How To Grind Deer Meat Grinding Tips: Grind Venison Step by Step

After taking out the backstraps and tenderloins for a steak dinner, what you are left with are tough, primal cuts of meat. This ranges from the neck, shoulders, and hips. So what should you do with these tougher meat cuts?

For one, you can prepare them for a slow roast. And while that sounds like fun, if you are a little bit adventurous, you may want to grind them. Grinding deer meat offers you versatility. You can use your ground meat to prepare all kinds of recipes, from burgers, tacos, spaghetti, meatloaf, or sausages.

When grinding your own meat, you get to control what goes into it. So in this article, we will share with you some useful tips on how to grind deer meat. Also, we have included a step by step guide on how to grind venison.

Deer Meat Grinding Tips

What Type of Grinder Should I use?

To grind meat, you need a grinder for deer and elk. There are plenty of grinder options available in the market. These range from manual hand operated models to more modern electric models. For good results, we recommend an electric grinder.

Also, the grinder’s size will matter; if you intend to grind a lot of meat, a bigger grinder will be useful. Also, the grinder should be powerful enough to handle the kind of meat you are grinding. Elk meat tends to be tough and requires plenty of power to grind. 

What Cuts Of Meat Should I Use?

The chuck cut is perhaps the best for hamburgers. This is the area located in a deer’s shoulder area behind the neck. This part has a nice flavor and is well-marbled. Any meat from the back of a deer’s body is also ideal. This is the region where you get the sirloin. The top sirloin, in particular, is ideal for grinding.

Remove Silver Skin

Deer and elk meat feature a tough skin covering that is silver in color. This tough outer layer should be removed before grinding. It does not contribute to your meat’s flavor in any way. More importantly, these silver skin can clog up some grinders, especially smaller ones.

Thus removing it will ensure a smooth grinding process. You do not necessarily have to remove all of it, but just the large chunks of the skin. 

Keep the meat, grinder blade, auger, and neck assembly cold.

Keeping your venison inside a freezer before grinding is important. Place the meat inside a freezer 30 to 45 minutes before grinding. Ideally, the meat should be kept at temperatures below 40 degrees.

If there is space inside your freezer, it is also a good idea to throw in the grinder neck, blade and auger as well. Keeping everything cold will ensure the grinder grinds your meat cleanly without smearing. 

More importantly, as the temperature rises, the proteins and fat inside the meat separate. This separation is called breaking and is something you will want to avoid. And the best way to avoid it is by keeping everything cold.

Adding Fat

Should you add fat when grinding meat? This is a topic that tends to cause heated debates. Most purists will tell you that you do not need to add fat to your venison when grinding. But depending on your taste and preference, adding fat can yield flavorful ground meat.

So how much fat should you add? The amount of fat to add to your venison will depend on what you want to prepare. For things like venison chilies, sloppy joes, and tacos, we recommend a 10% fat content.

However, if you plan on preparing burgers, meatball, or meatloaf, you need a 20% fat content. And for sausages and snack sticks, you need 30% fat content. 

Another important question is the type of fat to use. In our experience, pork fatback is the best to use. It has a soft texture and does not overpower wild game meat’s flavor. The downside is that it’s only available in butchers, and you may find it hard to find it.

The next best thing is pork butt fat. This type of fat is readily available in most grocery stores and is quite affordable. The downside is that this fat comes with meat, which can make it difficult to know how much fat you are adding.

If you do not like the taste of deer meat, you can opt for pork belly fat. The latter tends to overpower the flavor of wild game meat. You can also opt for beef tallow and suet. However, these two are not as good as pork fat.

Grind Twice

It is also a good idea to grind your meat twice. The grinder that you are using most likely has two grinding plates. There is a course plate that is about one-quarter of an inch. The second one is the fine plate, which has one-eighth inch holes.

Start with the coarse grinding plate followed up with the fine plate. This will allow you to grind some of the tougher cuts of the meat. 

Getting Rid Of The Gamey Taste

One of the most common complaints about wild game meat is the gamey flavor that it comes with. Not everyone is a fan of this flavor. To get rid of it, you need to dip your meat into milk or buttermilk.

After grinding the meat, place it in a bowl and then fill it with either milk or buttermilk. Then cover the bowl and let it refrigerate for 12 hours or overnight. 

How to Grind Deer Meat or Elk Meat: Step By Step

how to grind deer meat Grinding Tips

The process of grinding deer or elk meat is straightforward and uncomplicated. With the right set of equipment, you can grind your own meat at home. Once you have a grinder for grinding, the next step is to grind deer meat.

Total Time: 1 hour

Step One: Prepare The Meat

step one - Prepare The Meat

First, you need to prepare the meat for grinding. This is done by removing all the tough sinew and silver skin from the meat. Also, preparation will entail removing bones from the meat. Mature deer and elk have tough bones that cannot be ground using a meat grinder. It is also important to remove fat. Wild game meat fat has an unpleasant flavor. Also, this fat has a waxy texture that coats your palate.

Step Two: Keep The Meat In a Freezer

step - two prepare for freezer

The next step is to place the meat in a freezer. Firstly, cut the meat up in chunks that your grinder can handle. Then wrap these chunks in a parchment paper-lined with a cookie sheet. It is important to ensure the meat and parchment do not touch.Place the meat inside a freezer for about 30 minutes. The meat should be firm to the touch but not completely frozen.

Step Three: Adding Fat

Step Three adding fat

This is a step that you can skip depending on what you are preparing. As mentioned above, you can opt not to add fat if you are preparing meatloaf or taco meat, however, if you decide to add. You can add 10 to 30 percent of fat, depending on what you are preparing.

Step Four: Grinding

step four - Grinding

To start grinding the meat, you need first to fit the grinder with the coarse grinding plate. Next, add the wild game meat and the fat together. Some people may prefer grinding their meat once to get a course and meaty flavor. The one time grind with a coarse grinding plate is great for chilies. You can run the meat through the fine grinding plate as well. This all depends on your preferences, though.

How To Grind Meat Without a Grinder

If you do not have a grinder, you can also use a food processor to grind meat. The process will undoubtedly be long and somewhat tedious, but it can be done.

  • First, cut the meat into one-inch cubes and ensure they are free of any bones.
  • The second place the meat on a parchment-lined baking sheet and place in a freezer for about 30 minutes. Place the food processor knife in the freezer as well to ensure everything is nice and cold.
  • Next, place the knife inside the process and put the beef cubes inside the bowl halfway. The pulse the meat cubes about ten times using quick one-second pulses
  • Remove the beef cubes and repeat with the rest of the beef cubes.
  • If the meat does not look well ground or does not hold together, regrind as needed.


Grinding meat just before preparing your hamburgers, sausages, taco meat or any other meal is always the best way to go about it. Freshly ground meat is the best for cooking. All the steps we have outlined above should help you get started on your meat grinding.

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