How to Butcher a Rack of Venison

Learn how to butcher this specialty cut of meat from your deer harvest!

A rack of venison refers to a cut of meat taken from the long muscle that runs along the backbone and ribcage of a deer.  Typically, it includes the rib bones and the attached meat, constituting a prized cut of meat. The term "rack" is often associated with the rib section of various meats, and in the case of venison, it is highly prized for its tenderness and rich flavor. You can prepare a venison rack in a variety of ways.

Start with a hanging deer carcass, with the hind quarters facing up.

Remove the front quarters from the carcass.

Find the saddle bone by using your finger to feel through the backstrap. Make a horizontal cut directly in front of this bone to the flank. Repeat on the other side.

Use a butcher saw to cut through the backbone and remove the midsection from the carcass.

Cut the neck meat off of the carcass.

Remove the rind and silverskin from the outside of the carcass to access the backstrap/loin.

Remove the rear piece of backstrap before the ribs start on the backend of the carcass.

Continue cutting along the backbone as if you are removing the backstrap. But only cut along the backbone, leaving the meat attached to the ribs.

Count 8 ribs (or more if you'd like) from the last rib on the carcass. The thickest portion of meat attached to the ribs is located in the middle of the loin. Cut through the meat along the 8th rib until you meet the backstrap/loin.

Score the ribs with the knife where you want to cut them. The longer the ribs, the prettier the presentation will be. Saw along the scored line to remove the bottom portion of the ribs.

Carefully place the saw under the backstrap and saw through the backbone to remove the rack from the carcass.

Once the rack is removed, trim the meat off the bones.

Scrape away any remaining tissue to clean up the bones.

Remove the silver skin and/or rind from the outside of the meat.

Now it's ready to cook or freeze!