One of the easiest ways to save money on your grocery bill is to process your own meat at home. Bass Pro Shops has everything you need to get this done.
The first thing you'll need to get started is your choice of meat, whether it is bulk beef from the grocery store or that trophy deer you took this season, whatever you prefer. Once you've selected you choice meat the next step is preparing it for processing.
No matter if you want something as simple as ground meat for burgers, or if you're making meat snacks. The first you'll want to do is "trim" the meat. What this means is taking the excess fat and connective tissue or (gristle) off of the cut of meat.(note: if you are working wild game like deer, removal of as much fat and gristle as possible is recommended, for this is where a lot of the "gamey" flavor comes from.) The Mundial 4 Piece Hunter's Knife Set from Bass Pro Shops is a great tool for helping with this process.http://www.basspro.com/Mundial-4-Piece-Hunter&39;s-Knife-Set/product/36729/.
If you want to grind your choice of meat, the next step will be cutting your trimmed meat into cubes or strips so they easily fit into the grinder. Once the meat is cubed you're ready to start grinding. The tool you'll need for this is a meat grinder, if you are on a smaller budget you can find some very economical hand turned grinders.
But if you don't want to wake up with a sore shoulder the next morning I highly recommend an electric grinder. I like the electric grinders by LEM that Bass Pro carries. http://www.basspro.com/Bass-Pro-Shops-Electric-Meat-Grinders-by-LEM-Products/product/40794/
The next step is feeding the pieces of meat into the grinder as it is running; you'll want to make sure this is done at a controlled rate. As the meat is pulled down into the auger (the cork screw looking mechanism inside the grinder) you'll want to add in the next piece of meat and so on. (note: NEVER push the meat down into the grinder with your fingers, use a stomper) If you are having problems with the grinder gumming up or clogging a helpful hint is to put the cut up pieces of meat in the freezer for a while until they are firm but not frozen solid. This will keep the auger and blade from becoming wrapped up with any remaining connective tissue.
Once all of the meat has been ground up you are ready to either vaccum seal it and freeze it, or you can continue to process it into other edible forms like breakfast sausage, jerky, snack sticks, or summer sausage. Bass Pro Shops has all the seasonings for whatever process you want to do next. http://www.basspro.com/Food-Processing-Seasonings/_/S-12325009007
If you want to stop with ground meat only, I highly recommend sealing your ground meat before freezing it with a vaccum sealer. By doing so you remove all of the air from the meat helping prevent freezer burn and spoiling. There are a wide variety of vaccum sealers on the market, one I have personally used and works very well is the Food Saver Game Saver Deluxe.
This is just one of many very good vaccum sealers on the market. You can find a wide variety to choose from at http://www.basspro.com/Vacuum-Sealers/_/S-12325009002.
As I mentioned earlier there are other edible processes you can use your freshly ground meat for, and one of the most popular is turning it into jerky. There are many different ways to process meat into jerky, one easy method is to use ground meat and mix it with pre-packaged jerky cure and seasoning mix. There are many to choose from at, http://www.basspro.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/Navigation?storeId=10151&catalogId=10051&langId=-1&searchTerm=jerky+seasoning. Simply pick out your favorite flavor and follow the directions on the package for the best results.
The next step after the meat is properly seasoned is to make it into jerky form and ready it for drying. If you plan on making a lot of jerky or other forms of meat snacks, such as snack sticks or sausages, an electric grinder really speeds things up. There is a wide variety of attachments available for the LEM grinders that make this next step fast and easy.http://www.basspro.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/Navigation?storeId=10151&catalogId=10051&langId=-1&searchTerm=grinder+accessories
For the next step one tool I use is the jerky attachment for the LEM grinder.
After the jerky mixture is formed, the next step is drying it. There are a few different ways to do this, you can dry it in the oven on a very low tempurature setting (around 200 degrees for 4 hours), you can use a smoker (at the same time and temp), or you can use a food dehydrator. The dehydrator is probably one of the most popular and simplest methods. With some of the dehydrators like the RedHead six tray dehydrator for $69.99 at http://www.basspro.com/Redhead-Six-Tray-Food-Dehydrator/product/1206160421305/. You can set the required run time and temperature and let it do the rest.
Once the jerky is dried it is ready to enjoy.
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