I had a few enquiries on YouTube to post a tutorial how to boil out roe deer head, so I filmed how I do it. This is one of the two methods I use. I use this method for non-medal heads as it is a bit quicker, but it is still more like full skull than popular on British Isles short nose cut. The other method is slightly more time consuming, but necessary for trophy heads when every gram of the trophy counts. I will try to post another tutorial when I find some more time…
Part 1 – Preparation
When the head is cut off, it is desirable to skin facial part of the head. It is not 100% necessary, I sometimes skip that part and boil the hole head, but for someone who is not very experienced with boiling out it gives a good indication how long to boil the head for. When the skin from facial part and bottom jaw is removed, the meat that is left “cracks” and falls of the bone. This is good indicator when it is ready to be cleaned.
Another important step is to let the head soak in cold water. Water will draw all blood from the meat away and it will be cleaner (nose cavity) and will not smell too bad when boiling. I usually leave it soak overnight, but it can stay in water for 2-3 days if it is not too warm.
To speed things up I usually cut the back of the head and remove brain (Brain is edible and not too bad with scrambled eggs…).
Part 2 – Boiling out
As mentioned before, “cracking” meat falling off the bone is a good indicator how long to boil for. It will be around 25 minutes as on this video for a yearling buck for up to an hour in case of older roebuck. Red deer will be even longer, but it is much easier to look at the skinned facial part of the head and bottom jaw to figure out when it is done than looking at a watch. When it is underdone it will take twice that time to get it cleaned, when is overcooked it is easy to damage the trophy, teeth will fall off etc. Some damage can be fixed with superglue, but not all…
Cleaning should always start from the back of the head. Remove eyes, large chunks of meat and to speed things up I usually do a “V” shape cut with a saw to get into nose cavity. When all the bits from the nose cavity are removed, it is nearly done.
When I am happy with the result, I clean the skull with a brush under hot water to remove all small bits and pieces and fat.
Part 3 – Bleaching
I use Hydrogen Peroxide for bleaching. I got this strong solution off eBay. I usually brush it and cover with paper towels soaked in peroxide for a few hours. How long to bleach for depends how strong is the solution. To be honest it would be enough just to brush it with 35% peroxide, let it dry and then repeat the process, but it is a bit faster when covered with paper towels.
After bleaching I just rinse in cold water and leave the head to dry. It usually takes a few days to dry.