Continued from How to Butcher a Deer
Next, all the entrails should be removed, if the animal was not field dressed. Again, a gut hook makes this easy. Cut from the anus, through the hip bones to free the anus, all the way through the rib cage to the base of the neck. Pull the anus free and then cut any connective tissue away until all of the digestive and cardio-vascular system are out, all the way to the windpipe.
Next, remove the shoulders by pulling and cutting the shoulder away from the ribs. Then, cut away the loin, or backstrap, from the carcass by following the spine with the tip of the knife and do the same along the ribs. If ribs are desired, cut them away from the spine with a hatchet or saw. Next, remove the tenderloins from the inside of the cavity, much like the was done with the backstrap. Last are the hams. The ball joint must be severed, much like the forelegs were done. Also the heel joint must be severed to completely free the ham.
Place all the meat in a cooler. I like to soak the meat in ice water for about 5 days. I will change the water frequently. This helps improve the meat quality greatly. This is especially true if the deer has yellow fat. Yellow fat means the deer has eaten a very poor diet of low quality foods. However, white fat means high quality foods and that means the deer will taste much better.
If the meat smells extremely gamey, it may be necessary to put a cup of vinegar or lemon juice in the water. This will help remove much of the smell. It is very important to not over do this especially with the vinegar, if it begins to true the meat a blue color, drain the water and rinse immediately. The meat is now ready for further processing.