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Gilgamesh

Aging deer meat

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How long would you recommend hanging a deer outside after field dressing it to age the meat? For example, lets say I shoot a deer friday morning in the metro (I hope)... how long should I let it hang with temperatures in the 40s-mid 50s this weekend? Or should I just butcher it up right away and throw it a fridge?

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always let rig set in and elapse before butchering. ya know when deer get stiff, thats rigamortis. not sure on the spelling of that. when they become more flexible, rig is close to having run its course. temps should be thirtys, but not exceed mid fortys. if you can get those temps, 3-5 days is best for aging.

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Personally I think mid 50's is getting a little too warm to age the meat.

I will let a deer hang if the highs for the day get no higher than about 42-43 degrees. I'm not a butcher but if it gets warmer than that I don't want the deer to spoil and lose any meat.

In the past if I shot a deer in Sept. I would pack the cavity with about 20-40 lbs of ice overnight and place an old quilt over the deer. Then I get it take it in first thing in the morning.

Maybe there is a butcher here on FM who could comment.

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If you have access to a fridge to age the meat in, you're best off doing that when the daytime temps get into the 50s. You could just quarter the deer and put the quarters in the fridge, then remove the backstraps/trimmings and age them in the fridge too. That way you maintain a constant temp and eliminate the worry of spoilage, then you can bone it out and package it whenever it works for you. How long to age it is a matter of preference.

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We have butchered are deer any where form 2-3 days to as early as being shot that morning. We always butcher on the Monday after rifle opener and we have shot deer on that morning. Can't say that I have ever notice a difference in the meat, all taste the same. YUMMY!!!! smile Not really sure that you need to age the meat.

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Yeah you do, it tastes better and it tenderizes the meat, it's science. Natural enzymes (lactic acid) break down the tough collagen in the muscles as the meat ages. There is some moisture lost thus concentrating the flavors.

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always let rig set in and elapse before butchering. ya know when deer get stiff, thats rigamortis. not sure on the spelling of that. when they become more flexible, rig is close to having run its course. temps should be thirtys, but not exceed mid fortys. if you can get those temps, 3-5 days is best for aging.

you're absolutely right on this, if ou are going to wait, you have to wait until rigamortis elapses. You don't want to butcher it while all the muscles are tensed up.

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To my knowledge the best is as follows. I got this from a butcher's HSOforum:

1.

Skin the deer as soon as possible. This helps the meat cool more rapidly. Heat will destroy the meat.

2.

If you have a large enough cooler, cover the meat with a cheese cloth or similar to keep it from drying out and hang it in the 35-40 degree cooler. I believe 38 degrees was the preferred temp.

3.

Age for a minimum of 7 days or up to 10 days.

4.

For sure, don't process the meat while rigor mortis is set. This usually lasts up to 24 hours after the kill.

These suggestions were to guarantee the best results. I don't have a walk-in cooler so we usually wait for at least a day before boning the meat. Then we package the meat it in covered buckets and place in a refrigerator to age. This method does seem to produce good results. I have noticed a definite difference in tenderness between aged and non-aged meat.

Bob

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I have ever notice a difference in the meat, all taste the same. YUMMY!!!! smile Not really sure that you need to age the meat.

You are right though jerkbait, aged or not aged it's still pretty darn good.

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I pay $60 to have the local meat center cut it for me and they say aging deer only makes your venison "older and drier" so don't do it. Venison, as you know, is completely different than beef in terms of fat content. Aging fine beef with high fat content is a completely different game than aging super lean venison. You can do it, but it won't have the same effects as aging beef.

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In most cases with a butcher shop that see’s any deer processing business, you deer is going sit in a refrigerated tractor trailer/cooler for a couple days even before it is skun. If someone lets a deer hang for (lets say) 3-7days, you can add on at least 2-5 days while it is at the meat market waiting to be processed (skinned or unskun by the customer).

I have two opinions on this topic. One from doing a couple ton of deer at a local meat market and the other for my own meat.

When skinning and cutting deer on a large scale, I liked that they where aged by the customer. They where easier to skin and less messy to process then freshly killed deer. When working at a local meat market, I hated the road kill ones that came in during the summer months. The smell of even a freshly killed deer can be strong, they are bloody and hard to skin. A hung deer or very slightly frozen deer is a skinners delight. Do not completely freeze the deer, because the cutting/de-boning process is almost impossible. Plus having to unfreeze venison for processing (cutting and de-boning) is a long process and (I feel) can cause possible bacteria and taste issues. Double plus, you have to refreeze again when the processing is done. Another flavor stealer!

When processing my deer on a personal level, I let the deer hang for a max of one day if temperature permits. My magical number is 40 deg’s or more, cut it up ASAP. That is what I have been taught working at a meat market in my youth. Basically mid 30’s is what we had to store your venison at while waiting to be processed, might as well follow what the industry says to do. I let my deer hang to let the blood coagulate some and then make quick action of the carcass. If the temp is not correct for letting it hang, I will make even quicker action of cutting the deer up, even on a work night. I just get all cleaning, cutting and packing stuff ready before the season starts,iIn anticipation of an emergency situation.

Now, the question of the century? When letting the deer hang, should one hang it from the front shanks or rear? I was told by a wise butcher once it was better to let the deer hang from the rear, to let the blood flow to the brain. I have done this even since. Now if it makes a difference in the outcome of how the meat tastes, I do not know grin.

As far as letting the deer hang or not makes any difference in the taste of the final product???

Personally I prefer meat that is frozen after processing as quick as possible, but I think that could be just me smile. I have tasted venison from friends that was hung for a week in right conditions and it tasted just fine. I feel letting a deer hang, you could subject the meat to containments or worse, dogs or animals chewing the meat up while it is hanging wink.

I also feel letting the deer hang started as our four fathers (drinking it up grin) after a hard day hunting, procrastination would set in. When the young kids would ask “Daddy or Grandpa, why is the deer still out in the front yard” , the best response was “we are letting it age”. Also a sub-primordial display of the bringing the meat home and to display to all (like “look what I got”) might have something to do with. This stuff has been passed down for many, many generations and now is being questioned on FM grin. Which is cool! wink

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I'm still going to have to disagree, in my OWN opinion believe it does the meat some good, I'm not saying leaving it hanging in a tree for a 2-3 days is a good thing, with the fluctuating temps I believe its a bad thing. BUT I just got done eating that big backstrap from a buck I arrowed last week and the last pan of it was more tender than the first. It's been sitting in my fridge since I shot it.

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where are there butcher shops that take deer for butchering/processing eith the hide still on? most butcher shops i visit have signs that say they onlt take deboned venision. secondly, i am no expert but we cut up our deer asap after we get home from hunting.

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I worked 6 years (from the early nineties and to the late nineties) at Nowthen Cafe and Meats. I am sure things might have changed since then.

When you brought your deer in, you would drive around back; we would unload, weigh and write deer up. Give you a tag and you would go to the front counter and discuss what processing you would like done. After the customer had left, we would pile un-skinned deer up by the skinning area. By the Tues after the opener, we would get over whelmed and have several hundred deer to skin. At this point, we had a separate refrigerated tractor trailer for deer with the hides still on them and then another trailer for skinned and burned deer waiting to be brought in for quartering and de-boning.

We would skin the deer and put the hide in a dumpster or give it back to the customer. We also did see some deer come in all ready skun by the customer.

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nowthen, thats a hop, skip and jump from our office. most places dont allow anything but deboned venny because of the fear of odd deseases from what i gather.

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It'll be hard for me to ever buy into the concept of aging venison. I am confident I will forever have it packaged and in the freezer as soon as conveniently possible. I think the biggest factor in meat quality is the way it's prepared. If it is butchered and frozen nearly immediately there isn't a good reason, to me, that it can't be delicious. Each animal might be a little different whether it be age, diet, or whatever but the chef is ultimately responsible for the venison's ability to satisfy. You wrap bacon around anything and it's good.

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We age our venison a minimum of 14 days, the longest we have ever aged it is 20 days. It does make a diffrence in taste and tenderness of the meat. We hang it in a walk in cooler and we cut it up when the inside of the rib cage has a light coating of white

mold on it. I can hear the reaction of some of you young squimish guys, but if you know anything about aging beef, thats how you get

prime aged meat. Venison is no diffrent than beef other than the

fact that venison does not have marbeling in the meat. It still has

the same muscle structure and enzyms that will break down these muscles as it ages. Also the blood in the meat has a chance to

evaporate more and this also mellows the taste of the meat. I have eaten alot of venison, I have shared alot of our aged venison, several of the hunting parties we have shared with now also age their meat until it starts to mold. Don't knock it until

you have tried it!

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People like different things and that is different grin.

You must do all of your own processing. We would never take in any meat that had mold on it or smelled bad.

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Don't think I've commented on this particular thread yet but I'm one to age my venison and have gone past two weeks. Long as the conditions are right I've noticed nothing but good coming from aging the meat. I always go long as the conditions allow me to hang closly monitoring the temperture opening/closing the garage door to adjust. Wish I had a walk in cooler.

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When it comes to aging meat, venison or otherwise, temperature control is the key to success. I'm sure we can all share situations where we aged meat with less than ideal conditions and yet it came out okay. The point is that if one wants to give the meat the BEST chance for success with the lowest chance for contamination, using a controlled atmosphere and environment are paramount.

Bob

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I have almost always aged my deer with the hide on. The temp has to be cold enough tho to allow it to cool quickly. I have used a stick or something to spread the chest cavity as wide open as possible and have never had a problem getting it to cool down quickly. To skin a deer that had been hung for a few days, I have a easy way to remove the hide. Start the skinning around the legs. Once the skin is loose, tie the back legs to something solid and wrap part of the loose hide around a hockey puck or baseball and tie a rope tightly around it. Then tie the other end of the rope to your car or truck and slowly drive forward. The skin will come off easily and you dont end up with lots of hair on it either. Make sure to put a tarp down under the deer so it ends up on the tarp and not the ground. Works great for frozen deer. Hope this helps someone out there.

Happy hunting to all!!

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I have almost always aged my deer with the hide on. The temp has to be cold enough tho to allow it to cool quickly. I have used a stick or something to spread the chest cavity as wide open as possible and have never had a problem getting it to cool down quickly. To skin a deer that had been hung for a few days, I have a easy way to remove the hide. Start the skinning around the legs. Once the skin is loose, tie the back legs to something solid and wrap part of the loose hide around a hockey puck or baseball and tie a rope tightly around it. Then tie the other end of the rope to your car or truck and slowly drive forward. The skin will come off easily and you dont end up with lots of hair on it either. Make sure to put a tarp down under the deer so it ends up on the tarp and not the ground. Works great for frozen deer. Hope this helps someone out there.

Happy hunting to all!!

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With the hide on there is no such thing as cooling quickly. That hide can hold the heat for a long time unless it really gets cold where the carcass is at.

Bob

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