Monday, December 30, 2013

Smoking a Whole Turkey

David from Riverside, Ohio wrote:

What do you suggest as far as temperatures and length of smoking times for smoking a whole turkey? I have a Bradley Smoker.

Thanks for the question David,

Smoking a whole turkey can be really tricky, so you do need to be careful. I recommend injecting the bird with your favorite marinade or just using melted butter and inject the breast, legs, wings and thighs really well to increase the moisture content.

When I inject, I usually do it at least 24 hours prior to smoking to allow the muscle fibers to absorb the marinade that I have injected in. When smoking large products like hams, turkeys or geese, I always let them sit at room temperature for at least an hour to get all that ambient cold out of the meat before placing it into the smoker. It's such a battle for the smokehouse to take such a large, cold piece of meat and heat it up. I also preheat the smokehouse to 180F and let the cabinet remain at that temperature for 15-20 minutes before I ever place the turkey in the smoker. The best way to explain this is like warming up your house or hunting camp after the heat has been turned off or down low for several days. It just takes time to get the temperature of the walls, furniture, floors, cabinets and internal fixtures up to temperature. 

Let's get up to speed here! So we inject the bird to keep it from drying out, let the marinade soak in for 24 hours or so, then set the bird out to warm up to room temperature, preheat the smoker to 180F and allow it to remain at that temperature for 15-20 minutes.

Now you're ready to load the bird into the smoker. Place the turkey in the smoker with no smoke turned on. Large pieces of meat have so much moisture, you really don't need to be in a rush to begin smoking. I will typically dry the surface of the bird for at least one hour before applying smoke. Remember: The skin of your turkey is very moist and it's going to pick up smoke very fast! So, unless you want a really hard-smoked bird, you better dry the surface a little to keep smoke from sticking too quickly to the surface of the skin. 

After you dry the surface, you're ready to apply some smoke if you would like. I like to smoke for 2 hours at 190F. Next, you're ready to begin finishing the bird. At this time, I remove the bird from the smoker and place it into an oven bag. This oven bag, which you can purchase at any grocery store, will do wonders to keep your bird nice and moist. Place the bird into the bag and make one or two small holes in the top of the bag to allow the bag to breathe. 

Now, increase the cabinet temperature up to 300F until the timer pops or the bird reaches 180F internal temperature.

Enjoy your turkey dinner and thanks for the great question!

"The Meat Man"
Brad Lockwood

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Safe Consumption of Non-Recovered Game

Rodney from St. Louis, MO asked:
This is a question that I have been unable to find anyone who could answer and I hope you can...When hunting in cold or warm weather, what is the time limit for safe human consumption of an animal that has been shot and not found? I hope that you have an answer for me.


This is a very good question and I'm glad you asked. Often times you will hear hunters on TV saying they made a less than perfect shot so they decided to let the animal go overnight, meaning 8-10, sometimes even 12 hours later. Here is the issue: I have made many "less than perfect shots" and had animals expire very quickly. I have also made shots that looked to me to be perfect and never recovered the animal at ALL!

I can only provide you with what the USDA has given to us in the meat processing industry. Their information says that you have 2 hours to get the hide and internal organs out of the animal. 

Is this reasonable in a hunting condition? Probably not. 

Therefore, I would simply say this: Recover the animal as quickly as possible and remove the internal organs and hide as quickly as possible. No matter if I BELIEVE I have made a perfect shot or less than perfect shot, I always give the animal 45 minutes to an hour to expire and then I go the first 100 yards and see what the blood trail is looking like. Give the animal and your meat the benefit of the doubt and go the first 100 yards to see what you have. If you have to back out and resume tracking the next day then so be it but you owe it to the animal and your meat to try and recover the animal as quickly as possible.

If you do get into a situation where you must leave the animal overnight and then you do in fact recover the animal, never save the inside tenders (fillets) as they lay next to the intestines and often times gas will be released from the stomach and intestines into this area. I always check between the hind legs for off color meat on the inside of the thighs so to speak. In the pelvis area, this meat will take on a green tint, If I see spoilage in this area I automatically assume I have lost my hind quarters. I would rather be safe than sick!

So in closing, I would say always give the animal the benefit of the doubt and try to recover the animal as quickly as possible. I have even recovered gut shot animals that went less than 100 yards and expired in less than 1 hour. If you do have to let the animal go overnight, do a complete inspection of the meat coloration before consuming. I hope this helps answer your question.

"The Meat Man"
Brad Lockwood

Friday, November 15, 2013

Is Aging Required for Ground Products?

Ryan from Saskatoon, Sask wrote:

Just purchased and watched your Deer and Big Game Processing Volume 1 DVD. I enjoyed the DVD and feel like it has given me confidence for field dressing.

I have a question regarding aging. Is aging required if I plan on grinding up all the meat for jerky and sausage?

Thank you

Thanks for the great question Ryan!

Aging changes the moisture content and flavor of the meat. It also affects the tenderness of the product. If you are grinding the meat for sausage and/or slicing it thin for jerky, then breaking the muscle fibers down during the aging process may not be necessary because you are not looking for a tender product.

However, the flavor of the product will vary between an aged animal and a fresh processed carcass. I'm not saying one would be more desirable than the other, this would be personal flavor preference. I'm just saying that if you make a processed meat product like jerky or sausage, you will taste a difference between a product made with aged meat and the same product made from freshly harvested meat.

You may want to age one front shoulder for 3-5 days and then process the other fresh and see which you prefer. Let me know your thoughts on the results please.

I look forward to the results and findings on your experiment!

Thanks again for the great question!

"The Meat Man"
Brad Lockwood

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Aging, Cold Smoking & Food Safety

Dave from Elk Ridge Maryland wrote:

Brad: A quick question... Here, we get plenty of does and my cousin wants to skin and hang a whole deer for about three days in the barn (temp in barn stays around 40 degrees and no more). But, he wants to let it dry and just cold smoke it for five hours, then process the meat after 3 days. How safe would that be? Thanks for your help!


If I'm understanding your question correctly then yes, aging a deer in the barn at 40F for 3 days will be perfect! That's the correct amount of time to age and the proper temperature. There are several questions on the blog under aging that will really help you to understand the aging process. This link will direct you to all of of my posts on aging:

On cold smoking... Check out this other post regarding cold smoking procedures and understanding the cold and hot smoking process:

During cold smoking you will need to further process the meat product after the smoking process because you have never applied heat to reduce, eliminate and kill bacteria. If you simply cold smoke then consume the product, you are eating pretty much 100% raw meat, which is not good. If you are going to cold smoke then be prepared to fully cook the product later. 

One of my favorite processed meats is cold smoked sausage. I use a breakfast sausage mix, then stuff into standard natural hog casings. I make sure the casings are wet to the touch so they will absorb a lot of smoke, then I apply 3 hours of cold smoke, keeping the smokehouse cabinet temperature below 100F. I remove the product and immediately refrigerate. Then I pan fry and serve. Great product! On jerky, which is an item that is generally consumed immediately, I would not recommend cold smoking the product.

Good luck with all the does this season and try some cold smoked sausage! You will love it!

"The Meat Man"
Brad Lockwood

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Fat Ratios for Venison Sausage

Matt from Bancroft, IA wrote:
I have been making sausage for the last two years and in both years they have been dry. The mixture is 50/50 venison and pork. What should I do to have it be more juicy?

Thanks for the question Matt,

Try using a blend of 50/50 pork trim. This blend will consist of 50% pork fat and 50% lean pork. This will increase your fat content and give you a much juicier and more flavorful product. You can also purchase 50/50 beef trim as well for beef based products. This is the blend I use for all my game meats. I prefer this over lean beef and pork as well as straight beef or pork fat. Look into 50/50 beef and pork trim and use it at a ration of 6lbs of lean game meat to every 4lbs of 50/50 trim. Try that and I believe you will be very satisfied with the results.

Thanks for the great question and good luck this season!

"The Meat Man"
Brad Lockwood

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Fermento & Dextrose Substitutes in Summer Sausage Recipe

Topher from Benton, TN asked:

I have a summer sausage recipe that calls for fermento and dextrose. Do I need to buy these to make summer sausage? What are their purpose? Can I substitute something else?


Thanks for the question and yes there are substitutions for dextrose (pure sugar) and fermento (non-fat dried milk).

My only suggestion on the dextrose is to add a little bit less sugar than dextrose - 80% of what the recipe calls for. Sugar is sweeter to the taste than dextrose.

On the fermento, you can add an equal amount of non-fat dried milk, which you can purchase at any supermarket.

One additional tip when processing summer sausage: Only add 1/4 of the non-fat dried milk into the mix before grinding. This product is a binder and will really make the meat sticky, so it can bind up your grinder when trying to complete your second grind. Add the rest of the non-fat dried milk after the second grind, and then mix very vigorously until the meat batch becomes very sticky. This will help bind the meat in the large casing together tightly, which is very important when processing large diameter products such as summer sausage.

Good luck and thanks for the question!

"The Meat Man"
Brad Lockwood

Friday, October 25, 2013

Do I need to trim all the silver skin before grinding?

Jon S from St. Cloud, MN wrote:

My wife and I have just started to process our own deer. We have invested in grinders, stuffers, lugs and all the accessories. Where we struggle is the initial cleaning of deer. I was told that if I used silicone spray, I could run (and catch) much of the silver skin at the grinder head. This is in place of taking the time to cut it all out with our knives. When we cut it out to trim, it seems we are wasting a great deal of meat. If I could cut it off the carcass and put it straight into the grinder, that would be a huge time saver.


Thanks for the question!

On field dressing and processing, I would strongly recommend our Deer & Big Game Processing DVD. There is way too much information to explain by text. This DVD covers all the field dressing, skinning, caping, aging, quartering, deboning, defining all the primary muscles and the cuts available from each and every muscle. This DVD is a must have for every game processor amature to advanced.

On the trimming of connective tissue you are correct! No need to trim it all; we have a saying, "Trim the heavy." If you have a large section of connective tissue that is visible and easy to get, then yes, remove it. Don't trim each muscle just to get all of it. This is not necessary, the grinder blade and plate will catch it.

As you are grinding, if you notice the grinder beginning to slow down and the meat is not coming out as fast as usual, take the head apart and clean the plate and blade. This will speed up the process and insure that the connective tissues will not make it into your finished product. This is also well explained in the Deer Processing DVD mentioned above. The silicone spray is mainly used to lubricate your equipment and make clean up easier. It will not assist in the gristle and connective tissue department.

Good luck this season and be sure and look into the DVD series it will help a lot!

"The Meat Man"
Brad Lockwood

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Harvesting a Mountain Lion

Joshua from Peoria, AZ wrote:

Hi, Brad!

So, I went out bear hunting this past weekend and ended up tagging my first mountain lion! I wanted to know if you knew of any good lion recipes!


Congratulations on the great accomplishment! Harvesting a mountain lion is no easy task!

However: in my limited experience working with lion meat, you would have been better off with the bear! At least for eating purposes anyway!

Lion is a very stringy meat and tends to be very lean and rather tough & chewy. My recommendation would be slow cooked roasts and ground products.

I would also recommend marination to add some moisture and various flavors to the meat. As you can tell from this reply, my experience with lion has been very limited and not a pleasing experience.

They are a great trophy, but much like a male wild boar, not the best table fair!

Spicy snack sticks, kielbasa, pepperoni, and marinated roasts and steaks would be my suggestions.
The mount on your wall, however, will be very nice!

Congratulations on a great hunt!

"The Meat Man"
Brad Lockwood

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Can I get my meat to continue to age in the freezer?

David from Elk Ridge, MD wrote in:

Hi Brad,

We just took 4 deer (does) and are going back out on a 4 day hunt. We skinned & quartered them and hung them in a fridge (temp is about 36/38 degrees). Can they hang in there for at least 5 - 6 days? No meat is touching. I also heard that if you hang a deer (weather permitting) for a day or two, then freeze the meat, it will age in the freezer. How true is that?

Thanks for the question David!

Aging is one of my favorite topics! For proper aging you should allow your meats to hang and age 3 days for every 100lbs of carcass weight. If you have beef that weighs 700lbs, you would age the animal 21 days to ensure proper aging.

Some choose less and some choose a little more. Finer steakhouses choose 21 days. If you follow the same formula on wild game meats (the average deer carcass is going to weigh between 100 - 125lbs), 3 days per 100lbs of carcass weight would mean 3-5 days of aging at a temperature between 34F and 41F. If you go much below 34F, you will begin to freeze the animal carcass and the aging process cannot take place.

In order for proper aging to occur, the good bacteria that is contained in all muscle tissue must be allowed to break down the muscle fibers and tenderize the muscle tissues. If the carcass is frozen, so is the bacteria that is supposed to be breaking down the muscle fibers, so the aging process cannot take place.

During the aging process, the evaporation of body or carcass moisture also takes place. This cannot happen if the animal carcass is frozen, so once again, proper aging cannot take place.

You are on the correct path by aging in the cooler that you have, with no meat touching - plus your temperature is correct!

Congratulations on stacking up all the deer! Good hunting!
"The Meat Man"
Brad Lockwood

What type of fat do I use?

David from Elk Ridge, MD asked:

When grinding deer for making burgers, which do you prefer: pork trimmings or beef trimming? I heard that beef fat does not melt down like pork would. 

Hello David,

This is a very good question! Thank you!

First: Do you prefer pork or beef? If you prefer pork products - pork chops, sausage, ribs - over products like steak, hamburger and beef roasts, then add pork. If you prefer beef products over pork products, then add beef!

Whichever way you choose, be sure to specify that you want BACK FAT! Not tallow! There is a big difference here. Back fat typically comes off the outside of a pork chop or the fat trimmings off of a steak.

Tallow, on the other hand, comes from the inside of the animal near the kidneys and is oftentimes referred to as kidney fat. This type of fat will simply melt away in the skillet and is used mostly for pie crusts and rendering because it melts away to nothing just like Crisco or Butter. This is not the type of fat you want to grind into your game meats.

Always specify that you want BACK FAT not TALLOW! This is very important.

The rest is up to you and your personal taste or preference. I usually add 1 1/2lbs of fat for every 8 1/2lbs of good, lean wild game meat. This will give you a good 85/15 or 80/20 fat to lean ratio on your grind.

Good luck this hunting season!  

"The Meat Man"
Brad Lockwood

Monday, October 14, 2013

Love of the Hunt TV: Fresh Elk Steaks on the Grill

In this Butcher Block, Brad Lockwood's in Kansas making marinated steaks from wife Sheri's Nevada bull in anticipation of Dave & Mike's arrival to camp. In this clip, Brad uses:

    Friday, October 4, 2013

    Storing Sausage Casings

    Eugene from Lynco, WVA asked:

    I have some leftover casings – how I do I store them now that I’ve opened the bag?

    I hope the sausage came out well!

    When I have extra casing I will store them 3 ways. First have you rinsed all the casings?

    If you have and you will be making sausage again in the next few weeks, simply repackage them in salt, vacuum seal them and place them in the refrigerator until you're ready to make the next batch.

    You can also place them in a freezer container, mix up a salt water solution and freeze them in the salt water.

    If you haven't rinsed all the casings and they are still dried and packed in salt, you can simply reseal the package and store them in the refrigerator until your next use.

    If you will be storing them for over a year you may want to freeze them.

    Hope your sausage turned out great!

    "The Meat Man"
    Brad Lockwood

    Wednesday, September 25, 2013

    How much pork do I add when making Venison Sausage?

    Mike from Centereach, NY asked:

    When making venison sausage, do you mix pork in there? If so how much? I've tried it a couple of times and can't seem to get it right. Thanks!

    Thanks for the great question Mike! Yes, I do mix in pork. I prefer to add 50/50 pork trim to my products rather than 100% back fat. Based on 10 lb batches, here is what I recommend:

    50/50 trim: I add 6lbs of venison and 4lbs of 50/50 to make a 10lb batch of product
    100% fat: I add 8lbs of venison and 2lbs of fat for a 10lb batch of product

    Good luck this season Mike!

    "The Meat Man"
    Brad Lockwood

    Monday, September 23, 2013

    Love of the Hunt TV: Venison Stuffed Peppers

    This is a segment from Love of the Hunt TV. In this clip, Brad shows you how to make venison stuffed peppers from the variety of fresh peppers in his garden. In this clip, he uses:

      Wednesday, September 18, 2013

      How to Make Venison Hot Dogs

      Peter from Oshkosh, WI wrote in:

      Hey Brad,
      I was wondering if you have a good recipe for making venison hot dogs. I have been looking, but can't find any seasoning mixes for hot dogs. I appreciate your help!


      As a matter of fact, I even have a video:

      When I'm making my own hot dogs, I use Hi Mountain Old Fashioned Bologna seasoning. Makes for a great venison hot dog - I highly recommend it!

      Thanks for your question Peter & good luck this season!

      "The Meat Man"
      Brad Lockwood

      Monday, September 9, 2013

      Love of the Hunt TV: Elk Stroganoff

      This is a segment from Love of the Hunt TV. In this clip, Brad is at the Weston Products headquarters making Elk Stroganoff (twist on Beef Stroganoff). The elk meat is from his New Mexico Elk Hunt with Weston owners Jason Berry & Mike Caspar. In this clip, Brad uses:
      Look delicious? Here's the Elk Stroganoff recipe from Weston. 

        Tuesday, September 3, 2013

        Black Bear Recipes & Tips

        Josh from Peoria, AZ asked:

        Hi, Brad!! I was wondering if you might be able to give some recipes and tips about black bear meat. What cuts are the best, or is it the same as deer and elk? I hear that it is delicious when cooked right. Also, if you could give some insight on "cooking it enough." I say this because I hear that it is imperative to cook this meat long enough in order to kill parasites.

        Thanks and I am looking forward to your response!


        Bear meat can be one of the best or worst eating experiences! It largely depends on the product you choose to make. I have had great success with bear meat by treating it like pork and making mainly pork type products from bear meat.

        Products like kielbasa, pepperoni, salami and summer sausage are great items to make from bear meat. As a matter of fact, I would refer you to a couple of video clips:

        Bear Breakfast Sausage from a Coastal Black Bear Hunt in Alaska with Blaine Anthony & David Bloch:

        German Style Bear Sausage made on the deck of a lodge in Quebec Canada with Mike Caspar & Jason Berry:

        Marinated roasts work well with bear also. It can be a great eating experience as long as you pick a recipe that is traditional to pork.

        When cooking bear, you are correct about cooking it long enough: treat it like pork and be certain it's cooked well. Aim for an internal temperature of 160.

        Good luck and thanks for the question!

        "The Meat Man"
        Brad Lockwood

        Thursday, August 29, 2013

        Can I use mahogany casings in the oven?

        Dave from Elk Ridge, Maryland wrote:

        I make summer sausage and bake it in a oven, since my smoker took a turn for the worse. I mix the meat roll in logs, wrap it in tin foil, and bake. Now: Can I use edible and non-edible casings in the oven to make my sausages, or will the oven destroy the non-edible casings?

        Thanks for the question,

        Sorry to hear your smoker is acting up! You can use the mahogany summer sausage casings (non-edible fibrous casings) in your oven. Just keep the oven temperature at or below 200F. If you run hotter than that, you will dry your product out from the dry heat a standard oven produces.

        It's very difficult to find edible casings for making traditional summer sausage (in other words you're not likely to find edible casings big enough), so I would stick with the traditional fibrous mahogany casing.

        Keep the oven temperature down and you will be fine. And get that smoker going again, or get yourself a shiny new Weston Smoker or Bradley Smoker!

        Good luck and thanks again for the question.

        "The Meat Man"
        Brad Lockwood

        Tuesday, August 27, 2013

        Cold Smoking vs. Hot Smoking

        Steve from Billings, MT asked: 

        Brad, what’s the difference between a cold smoked wild game product and a hot smoked wild game product?

        Thanks for the great question Steve!

        Cold smoking sounds pretty simple but doing it properly takes a little work and monitoring. Let's begin with "Hot Smoking," which is the standard practice of smoking & cooking meat products at the same time.

        Generally, you will place your products in the smoker and turn the cabinet temperature up to 140F - 160F, add your wood chips and smoke for 2-3 hours depending on how many pounds of product and the diameter of the product in the smoker. Next, you will begin increasing the temperature in the cabinet until a final determined internal temperature is reached. This is the standard practice of "Hot Smoking" - defined as applying heat to the product while smoking at the same time.

        Now let's discuss "Cold Smoking," which is a favorite practice of mine! Cold smoking is the art of applying smoke to a product without applying heat. To do this, you will need a smoker with a separate smoke generator, like the Bradley Smoker Series. This smoker has two separate heating elements: one for the cabinet heat and one for the smoke generator. In this situation, you can simply turn on the smoke generator and leave the cabinet heating element turned off. I also add ice to the cabinet to be sure the temperature doesn't raise above 41F during the smoking process. Now you can smoke for extended periods of time without drying out or overcooking your product and the ice will keep the product cool to prevent the growth of bacteria. This technique works very well for heavy smoked products and smoked cheese!

        Thanks again for the great question! I enjoyed it.

        "The Meat Man"
        Brad Lockwood

        Tuesday, August 20, 2013

        Why isn't my grinder mixing up my meat?

        Chuck from Cranberry, PA asked:

        When I grind up venison, I add in some beef shoulder for the fat. But it doesn’t get mixed together in the grinder, it just comes out separate. Am I doing something wrong?

        Thanks for the question Chuck,

        Anytime I mix pure fat into my wild game meats, I always dice the fat into very, very small pieces before grinding - about the size of the diced onions you would put on a hot dog. If you're just mixing fatty beef in, cut it into the same size you have your wild game. Then I mix the fat into my lean wild game trim very well and then grind. This will help get it mixed into your meat batch nice and even.The key is to mix your fat or domestic meat into the wild game before you grind it to get it evenly distributed. The grinder isn't meant to do that for you.

        Good luck this fall and thanks again for the question.

        "The Meat Man"
        Brad Lockwood

        Monday, August 19, 2013

        Love of the Hunt TV: African Springbok Burgers

        This is a segment from Love of the Hunt TV. In this clip, Brad's in Africa, making burgers from Springbok (Antelope-Gazelle). Plus, he presents the tour chef with a surprise gift from Weston Products. In this video, Brad uses:

        Tuesday, August 13, 2013

        How do I know when my jerky is done?

        Bryce Schunter from Dallas, TX asked:


        I’m a first time jerky maker. I’m using one of these Weston Dehydrators – how long do I leave it in for? How do I know when it’s done?

        Well Bryce, the answer to your question is not an easy one! It sounds like it should be! However, knowing when to remove jerky from the smoker or dehydrator is an art form! Well, maybe we won't go that far, but it does take a little talent to get it just right.

        First thing you need to do is track how much jerky you put in the cabinet each time. The more meat, the more drying time required; the thicker the strips, the more drying time needed. Write down the temperatures and the amount of time you run at each temperature so you can get an accurate time/temperature history developed of how long to dry and at what temperature.

        When removing jerky from any drying machine, you want the jerky to remain a little flexible. If you dry the jerky completely to perfection, and the jerky strips are snapping in half as you try to bend them, that's not good. When you remove them from the heat, your jerky will continue to air dry because of the ambient heat remaining in the product. When this happens, your jerky is going to over dry! If you remove it too quickly, it may not be completely cooked.

        WOW, right? It seems like a lot to figure out. The trick here is to squeeze the jerky to see if you feel moisture and a spongy feeling to the product. If you feel this when you squeeze the strip of jerky, it usually means it's not completely dried or not cooked.

        The key is to catch the jerky when it's firm to the squeeze, yet when you bend it to a 90 degree angle, it doesn't snap in half!

        I know this seems like a strange answer, this is much better defined in my DVD Advanced Jerky Processing which covers in great detail the processing of every jerky you can imagine. The true keys are tracking the time and temperatures you cook at, making sure to make even sized batches and uniform thickness each time. When the jerky looks dried, squeeze it for moisture, bend it to be sure, let it finish drying at room temperature, then sample it.

        Let me know how it turns out! Thanks for the great question!

        "The Meat Man"
        Brad Lockwood

        Monday, August 12, 2013

        Open Fire Springbok Schnitzel

        This is a segment from Love of the Hunt TV. In this clip, Brad's in Africa, showing you how to process a Springbok (Antelope-Gazelle). Plus, the tour chef shows Brad how to make a campfire Springbok Schnitzel. In this video, Brad uses:

        Thursday, July 25, 2013

        Transporting Wild Game Meat in Plastic Bags

        Bruce from Phoenix, Arizona wrote in:

        While watching your de-boning video, we noticed that after packing the meat in deer bags, you do not also cover them with plastic bags before you start transporting the meat.
        Is there a reason for this? We were concerned about dust

        Thanks for the question Bruce.

        Putting warm meat into plastic bags is not a good practice. After the body heat has evaporated and dissipated from the meat it's okay, but I would refrain from putting it in plastic while the carcass is still warm. Warm meat in plastic bags will sour very quickly.

        I know what you mean about the dust. The cotton bags will catch a lot of it and the rest can be trimmed off during final processing. It's much better to lose a little than potentially lose it all.

        Good luck this fall!

        "The Meat Man"
        Brad Lockwood  

        What to do with Bloodshot Meat?

        Jeff from Clio, MI asked:

        I noticed that in your DVDs, the deer and cow elk appeared to be pen raised, as they had no apparent injuries. Therefore, you haven't had a chance to talk about how to deal with bloodshot meat or damaged tissue. What do you do in that case?

        Thanks Brad! I am a real fan of yours as well as Outdoor Edge Knives, as I have most they make.

        Hi Jeff!

        You are correct, the deer we use for our videos are pen raised deer. They are head shot so we don't have the blood in the chest cavity when filming field dressing. This way, the chest is clean and everyone can see the organs whole and intact. It makes it easier to explain the field dressing process this way. As far as blood shot meat, you only have one choice and that's throw it away. Often times if I'm shooting a deer with a gun, I will hold back off the shoulder on the rib cage just to avoid blowing up so much meat in the shoulders. Be careful not to shoot too far back! Ya know what happens then!

        Thank you for your question and your support!

        "The Meat Man"
        Brad Lockwood  

        Trimming Fat & Sinew from Wild Game Before Grinding

        Jeff from Clio, MI wrote:

        Hi Brad, 

        I have all of your DVDs and have learned a lot about things that I thought I knew well. 

        I was wondering: It seems as though, when trimming sinew before grinding, you can't trim all of the sinew away from the muscle. Does that end up in the ground meat? Does the grinder separate the meat from waste? Does the waste wrap around the auger of the grinder or does it all end up in the ground meat? 

        Thanks for the compliments Jeff and I'm glad you enjoyed the DVDs!

        We have a saying in the meat industry: "Trim the heavy." What this means is: trim the heavy gristle; if it's visible and large, we trim it. If not, you are exactly correct! The grinder blade will catch it and it will not make it into your product. I've had my Weston Grinder blades catch bones, bullets, BB's and even broad heads. The important thing here is to let your grinder work and perform the way it was designed to. If you notice the grinder slowing down and not grinding as fast, then stop and clean the gristle and connective tissue out of the head. Never ever force feed your grinder; if it's slowing down and binding up, take the head apart and find out why. If the problem continues, then it's time for new plates and knives.

        Thanks for the question and we appreciate your support!

        "The Meat Man"
        Brad Lockwood  

        Tuesday, July 23, 2013

        Elk Stroganoff Recipe from Weston Products

        Guest Post

        Brad Lockwood recently visited us here at Weston Products, where we shot a new Butcher Block segment using the elk meat from Brad & Weston COO Jason Berry's elk hunt to make 'Elk Stroganoff.' Sound good? Well you're in luck because here's our recipe:

        - Ingredients -
        Brown Sauce
        4 cups beef stock
        1/4 cup red wine
        1/4 cup tomato paste
        1/4 cup butter
        2 teaspoons garlic powder
        2 teaspoons onion powder
        1/4 teaspoon black pepper
        1 cup all-purpose flour

        Meatballs (makes 15 jumbo meatballs)
        3 lbs elk, cubed
        1/8 cup curly-leaf parsley
        5 cloves garlic
        1 tablespoon coarse black pepper
        1 teaspoon dried sage leaves
        1 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
        1 teaspoon sea salt
        1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
        1/2 teaspoon roasted ground coriander

        2 cups Panko bread crumbs
        2 eggs

        Homemade Egg Pasta
        2 cups all-purpose flour
        2 eggs + 2 yolks
        1 tablespoon olive oil (optional)

        Cream Sauce
        1 cup sour cream (8 oz)
        3/4 cup chive & onion cream cheese (6 oz)

        1 pint of morels
        curly-leaf parsley, to taste

        - Tools -
        Weston Meat Grinder

        Weston Meat Lug

        Roma by Weston Pasta Machine & Bamboo Pasta Drying Rack

        Combine all ingredients for brown sauce in a large pot. Whisk together over high heat, then reduce to a low simmer once the sauce begins to boil. Place a lid on the sauce and stir occasionally.

        Grind your elk meat with the herbs and spices through a Weston Meat Grinder, first through a coarse grinder plate, then take half of that and grind it through a medium grinder plate (so that you have half coarse grind, half medium grind).

        Hand mix the egg and breadcrumbs into the meat in a Weston Meat Lug. Use your hands to form jumbo sized meatballs, and brown them with a little olive oil in a skillet. Once browned, drop them into your brown sauce.

        Bring the brown sauce back to a boil, then reduce to medium heat. Allow to cook until a thermometer inserted into the middle of your largest meatball reads 160 degrees Fahrenheit. Be sure to stir occasionally to keep the sauce from sticking to the bottom of your pot.

        Next, make the fresh egg pasta. Form your flour into a mound in a giant mixing bowl or on a cutting board. Form a small crater in the top and crack your eggs into it. Turn the flour into the eggs until you have formed a smooth, elastic dough. If it's too dry, add in the olive oil. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rest for 30 minutes.

        Once the pasta dough has rested, pull off a palm sized chunk and feed it through the Roma Pasta Machine at the thickest setting, folding a few times. Next, run it through the machine until the second to last setting. Feed your pasta sheet through the pasta cutter, then thread your noodles over the Roma Pasta Drying Rack while you make the rest of your pasta.

        Bring a pot of water to boil and sprinkle in a pinch of salt. Boil your noodles for three minutes, then drain.

        While the noodles boil, place 1 tablespoon of butter into a skillet over medium heat and sautée your morels.

        Heat the sour cream and cream cheese together until just melted and uniform.

        Lay down a layer of noodles in a bowl, then cover with meatballs and brown sauce. Add a heaping dollop of cream sauce onto the top, then garnish with morels and parsley.

        Thursday, June 6, 2013

        How to spice up my ground wild game meat?

        Doug from Federal Way, WA asked:

        I hunt mule deer and have hamburger kids are not fans of - Do you know of anything I can add to spice up the flavor? Love the show and thanks!

        Thanks for the question Doug and do I ever have the solution for you!!

        Make hamburger jerky and the kids will grab it up so quick you won't be able to make it fast enough!! It's so easy to make. I could walk you though it step by step but it's so much easier to just watch the video. I've posted the video at the bottom of this blog post.

        If you are missing any of the equipment, it's all on The Hunter's Butcher Shop:
        Weston Jerky Guns
        Dehydrator Netting
        Weston Meat Mixers
        Hi Mountain Jerky Seasoning
        Bradley Smoker

        If you don't have a smoker you can use a dehydrator or even your own household oven. If you're going to use an oven or dehydrator, just dissolve a little liquid smoke in a cup of water and add it to your seasoning mix to give it that great smoky flavor that the kids are going to love.

        I do this every year with left over game burger and everyone loves it!! If you need more details check out our Advanced Jerky Processing DVD - it contains tons of jerky recipes and teaches you to process every jerky product on the planet!

        Thanks for the question Doug and I hope the kids love the jerky!

        "The Meat Man"
        Brad Lockwood  

        PS: Here's that video I was telling you about:

        Monday, May 20, 2013

        Making Snack Sticks: Dehydrator or Smoker?

        Jack from Eureka, UT wrote:

        I’m making snack sticks for the very first time. Should I make them in my smoker or in my dehydrator? Any other tips for a first timer? Thanks!


        Thanks for the question and certainly you will want to use your smoker. This would be the correct choice for several reasons.

        First, the final internal temperature will be difficult to reach when you are running at the low temperatures in a dehydrator. You will be looking for a final internal temperature of 158F and this will be difficult to achieve if your dehydrator oven only goes to 155F.

        Also, remember dehydrators are designed to remove moisture from the products that you place inside of them. Doing this to your snack sticks is going to make for a very dry product.

        Fire up your smoker and run the temperature at 130-140F while smoking for about 2 hours, then turn the smoke off and increase the cabinet temperature up to 170F for 45min to an hour.

        Check your temperature. If you have not achieved the 158F internal temperature you are looking for increase the temperature in the smoke house to 190 - 200F and watch your product temperature closely. The internal temperature will rise quickly at higher temperatures and you don't want to over do it and ruin the product.

        After the temperature has been reached, remove the sticks immediately and begin cooling them down as quickly as possible.

        Thanks for the question and good luck!

        "The Meat Man"
        Brad Lockwood

        Monday, April 22, 2013

        How do I make Smoked Duck Bacon?

        Bob from Lincoln Park, MI wrote in:


        I would like to see a video on making and smoking Duck Bacon. I have a Bradley Smoker, but I'm not sure if it can be used to cold smoke the Duck Bacon. Thank you for your how-to videos and the DVD's. Great job, they are very helpful.

        Thanks for the question Bob and you have truly stumped me my friend! I have never heard of "Cold Smoked Duck Bacon."

        I do have a segment in my Mastering Marination DVD on making restructured venison bacon that you could use and apply the same principles and techniques to waterfowl. As far as cold smoking it, you will need to apply the standard heat required with any bacon product to make the product nice and firm so it binds together and can be sliced easily.

        Thanks again for the great question.

        "The Meat Man"
        Brad Lockwood

        Wednesday, March 27, 2013

        Making The Most Out Of Wild Turkey

        Bob from Eau Claire, WI wrote:

        I will be hunting for my first turkey this year. In your turkey jerky video, you say something I've been hearing a lot: That people don't like wild turkey. You also say there are 101 ways to prepare it.

        Can you share some other ways you like it?

        Wild turkeys are very good eating Bob! It doesn't matter if you make jerky, sausage, or marinate them; they can be great table fair! Here's my recommendation...

        Check out a couple of these Love of the Hunt Butcher Block videos on processing wild turkey products:
        Soy Ginger Turkey Breasts
        Turkey Sausage
        Turkey Jerky

        If you need more information, see my Mastering Marination DVD. This DVD has segments on marinating turkey, upland game birds, waterfowl, fish and much more.

        The only real issue I've ever experienced with wild turkeys is that they tend to get dry, so baking them in the traditional "Butterball" fashion doesn't work well. You have to improvise a little to get a good product. Marinating is a great method for preparing wild turkeys and Hi Mountain Seasonings have a great injectable marinade just for turkeys.

        If you're going to bake the breast, I always use a Reynolds Oven Bag to help hold in the moisture as much as possible during smoking or baking. You can purchase these bags at any grocery store.

        Be sure to watch those videos I recommended and I'm sure you will come up with some great ideas when you bag your bird this spring!

        Good luck!

        "The Meat Man"
        Brad Lockwood

        Tuesday, March 26, 2013

        Making Summer Sausage

        Michael from Reno, NV wrote in:


        I have watched two of your online videos and have read the directions for the Hi Mountain Jalapeno Summer Sausage seasoning mix. It is asking for pork to be added. What cut would your suggest? I will be using beef roast to mix with the pork.

        Also is the non fat dry milk just for the wild game?

        I also will be following your directions for the smoking instead of the one that came with the sausage kit.



        If you will be using a beef roast, will it be chuck or round?

        If you are using chuck, I would suggest using pork butt for the pork section of your meat block. If you are using a section from the round, which has much less fat content than a chuck, I would use a pork product that contains a little more fat.

        The mix you are looking for is about an 80/20 blend of lean to fat for the overall mix. Chuck will be in the correct area to start with, as will pork butt, so that's why I suggested mixing those two together.

        If you use round, you may need to use some fresh side pork to mix with your round to get the fat content correct. On the overall mix, you are looking at 2lbs of pork for every 8lbs of beef. This will give you a good blend for Summer Sausage.

        I would add the additional non-fat dry milk at the rate of one cup for every 10lbs of meat. This will help keep the product firm during cooking.

        When you get into the final stages of smoking, be sure to close the damper on your smoker and even add a pan of water in the smoker to help keep the humidity level high. This will keep your product from drying out. Cook to an internal temperature of 156F.

        Good luck and have fun!

        "The Meat Man"
        Brad Lockwood

        Adding Seasoning to Your Pre-Packaged Mix

        Gary from Little Valley, NY asked:

        About how much cayenne pepper would you recommend to add to your 10 lb kielbasa sausage mix? I would like something mild.


        The first thing I would recommend is to start a good recipe book and keep track of every step of the process - especially when adding additional ingredients to your products. What tends to happen is you find the perfect amount for your taste buds and then forget how much you added!

        I would start with one tablespoon for 10lbs of meat and work your way up or down from there. Always remember, the pre-packaged seasonings you purchase are simply a base flavor profile of the product you are trying to make. They are not designed to fit everyone's particular taste so modifying the recipe is exactly what you want to do. Just be sure to keep track of what you add so you can increase it or decrease it on the next batch.

        Thanks for the question and be sure to let us know how it comes out!

        "The Meat Man"
        Brad Lockwood

        Wednesday, March 20, 2013

        Beginning Processing

        Darrel from Alvin, Texas asked:

        I am a new hunter at 52 years old and want to process my own game - So far just whitetail and hog. Please help!


        Thanks for the question. When answering questions I generally try to refrain from talking about specific products and selling items to people - but in this case I have no choice.

        The best thing to do is purchase the Deer and Big Game Processing DVD, available for purchase by clicking here. I created this DVD for this exact reason. This DVD will take you step by step, with exact detail and extreme close ups on the proper field dressing techniques of a trophy animal and a meat animal. It then covers step by step the proper skinning of a meat animal, as well as preparing a trophy animal for a taxidermy mount. It covers proper aging of the carcass and then spends a great deal of time de-boning and sectioning all the primary muscles from each quarter of the animal and explaining the various cuts available from each section of meat. It also covers basic grinding and packaging.

        This DVD is a must for every hunter no matter if you've been processing deer your entire life or just starting. I promise there are tips and techniques in this DVD for every hunter. If you really want to get head over heals into it, look at the Advanced Game Processing Library that has all 4 titles in it. Elk, Sausage, Jerky and the Deer Processing DVD.

        Take my advice here, a little knowledge can go a long, long way when it comes to game processing. It's not rocket science but a few basic tips and techniques can really make your job much easier and more enjoyable.

        "The Meat Man"
        Brad Lockwood

        Tuesday, March 12, 2013

        Stainless Steel or Carbon Steel Grinder Knives?

        Wyatt from Adamsville, TN asked

        Are Stainless Steel grinder plates and knives better or Carbon Steel? What's the difference?


        This is a tough question and not easily explained so I will do my best...

        By definition, a steel cannot be labeled Stainless Steel unless it contains at least 11% Chromium. Chromium is a very hard element that helps keep the steel from rusting. Because Chromium is very hard, if you put too much of it into a steel when you are making a knife, grinder plate or any other product, it gets so hard that you can't get a good cutting edge on it. This is why no matter how hard you try to sharpen a kitchen butter knife you will never get it to take or hold a razor edge like a knife designed to cut meat. It won't rust, but it also won't take a sharp edge and maintain one.

        On the other side of the spectrum, Carbon is soft and will rust. Carbon is the compound used in knives that allow you to get that wire sharp edge. This is why a perfect balance of Carbon for sharpening and Stainless for rust prevention is required to make a great knife. For example, Outdoor Edge Knives uses a lot of 420 Stainless and AUS8A Stainless to make knives. This steel has a high concentration of Carbon so you can get a razor sharp edge on them, however you have to take care of the knives, oil them and keep them dry or the blade will get rust spots on it.

        Grinder blades are made in the exact same fashion. They all have Carbon and they all have Chromium - they label them Stainless Steel because they have the Chromium anti-rust material, but they will still rust because of the Carbon content.

        To summarize: Get yourself the Carbon grinder knives if you want 'em sharper, but know that they will rust easily. If you're worried about rust, get the Stainless, but still remember that you have to take care of them and dry them thoroughly after washing. No matter which you get, I recommend buying some Weston Silicone Spray to help prevent rust and take proper care of your plates & knives.

        "The Meat Man"
        Brad Lockwood