Stories from the Sage: Tales from California’s Eastern Edge
Giles: Jason Bullington took over Albert’s Meat Market and Deli on Bridgeport’s Main Street this spring. His shop is the only place that processes deer commercially in Mono County. He also processes and packages black bears.
In the spirit of deer season, which starts this Saturday, September 16, we asked Jason to share his secret method of skinning a deer to get the cleanest meat possible.
Jason Bullington: It probably would have been better if I had something with some bones in it, huh?[saw slicing steaks]
Jason Bullington: We do use a special skinning technique here that involves a special rock, a rope, a chain, and a truck. And we kinda rip it off, and it’s very clean. It’s the best way to do it.
Giles: Can you explain that process?
Jason Bullington: Well [laughs], what you do is you place the deer on a pallet, and you chain the head to a stationary object, such as a pole in concrete, in the ground, and you peel back a portion of the skin. And when I mentioned the perfect rock, it’s, like, round on the underside. And then you put the rope over whatever you peel back on the skin. And then you cinch that down, and hook that to a truck and back up slowly. And it just rips the skin right off, all in one piece.
And it doesn’t leave any hair on the meat, and it’s just the cleanest, easiest way to do it. Quickest way, also. ‘Cause it takes probably an hour to skin a deer the right way. To do it right, and not waste any meat or anything like that.
Giles: Can I ask where you learned how to do that?
Jason Bullington: I learned to do that at Buster’s Market, and that’s how they did it when I got there. I believe, I’m not sure, but Ricky Hysell might be the one that came up with that. I’m not positive. You can semi-quote me on that, I don’t know. But, I think he came up with it, and that’s how we do it.
And sometimes I had customers that wanted to use their vehicles, they were so excited.
But if you do it right, it’s so quick and easy, it’s crazy.
Giles: And that is how they skin a deer in Bridgeport.
This episode of Stories from the Sage was recorded in Bridgeport, California, and produced by Abagael Giles. For more Stories from the Sage: Tales from California’s Eastern Edge, visit www.thesheetnews.com, and stay tuned for episode previews in the hard copy of the paper.