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Bought a grinder and vacuum sealer -- would appreciate some advice #8962306 11/27/23 12:30 AM
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25 years ago I used to process my own deer. Just steaks. For the past 10 since I began deer hunting again (my two boys playing three sports each including travel baseball kept me/us out of the woods) I've used local processors for sausage, burger and steak cuts...wrapped but not vacuum sealed. Quality consistently just ok and haven't loved the eating experience.

A light bulb went off for me a few weeks ago to handle it all myself moving forward. So I began researching grinders and mix recipes etc. And a proper sized cooler to elevate deboned venison over ice for 7-10 days to age it prior to processing.

The LEM grinder, vacuum sealer and cooler have arrived. After watching North TX whitetail bucks and does all month, the plan is to harvest a mature doe this coming weekend to begin the aging cycle and then process the hams and shoulders.

Question for you guys already doing this. My plan is to mix my ground venison 50 50 with beef brisket... grinding both. Any recommendations there? Also, would you recommend adding any specific seasoning prior to sealing? (planning 2lb packages). Lastly, does it make sense to form burger patties prior to freezing for some, or leave all as ground blocks?

Excited about the endless potential with the grinder. Btw, north TX deer processing costs approx $250-300 per animal. The grinder will pay for itself after 1.5 animals. Plus, I'll control the quality and mix...no more mystery. Thanks for any advice!


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Re: Bought a grinder and vacuum sealer -- would appreciate some advice [Re: 71Rcode] #8962362 11/27/23 01:37 AM
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I have a meat market that will save brisket trimmings for me, just call them about a week before I plan on needing them. I mix it 75/25 for my liking. I don't pre season it and just put it up in 1 or 2lb packs. I've thought about getting something like this for pre made patties but haven't yet
https://www.amazon.com/Prepworks-Pr...-bAdgrgi67forzMWexoCVoAQAvD_BwE&th=1

Re: Bought a grinder and vacuum sealer -- would appreciate some advice [Re: 71Rcode] #8962372 11/27/23 01:49 AM
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Thanks Dink. Great to know on your process / ratio and butcher. Great idea! I picked up a patty mold similar to the one in your link.


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Re: Bought a grinder and vacuum sealer -- would appreciate some advice [Re: 71Rcode] #8962390 11/27/23 02:15 AM
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I do my own. My butcher saves beef fat for me. I mix 80/20 venison/tallow. I vacuum seal in one pound bags. I do not add seasoning. I do vacuum seal some pre made burger patties. My wife prefers to cook with the ground venison over ground beef. Tenderloins are frozen whole. Backstrap sliced. The rest gets ground. Run it through the grinder twice. The venison and the fat will grind a lot better if it is half frozen. Periodically running ice cubes through the grinder will keep the beef fat from stopping up the plate.


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Re: Bought a grinder and vacuum sealer -- would appreciate some advice [Re: 71Rcode] #8962396 11/27/23 02:32 AM
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Thanks smokey. I appreciate you taking the time to post man. Everything you described is what I've been studying and plan to do. Also good idea on the mixture.


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Re: Bought a grinder and vacuum sealer -- would appreciate some advice [Re: 71Rcode] #8962428 11/27/23 03:15 AM
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We have always done our own. We use pork fat, but sure beef will work as well. I buy trimmings from H‑E‑B if you ask they will save them for you. We like to mix 90 venison 10 pork trimmings for burger and 80/20 for sausage. Don’t season before freezing. Nothing wrong with vacuum sealing but for burger I find it cheaper faster and plenty effective to wrap in freezer paper.


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Re: Bought a grinder and vacuum sealer -- would appreciate some advice [Re: 71Rcode] #8962478 11/27/23 10:43 AM
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I would only buy briskets to add and never any trimmings from any meat market. You`ll get all the extra fat (and more) from the briskets that you`ll need. Trimmings from a meat market are exactly that. Mix and run the deer meat and brisket meat thru the grinder at the same time. Put the meat in the freezer prior to grinding for 30-45 minutes so it is really cold or slightly frozen on the outside before you run it thru the meat grinder. You can also put the grinder parts in the freezer to insure they are cold. Run the meat thru the grinder 2 times. Use the grinder plate with the larger holes first and the smallest holes last. I even put the meat in the freezer after I grind it the first time for a while. It will run thru the grinder much better the colder it is. The grinder parts will heat up during the process, so you need the meat as cold as possible. I don`t recommend making any patties prior to freezing or adding any seasonings. I use the WEVAC brand vacuum seal bag off of Amazon and they work great for a good price.

https://www.amazon.com/Gamesaver-We...p;hvtargid=pla-4583657825298738&th=1

Re: Bought a grinder and vacuum sealer -- would appreciate some advice [Re: 71Rcode] #8962479 11/27/23 10:56 AM
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Thanks red and tpack. Red, what you described is also exactly what I have researched and planned to do regarding the freezing prior to grinding and the dual grind. Thanks for confirmation on the brisket. And that brand of bags exactly what I purchased based on reviews. Thanks man.


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Re: Bought a grinder and vacuum sealer -- would appreciate some advice [Re: 71Rcode] #8962482 11/27/23 11:15 AM
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We do a 60 venison/40 other meat (we use boston butts) mix here. Don't make patties - breakfast sausage in 10 oz single use packages. Hamburger goes into one pound packages. Of course, all fresh & dried sausage goes into links. We never add seasoning to hamburger, preferring to spice it up as used.

This practice does come with some non-economic costs. Took me about two hours to efficiently debone a 160 pound field dressed deer yesterday and I still ahve to vac seal it for whan I pull it out to make sausage. It is so worth it. Taking control of your meat will allow you to consume it in the manner in which you desire. Your cuts will likely be much "cleaner" than what the procesors hurriedly provide.

.

Re: Bought a grinder and vacuum sealer -- would appreciate some advice [Re: 71Rcode] #8962827 11/27/23 09:28 PM
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Thanks hud. Great information and experience there. Your last statement should have rung true with me 10 years ago ....but better late than never right?!


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Re: Bought a grinder and vacuum sealer -- would appreciate some advice [Re: 71Rcode] #8962852 11/27/23 09:58 PM
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I like to do my ground with a 90/10 vension to beef trimmings I get at the counter of my local HEB. Then for pan sausage I do about a 85/15 venison to pork butt. I like to vacuum seal 1# packages and flatten them out as they stack better and are a quick that in warm water. I also cut up my backstrap into enough to serve my family for a meal. Then I do whole muscle cuts for making pastrami and low temp smoking. I still take one a deer a year to the processor for making sausage, tamales and buck sticks. If he didn't make such a damn good product I would be making my own sausage.


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Re: Bought a grinder and vacuum sealer -- would appreciate some advice [Re: 71Rcode] #8962901 11/27/23 11:00 PM
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For years we did 50/50 venison/porkbut. I see no discernible difference in using pork buts or trimmings only just arrive at different amounts of meat.


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Re: Bought a grinder and vacuum sealer -- would appreciate some advice [Re: 71Rcode] #8962926 11/27/23 11:22 PM
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I save all the brisket fat trimmings from all the brisket that I cook through the year, and use it in my grind meat. I have gone to the local michochana if I run out. Last time they gave it to me for free.(I also bought some cheek meat at the same time) I like 90/10. No need to add beef meat...just enough fat to help it stick. I get the 1 lb sleeves from academy and package the meat that way. Super easy with a stuffer. I don't season until I cook.

Re: Bought a grinder and vacuum sealer -- would appreciate some advice [Re: 71Rcode] #8962927 11/27/23 11:24 PM
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Don't put the shanks in the grind, cut them into 3 or 4 inch lengths and save for Osco Buco. The tendons will gum up the grinder.
If you can find it, the flat iron steaks on the shoulder blade are awesome steaks, very tender but you have to take the tendon out of the middle of them-kind of a pain.

When you get to sausage making, go to a place that you like their products and buy some of their seasoning mix, easier to start that way.
Weston and Excalibur have good seasonings, probably a butcher/packer supply somewhere down there with seasonings and supplies for processing.

You all use a lot of fat for burger, we go 10-15 % beef and 50/50 game to pork for sausage.

Re: Bought a grinder and vacuum sealer -- would appreciate some advice [Re: redchevy] #8962969 11/28/23 12:02 AM
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Originally Posted by redchevy
We have always done our own. We use pork fat, but sure beef will work as well. I buy trimmings from H‑E‑B if you ask they will save them for you. We like to mix 90 venison 10 pork trimmings for burger and 80/20 for sausage. Don’t season before freezing. Nothing wrong with vacuum sealing but for burger I find it cheaper faster and plenty effective to wrap in freezer paper.



those are about the mix fat to venison that we use. Also like to do some with bacon for bacon burgers. For years I have used quart ziplock freezer bags for the ground meat put about a pound in and flatten it out getting all the air out possible.


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Re: Bought a grinder and vacuum sealer -- would appreciate some advice [Re: 71Rcode] #8963601 11/29/23 12:35 AM
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If we are going to make venison hamburgers, particularly thaw the lean venison trimmings, grind 80/20 with bacon. Don’t grind it till a few hours before grilling, like for a holiday cookout. Would not want to freeze with bacon in it. Makes great burgers!!!!


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Re: Bought a grinder and vacuum sealer -- would appreciate some advice [Re: 71Rcode] #8963666 11/29/23 02:16 AM
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I always just grind 100% venison to keep my options flexible. If I want a specific mix for hamburger all do it after thawing and day of cooking

Re: Bought a grinder and vacuum sealer -- would appreciate some advice [Re: 71Rcode] #8964055 11/29/23 08:21 PM
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I just shoot hogs, and I get enough fat ones that I don't have to find extra fat to add. I'm usually discarding some. What everyone else has said regarding grinding meat sounds good to me. If, however, you decide to stuff sausage into links I have a few comments.
A sausage stuffer is nice. I don't have one, but I still think they're nice.
I make small batches of sausage, five to ten pounds at a time. That's why I haven't bothered to get a stuffer. I don't make a lot of sausage. If you're not using a stuffer, one thing that's nice, in my opinion, is having a foot switch into which I plug my grinder when I'm stuffing links. Being able to control the grinder while still using both hands elsewhere helps me a lot.
Other than that, I've tried various home made seasoning recipes off of the internet, but I've decided it's easier and better (for me) to just buy seasoning mixes. I use AC Legg bratwurst seasoning #104 for Brats and Tex-Joy sausage seasoning for both breakfast sausage and links. I add 2-3 TBSP of cayenne to a jar of Tex-Joy seasoning. For breakfast sausage I also add a TBSP of sage for every five pounds of meat. Others will have their recipes that they prefer and that's what makes the world go 'round.


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Re: Bought a grinder and vacuum sealer -- would appreciate some advice [Re: kmon11] #8964387 11/30/23 04:20 AM
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Originally Posted by kmon11
For years I have used quart ziplock freezer bags for the ground meat put about a pound in and flatten it out getting all the air out possible.


Buddies/brothers/and me now put a pound of ground meat (breakfast-sausage mix or hamburger mix, etc) into a GALLON freezer ziplock bags PRESSED FLAT
and even - getting all the air out, then 'score' about 1/2 way thru into 'quarters' in the bag- then stack these in the freezer.

You can literally DEFROST these right in the pan or on grill - while cooking!
You can easily and immediately remove 1 quarter frozen solid from the bag to cook a single, or 2, 3, or all 4 squares - throwing whatever you don't cook right back into the freezer!
1 quarter can be cooked as is to go straight on to a bun for a hamburger or patty-melt,
and 1 breakfast-sausage quarter can be easily be 'quartered' in the pan (when defrosted/cooking) to make 4-serving sized breakfast sausage patties!

Of course they can also go into chili, spaghetti, tacos - anywhere you'd use ground, with almost zero defrost time.

No way I'd ever go back to putting ground into a fat chub or small thick pack that needs to be defrosted then re-formed before cooking when ya coulda easily done it up front with the fresh meat!


Re: Bought a grinder and vacuum sealer -- would appreciate some advice [Re: 71Rcode] #8964626 11/30/23 04:28 PM
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I grind all my HB meat and almost always package it like this. I use qt. freezer bags and weigh out every package. It`s not hard to get most of the air out and then I fold the package over on itself and squeeze out most the rest. I`ve kept it up to a year and never had any freezer burn. I bought a new MEATyourmaker vacuum sealer 2 weeks ago and may start using it since it`s much better than my old Foodsaver brand I`ve had for almost 15+ years. I`ve used the sausage bags with my grinder horn before, but you can`t get the exact amount in each package like I want. It is quicker using the sausage bags though. You have to have the tape dispenser also to seal the bags.


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Re: Bought a grinder and vacuum sealer -- would appreciate some advice [Re: 71Rcode] #8964680 11/30/23 05:31 PM
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I guess I'm odd man out here. I don't add any beef to my ground venison. For some recipes I use it as is. For burgers, I add chopped bacon to it before cooking. Seems to work for us.

And when I want the deer processed (as I often do), I'm paying $140 a deer for basic processing (slicing backstraps and steaks, the rest ground). My guy also tenderizes all of the backstraps and steaks for $10 per deer. That's at Dry Creek Processing in Poolville.

Re: Bought a grinder and vacuum sealer -- would appreciate some advice [Re: 71Rcode] #8969879 12/08/23 04:17 PM
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Hey gents. Just wanted to share an update. I bagged a nice fat doe a week ago. After skinning her and butchering her out the next morning I had her meat in my large RTIC cooler for a week, with the venison elevated in baskets above the ice. 6 days out which was last night I trimmed all the meat removing the connective tissue and silver skin etc. Save that for the dog. Cut up my back straps make sure everything was clean and put into the refrigerator. Also picked up a 15 lb brisket yesterday and trimmed it down putting that in the refrigerator. This morning around 6:00 I began the process. I put the Venison and the brisket which I sliced (brisket) into 2-in wide long strips into the freezer for about 30 minutes before grinding. I also took out a 12 oz package of bacon from the freezer and let it thaw for a bit. In the end I went 50-50 venison brisket with a little bacon thrown in.

The LEM Bigbite 12 grinder was amazing just chomping up the half Frozen Venison and brisket like it was nothing. I ground them separately with the course plate and then brought them back together with the small plate for a dual grind so three total grinds. I would throw the ground meat into the freezer for about 20 minutes in between the second and third grinds. The vacuum ceiling was equally impressive. I think it took me about 3 hours plus to go through the deer and have it all in the freezer. That includes about 10 or more pounds of scraps for the dog which I also vacuum sealed. Here are a few pictures of the work in action. Really appreciate all the advice and encouragement. Really enjoyed this experience and being self-reliant.

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Last edited by 71Rcode; 12/08/23 04:23 PM.

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Re: Bought a grinder and vacuum sealer -- would appreciate some advice [Re: 71Rcode] #8969886 12/08/23 04:20 PM
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Re: Bought a grinder and vacuum sealer -- would appreciate some advice [Re: 71Rcode] #8969903 12/08/23 05:04 PM
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Looks like you did a good job. banana

Re: Bought a grinder and vacuum sealer -- would appreciate some advice [Re: 71Rcode] #8969913 12/08/23 05:26 PM
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Thanks Tpack. Puts perspective on how easy it is to pull the trigger... that's when the work begins


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