Big Dave on Field Dressing a Deer - Road Kill or Not

Wednesday, December 23, 2009 6:02 PM Posted by Tondeleo Lee Thomas

Tondeleo: This is a continuation from the previous post, where I was talking with Big Dave about field dressing a deer, in our conversation about preparing road kill.

Here are the notes from that talk:

Big Dave: "Tondy, it don't matter how the deer got killed. Dressing it out is the same. Just the one you shot out in the woods can be field dressed there, but the one you pick up on the side of the road, you got to carry that one somewhere else to field dress it.

"You need some water with you, and some beer, wine or whiskey. You'll need it to rinse off things. like if the bladder leaks urine onto the meat, stuff like that. You ought to have some rags with you, too. And some string. Most of this you'd have in your truck anyways.

"So, you got your deer and you got it where you are gonna dress it out. Ok. Roll it over on its back. Cut a circle around the anus so later you can pull it back, from the inside. You ought to tie it off with string first so it don't leak no deer crap into the meat.

"If it's a buck, cut off his BigDaveDeerprivates and get rid of them. Then cut from his privates up through the ribs, so you can empty out his innards. Don't cut too deep. Just through the skin and the stomach muscles. If you cut too deep you'll go through the stomach and all, and it'll smell real bad. Just don't do it.

"Up by the ribcage, make a big cut so you can start emptying out the guts. Get the cut started and then, put two fingers in the cut to guide your knife, so you're only cutting pretty much the skin. You don't want to cut into his stomach and 'testines and whatnot. Cut the diaphragm loose. It's a sheet of muscle that separates the stomach area from the chest area.

"Then cut up through the ribs, in the center, on up the neck to the bottom of the skull. Cut the windpipe and throat at the base of the skull.

"Then you roll it on over on its side, and pull the guts out. You'll need to cut the fat the holds the 'testines in. That's up there by the backbone. Careful not to cut the 'testines. They'll come out easy, if you've cut everything loose. Keep an eye on the bladder. Reach up inside and pinch it shut while you cut it free with the other hand. If any urine leaks onto the meat, rinse it off real quick with water or beer.

"Cut out the heart and liver from the rest of the guts, and wrap them in rags to keep 'em clean.

"Then, you can skin it and start cutting off the bruised meat, and saving the rest. Give the bruised meat to the dogs. Cut the legs off up by the spine. Same with the ribs. Cut the back straps and tenderloins from the backbone, too. You can throw away the backbone or give it to the dogs.

"After that, you pretty much freeze some and cook up the rest. I know I missed some of what you do, but when you do it yourself, you'll just know by lookin' what you ought to do."

Big Dave on Eating Road Kill for Christmas Dinner

Tuesday, December 22, 2009 7:57 AM Posted by Tondeleo Lee Thomas

Tondeleo: After talking with Marilyn about Big Dave serving them road kill deer - and discovering that Doc and Marilyn had served me road kill deer, raccoon and opossum, I decided to contact Big Dave and ask a few questions about eating "road kill."

I had his number in my mobile, so I rang him up. After several attempts, he did finally answer. Big Dave is not much of a talker, and I do find him quite intimidating. I explained to him the purpose of my call, and proceeded to interview him the best I could.

Here is the best I could get on a conversation with Big Dave as to eating road kill.

Tondeleo: Big Dave, I wanted to ask you some questions about eating road kill. Doc and Marilyn say that you are the best person to talk to about it, so here we are... I have never knowingly eaten road kill, but Marilyn says that they have fed it to me regularly. Now I want to know a little more about this strange habit...

Big Dave Kitchen Big Dave: Nothin' strange about it. It's FREE MEAT. Free and fresh from God's big refrigerator - it's December, man.

You people eat food that was killed by having its throat slit at a slaughterhouse. We eat food that was killed by a car. It don't make no difference how it died, long as it's fresh.

But what I'm eatin' aint got no hormones in it and it's raised natural. Organic. That ought to appeal to you. You ain't even know what you're eating, when you buy meat at the store.

What I'm eatin' for Christmas dinner don't cost me a dime. It's just settin' out there waiting for a hungry man to scoop it up and put some meat on the table. I'm havin' deer and fox this year, along with some vegetables I grew in my garden. It's all free.

As for road kill, when someone hits a deer and calls the cops, guess what they do with it? They take it up to Chuck's Butcher Shop who dresses it out an' then they give it to the food banks and homeless shelters! Poor folks eat road kill all the time and they ain't got no problems with it. You gotta eat. I got ground deer in my freezer right now what was given to me by the lady down the road who got it at the food bank. It's free meat.

Road kill aint just for poor folks, like you think. It's for anyone who needs meat or who just would rather have natural raised than the ones with chemicals in it what you buy at the store.

Tondeleo: So, Big Dave, how does one know if the animal on the side of the road is fresh enough to eat, or is even fit to eat at all?

Big Dave: Well, use your head. If it stinks, it aint no good. If it's got maggots on it, it aint no good. If it's smashed flat or its guts are spilled all over the road, I ain't touchin' it.

If the eyes are clouded over with white it’s been dead several hours, but that don't mean the meat's bad. If it still has fleas on it, that means it's probably still good enough to eat. When the meat goes bad, the fleas take off for something better to eat.

Usually on a deer, it only has damage on one side, so you have about most of it that's good enough to eat. You might lose a hip on one side, to being bruised. You can give that to the dogs. They like it fine. I mean they can't tell it's bruised. It just tastes like meat to them.

Tondeleo: How about after rigor mortis sets in... you know, once it's gone stiff. You can't eat it then, can you, Big Dave?

Big Dave: Sure. They go stiff pretty quick. I eat 'em all the time what was stiff when I found them. If they don't stink and they aren't busted up too bad, you can eat them.

You can eat pheasants, foxes, badgers, rabbits, all of 'em. If the blood is red, they are very fresh. If it's fresh, you can eat it. I call it God's Grocery Store.

This interview went a bit longer and I will save if for another posting, where we get specific on how to field dress a deer.

Doc Stevens, Marilyn, Big Dave and Eating "Road Kill" Deer Meat.

Monday, December 21, 2009 11:32 AM Posted by Tondeleo Lee Thomas

Tondeleo: I haven't been to the States for more than a month now, and I have been ill frequently - which means that I have been in the survival mode as to my writing for paying my bills. I haven't had time to post anything about Doc and Marilyn.

I did ring them up the other night, just to wish them a happy Christmas and holiday season. It was good to be able to talk with them, and to hear their plans for Christmas.

Marilyn answered the call:

Marilyn: HI TONDY!!! Uncle Doc ain't here. You calling from that England?

Tondeleo: Yes, Marilyn, I'm calling from "that England." Bromley, actually. How are you and Doc doing?

Marilyn: Well... me an' Uncle Doc been shoppin', been visitin' and playin' an' singin' at peoples' Christmas parties so we got some money for presents. We been up to the Dollar General an' Doc got me some clothes an' some other things what'll be a surprise.

I got him a new hat an' some shirts an' socks. Two bags of socks, Tondy! He needed socks real bad. His old ones are all rotten.

We went to the Wal-Mart over to La Plata, too, Tondy! We ain't been there for three months cause we ain't had the time or money. But we got four 50 pound bags of dog food for Dale Junior and Stubby an' Doc got 'em some new collars for Christmas! They're gonna be SO excited Tondy!

Last night we went to Big Dave's an' played music an' sang til real late. I took a picture what I'll email you when we go to the Bryans Road liberry. [I got the pic today - see below] Big Dave was askin' about you an' said to wish you a good Christmas if y'all do Christmas in England. I told him you did.

Big Dave is doin' well. He still ain't drinkin' an' that's a good thing, cause when he used to drink, he could be mean. Now he is a big teddy bear, but don't let on that I told you Tondy! Cross your heart!

Big Dave had cooked up a deer roast from a deer what he found what got hit by a car.

Tondeleo: Road kill? He fed you road kill?

BigDaveChristmasMarilyn: Well it ain't like that, Tondy. If you are out at night an' there ain't a deer on the side of the road an' then you go by in the mornin' and there IS a deer on the side of the road, then you know it's fresh. An besides, it's cold outside, so it's not gonna go bad. We eat it all the time, Tondy.

Tondeleo: Well I wouldn't eat road kill, Marilyn! That's disgusting!

Marilyn: Well, guess what, "Mr. Better n' us?" You've ALREADY eaten road kill! You've had road kill deer, road kill 'coon and road kill possum! Cause if we see it an' it's fresh an' ain't too tore up, we dress it an' freeze it an' eat it. It ain't nothin' wrong with it, an' you've liked it!

Tondeleo: I wish you hadn't told me that, Marilyn! I think I'm going to be sick!

Marilyn: Quit bein' a sissy, Tondy! Meat is meat. All you do is when you field dress it, you cut out the part where it's bruised. The rest of the meat it just fine an' that's what we ate at Big Dave's. He's a good cook an' gave us some deer steaks to take home for Christmas. He's like havin' an extra Uncle. He's a good man an' a good guitar player, too. Plus he can cook, so he's better n' you in some ways.

Tondeleo: I'm sure he IS better than me, in a LOT of ways, Marilyn. Especially when it comes to being able to take dead animals from the side of the road and making savory dishes. I can honestly say that he is probably better than any of my friends. So you can pass my praise on to Big Dave and tell him to have a wonderful Christmas! Tell Doc I'll be talking to him before Christmas!

Marilyn: Ok, bye Tondy! And Merry Christmas - "Mr. Better n' us!"