheape, no more than $1.79 a pound, well the bear summer sausage is around $2.39 or so.

    For the costs and not having the hassel in my house and not to mention the time, I consider that priceless! Steaks and everything I can do and package or vacuum seal. White wrap seems to last really well if packed right. Plus faster and cheaper.

    I would like to get a commercial grinder sometime to put in my garage with my butchering station. But so far the $.50 a pound is good enough.

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    Some people light their cigars with flaming 100$ bills......


    I couldnt imagine paying some one to do the work I set out to do myself, starting with a pull of the trigger.......
    If you can't Kill it with a 30-06, you should Hide.

    "Dam it all", The Beaver told me.....

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    Quote Originally Posted by strangerinastrangeland View Post
    Some people light their cigars with flaming 100$ bills......


    I couldnt imagine paying some one to do the work I set out to do myself, starting with a pull of the trigger.......

    I agree. Although I'll never experience the level of your subsistence lifestyle (which at times I envy and at other times...I don't), I choose to take care of virtually everything on my own, even though I have a reliable processor just down the road from my house. I guess I don't understand going through the process of harvesting an animal only to take it to someone else to take care of. Some people may not know how, or they have enough money to where it isn't a big deal, but I personally enjoy the butchering process, it completes the adventure I suppose, and usually it is in a warm, enclosed environment, usually accompanied by cold beverages.

    Another shot of this year's freezer filler. Antler's are going on our bath house at the cabin, meat is already in the freezer, and in our bellies!!

  6. #6
    Member Chisana's Avatar
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    I'll fess up. I have all of my meat processed by a commercial facility. I live in Dutch Harbor and it is too much of a headache for me to fly the meat out here and then cut it up myslef. By the time I get home from a hunt I need to get back to work, etc.

    This year we took two sheep to Delta Meat (150 pounds) and processing cost us just under $250. That was for steaks, roasts and burger.

    Our moose camp took three moose this year and my share was 3/4 of my bull (both fronts and a rear). Hanging weight was 576 pounds. Mat Valley meats did the processing and in addition to the steaks and roasts I had the grinding meat divided equally into burger, italian sausage and bratwurst. Processing cost was about $1200.

    Processing isn't cheap, but I have always been very happy with the products from Mat Valley and Delta Meats. Between them they have done over a dozen animals for me in the last five years and I have never been diappointed.

    This is what has worked for me.

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    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    We cut and wrap our own steaks and roasts (though I don't actually use any meat as a "roast", I use the term since most folks know the meat I'm referring to), and we do our own burger as well. Two years ago I went in with my brother on a commercial grinder and now we can make great burger in our own home. We do pay to get sausage and hot dogs made, though. We trim all of the meat before delivering it, and I'd say we end up spending about $2-300 per year on hot dogs and polish sausage. It is well worth it for the product we get.

  8. #8
    Member jkb's Avatar
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    For the past 10 years or so we've just boned out our meat, steaking the backstraps, keeping a few roasts. The rest to the processor for burger and sausage. When I had more time I would do more myself now I'm just happy to make it in to the woods for a few days.
    Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming-----WOW-----what a ride!
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    Member AKFishOn's Avatar
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    I do the same as many list above, processes my own except for specialty meat (sausage and hunter sticks) for that I take frozen chunks that I have trimmed off and placed in large zip locs, I take it to the processor in late JAN or FEB where I believe they are at a better time to deal with the meat without a constant flow in and out during the peak of hunting season (get own meat back, perhaps cared for better, but who knows). I'm made my own sausage and hunter stick but find the product better and well worth the money from a processor. I do make a lot of jerky, smoked and dehydrated. Last year bought a nice grinder from Cabelas which did great on burger and sausage (casing not as easy to work with as I would have liked). Prior to this years moose I bought a cuber, and a 80 liter dehydrator both from Cabelas, and I have use a deli meat slicer from Cabelas to cut the jerky meat (roasts) when things slow up later in the year. I do vacuum pack all meats with the CG15 Cabelas vacuum packer also. They (Cabelas) make good stuff and for the past 5 years I've been picking up Cabelas items when I see them in their sale and bargain cave...

    I even tried to grind up canned salmon to make my own dog treats, worked good but very dry and real time consuming - - can fish, grind fish (with a mix), roll fish out, dehydrate, package, then dog ate too much and threw it up. Decided to can fish for in laws instead ;-)

    That said if you have to get back to work, back to the field the help with a buddies moose or hunting, it could spoil as it is so hot out, or perhaps do not have a place to hang it or process it, take it to them. In my opinion many do a great job and to each his or her own.

  10. #10
    Member sledhands's Avatar
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    Got a fork horn 369 lb whole skinned . Had to go back to work so I took it to Mike's meat in Eagle River. Cuts, burger, and Polish Sausage wrapped and packaged $334. So $0.90 a lb don't even no what I got 30 lb sausage I believe and rest unknown My wife picked it up and put it in the freezer. Her and the kids have had some but just a steak out of the hind is all I had. Good meat. Head shot. Mikes always does a good fast job. The yellow jackets were ferocious when it was taken. Hung it up that night and pulled the skin in the morning had to start a fire and get the water hose out to get near it so I could take it to the processor.

  11. #11

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    I had my bull processed at Indian Valley Meats. Their website details the costs of processing...http://www.indianvalleymeats.com/

    By the way, that's a dandy bull.
    "The days a man spends fishing or spends hunting should not be deducted from the time he's on earth. " Theodore Roosevelt

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    Quote Originally Posted by strangerinastrangeland View Post
    Some people light their cigars with flaming 100$ bills......


    I couldnt imagine paying some one to do the work I set out to do myself, starting with a pull of the trigger.......

    rep +1 ! couldn't agree more!

  13. #13
    Member Vince's Avatar
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    me and sausage casing. don't get along, fat clumsy fingers and slippery limp prophylactic thingys just ain't working in unison???


    so i have about 80 lbs turned into stuff like hot dogs, brats etc each year

    we sent 3 livers to anchorage for liver sausage to be made... (mmmmmMMM the only way to eat liver!!!)

    the rest we do at home

    2 grinders on course i medium
    1 steak cuber
    and a cabalas vacuum packer

    i bone cut and trim

    the kids stuff in to grinder one then grinder two... then bagged....

    mom vacuum pack as i hand it to her.
    "If you are on a continuous search to be offended, you will always find what you are looking for; even when it isn't there."

    meet on face book here

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    Years ago.......the wife said you kill it I want it processed into those neat little white bags so I know what I have. Hell I kill it she cooks it might as well make her happy right?

    But I for one never truly learned how to process an animal,Ive always picked up on tid-bits.And More than Likely I'll take the Moose to the processors again unless anyone wants to show this rookie how to do an entire Moose? Im willing to learn.

    Hurry back Vince so I can learn something or Im gonna go get some of that Moose before you get back.btw! sorry about the wheeler that you loaned me that was already BROKE!

  15. #15

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    I cut meat for a living for 4 years, that was enough for me to not want to do it again. Anytime I take a moose, caribou, or sheep, I take to Indian Valley Meats, they aren't the cheapest but the cuts and specialty meats are always done the way I like them. I dropped off roughly 450 lbs of moose 2 weeks ago and I suspect the bill will run upwards of $400+, which is fine considering what I ordered.

  16. #16
    Member OKElkHunter's Avatar
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    Default cut and debone myself

    I debone, cut and clean all my animals myself, but, I go to the processer for hamburger and specialty stuff like hot-dogs and sausage. I grew up in a family that raised and butchered hogs and learned all that stuff when I was a kid, but I haven't invested in a good grinder yet, so I rely on a processer for the ground stuff. Once I get a grinder, i'll do it myself if I have the time after a hunt, if not, i'll still use a processer for the grinding, mixing, sausage stuffing and curing. I cut all of my own steaks, Back-strap, tenderloin, and roast myself. I vaccum pack everything myself, as well, even the stuff from the processor. I just have them put it, loose, in boxes, except for hamburger.
    I do prefer doing it myself, cause I know how well the meat will be taken care of; when I turn it in to a processor, I always leave wondering what I'm gonna get back; but, I haven't had a bad experience yet. I do research the various processor in an area to find out if there are any bad reviews before I'll use one. BTW, I use Indian Valley here in the Anchorage area and their stuff has been great, prices not bad either... the Liverwurst they make is DA BOMB!
    Last edited by OKElkHunter; 09-22-2009 at 17:26. Reason: added content
    “Don't expect to build up the weak by pulling down the strong." ~Calvin Coolidge~

  17. #17

    Default I process

    all steaks roasts, and stew meat myself. I save the rest to be processed into other things. Have been taking it to Indian Valley for jalepeno/cheese dogs and spicy polish. Took in over 200#s last fall and ended up over $600. Won't take in that much this winter, so cost should be much lower.

  18. #18

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    I think it is not so much the chore of cutting up the animal as the experiance. Some of my fondest memories are cutting up game with my father when I was young. My son helped out this year with my moose (he is 5yr old) doing little things and spending time with dad. It took my wife a few years to get into the swing of things, but after 10yrs she is a pro and by the time I am done cutting she will have most eveything packaged and ground. Paying somone to do this for me would be the same as paying someone to go shoot the animal and bring it to my house. I do understand that some people don't have time to do it themselfs but if the reason is you have never done it before, grab a knife and dig in you won't regret it. For me this is my trophy, my family woking together to fill the freezer. No offence but you can keep your 100lb horns untill you figure out a way to BBQ them

  19. #19

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    Can't quite figure out why taking your game meat to the processors equats to the same as them shooting it for you too. I use to process my own meat for many years and I just don't enjoy it anymore so that's why it goes to the processor. You get back clean wrapped meat, assorted variety of cuts and sausages and such and you don't have to dispose of the carcass afterwards....win/win for me.

  20. #20

    Question Buy fat in bulk to add to burger?

    Like several others have mentioned, I clean and bone the meat out myself in the garage, separate out the good cuts for roasts, steaks, straps, tenderloins, etc. Then the grinder pile goes to the processor. If I atleast do that much work myself, I can feel a little better about the cleanliness of my meat. I'm a big fan of Indian Valley for their specialty cuts, hot dogs, sausage, and also their burger. This year got 200# turned into burger, summer sausage, lots of hotdogs, pepper sticks, and came to just over $350.

    Questions about grinding yourself: Where can you buy beef/pork fat? I usually get 20-25% pork fat added to the burger to give it some juice and keep it together. If I wanted to go somewhere in Anchorage/Valley to buy 50lbs of beef or pork fat, where would I go?

    Thanks

    -Ken

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