Montana's Premier Meat Processing
Happel’s Clean Cut Meats was aptly named for the cleanliness of the operation and the plant inside and out. Our reputation wild game processing boasts the longest family owned operation in the state of Montana. Started in 1961, 2014
marks our 53rd year in business.New Smoke House
In 2013, a new modern “home built” smokehouse replaced the old cinder block house of some 50 years. This new smokehouse includes a very modern efficient wood pellet smoke generator. Wood pellets offer a very “clean” smoke with no tar or creosote deposits on the meat/sausage products while still giving the products the old fashioned smoke flavor and delicious aroma. Raw wood smoke generators used by all other game processors do produce tar and creosote which are know cancer causing carcinogens. Thus, our smoked products are much more on the healthier side.
FROM YOUR VEHICLE TO YOUR FREEZER:
For the past 24 years, we have specialized almost solely on wild game cutting, & sausage and jerky production. Here is how a typical game animal is processed when brought in. The hide-on animal is prepped removing the head and lower legs. It is then weighed and hung on a rail system roller trolley. We pride our operation that no animal will ever be stacked or ever touch the ground or floor!* Full processing instructions are recorded twice. Once in a log book and once on a carcass tag that is attached to the animal. It is then rolled into a nearby 35 degree cooler for the aging process. After the appropriate hanging time of 10 days to two weeks, the animal is brought out of the cooler to the skinning area. There the animal is professionally skinned using power pulling chains. This keeps the animal almost hair free. Any hair remaining is given a quick singe with a propane torch. So far, all of the above procedures occur in a separate building and coolers adjacent to the main processing building. **
Next the freshly skinned animal is brought into a cooler in the main building awaiting processing. First the animal is cleaned with a hanging on the rail method. All contamination such as bloodshot, dirt, fecal material, etc. is carefully trimmed and discarded using a hook and boning knife. This is done in conjunction with breaking the carcass into smaller primal pieces.
Finally to the actual cutting room where our experienced and trained cutters further the process on their cutting tables. *** Only one animal is processed at a time in the cutting room. This eliminates mix-ups and insures that all of your fresh cuts, burger & fresh sausage remain solely yours. Muscle primals are then frozen and later sawed into uniform thickness cut steaks and chops and double wrapped with shrink film and coated white paper. Burger and/or fresh sausage is ground separately with (or without) fresh Montana beef suet or pork trim and tube stuffed. Every package is accurately labeled to date, species, cut and owners name via computer generated labels.
Last of the process is to box the frozen meat and burger/sausage, label and then to freezer storage awaiting pickup by the customer.
* Some processors are forced to stack carcasses in a pile because of a lack of cooler storage and hanging space. The animals at the bottom are getting “marinated” and it is not a good marinade!!
** This keeps hair out of the main building where further processing and sausage making occurs. Something that remains a constant problem with other game processors!
*** Pre-cleaning (hanging on the rail) of the animal’s carcass of any contamination prevents those contaminates and bad bacteria from touching the cutting boards where only clean meat is cut.
Imagine having steaks being cut where bloodshot and/or fecal matter had been on the same surface!