By definition, a "chop" is a cut of meat from an animal's backstrap, or loin, where the meat is left attached to the bone. Because members of the deer family have the same structural anatomy as most land mammals, chops from a deer are cut from the same areas as pork chops from pigs or prime rib and T-bone steak from cattle. When cutting chops from a deer, you can use any or all of the three sections of the animal's loin for chops: the rib loin, the short loin and the sirloin.
Between the front shoulders and the first rib, make an incision through the flesh of the deer with the butcher knife. Be sure the blade of the knife reaches all the way down to the bone on both sides of the deer's spine.
Place the blade of the saw into the knife channel and cut through the vertebra with the saw, severing the spine behind the shoulders.
Locate the last vertebra in the spinal column where the spine connects to the pelvis at the front of the hind quarters. Cut through the meat on both sides of this vertebra with the butcher knife until your reach the bone. Cut through the joint where the spine attaches to the pelvis with the saw.
Trim the loose abdominal meat from the now-detached spinal section with the butcher knife. Save this meat for soups and stews if you wish.
Cut the chops from the rib loin section. Sever the meat between each rib with the butcher knife. Slide the saw into the cuts between the ribs and saw through the spine. Lay the detached chop flat on the cutting board. Cut down through the middle of the vertebra, separating the two sides of the spine, creating two individual chops. The second half of the rib section, toward the hind quarters, is considered the "prime rib."
Trim off the ends of the rib bones with the saw approximately one inch from the point where the rib protrudes from the flesh.
Separate the chops from the middle, or "short," loin section by cutting between each vertebra at the joint with the saw. Place the loin on the cutting board and cut down through the center of the vertebra with the saw.
Cut and split the chops in the sirloin section, which comes from just above the hip area, in the same manner as the middle loin.
Items you will need
- Butcher knife
- Meat saw or hacksaw
- Cutting board
- If you have the capability, freeze the entire three-part loin section whole and then cut the chops with a band or table saw. Using a fine-toothed blade to cut the frozen meat will reduce meat loss.
- "Home Butchering and Meat Preservation"; Geeta Dardick; 1986
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