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Thread: Aging Wild Game

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
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    Devils Lake, North Dakota
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    Arrow Aging Wild Game

    Just wondering what others do regarding aging the
    meat on deer, elk, etc.

    After gutting and hide removal:

    I wash the cavity out with a solution of
    vinegar and water (1 vinegar to 4 water).
    This is a safe and easy way to reduce bacteria
    in the cavity without affecting flavor at all.

    Dry cavity with clean paper towel.

    Cover inside cavity with plastic as well as the whole
    carcass.

    Hang in 34F for 7 days. One old buck I did for 14 days
    and it was delicious.

    What say ye???

  2. #2
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    Jun 2005
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    Greensboro, N.C.
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    I cut up a whitetail, put 2 inches ice in cooler, lay meat in, finish filling with ice. Refresh ice for 24 hours, cut, wrap, freeze. Leaves just enough GAMEY taste to make it good.

  3. #3
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    May 2008
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    Fresno California USA
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    Default Venison

    Best I ever had had been hung in cheesecloth for over a week. Turning green. Tender and delicious on the grill.

  4. #4
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    Mar 2008
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    Cameron, MO
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    Sundance,
    Thats pretty much like us. My step dad was a butcher as a young man and he liked to hang a deer or elk for a week to 10 days. Here in Missouri its a perfect 30-40 degrees until opening day and then its probably going to be 70 for the season. At least thats how its been lately. I try to keep it cool if I can. Trying to figure a way to route an a/c unit in my cellar but haven't had much time.
    Now then when I go to my sisters in Colorado and hunt in December it is usually around -10 to -20 degree's(yes its cold!) and the darn elk freezes solid! so we try to keep a small fire going in the barn for a few days until I have to get back home. Then we'll let it just start getting crystals in the meat and cut it up. It makes it easier to cut out your steaks and roasts, and grinds up better too.
    Its good to hang your animal I think. It sure dries it out nice, makes it more tender and firm. Courious how the rest do it!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2002
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    parker county, tx
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    DH hunts exclusively does, so no gamey taste. We just skin/gut, butcher, and vacuum pack to place in the freezer.
    So many weeds.......so little time.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
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    Thornton Colorado
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    Mostly I do like dragonfly but usually because I shoot something in a place where I can't just let it hang. For some reason, if I take a carcass home I trigger a weeks worth of record warm temps and if I leave it back where I got it it will freeze solid. If it freezes then the enzymatic reaction stops so there's little sense in hanging.

    If possible, I like to hang the whole carcass in less than 40 degrees until it gets past riggors.

    For deer we leave the skin on; you loose less meat at butchering. For elk we skin them right away if we can to cool such a large mass.

    Oh, and with either I pull the tenderloins when I gut.
    JohnF INTP

  7. #7
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    Jun 2002
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    parker county, tx
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    Quote Originally Posted by John F View Post
    For some reason, if I take a carcass home I trigger a weeks worth of record warm temps.

    That's so true.
    Often, it doesn't get cool enough down here during hunting season to let them hang anywhere besides in a refrigerator. It was 80 degrees the opening day of rifle season this year.
    So many weeds.......so little time.

  8. #8
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    Sep 2004
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    Devils Lake, North Dakota
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    The venison here is grain fed and absolutely incredible
    compared to the venison I grew up with in the woods
    of Minnesota.

    I age is not to get rid of gamy flavor as there is none.
    It does improve flavor and definitely improves the tenderness.

    I mailed some backstrap medallion steaks to my big brother
    last year for a treat. I called him later and he told me they
    were unbelievable!! He had dumped cream of mushroom
    soup over them and baked them for hours!!!! What a
    waste........

  9. #9
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    Mar 2008
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    Cameron, MO
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    Sundance-He had dumped cream of mushroom
    soup over them and baked them for hours!!!! What a
    waste........
    Haha
    Lately I have been cutting the loins in half or maybe 1/4 instead of into steak medalions. Then when ready to eat I'll put a dry rub on them and grill the whole piece of meat. Then cut it up. Wow its so much more juicy. Just an idea. Easier to cut, wrap and cook.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zane View Post
    Lately I have been cutting the loins in half or maybe 1/4 instead of into steak medalions. Then when ready to eat I'll put a dry rub on them and grill the whole piece of meat. Then cut it up. Wow its so much more juicy. Just an idea. Easier to cut, wrap and cook.
    Now that sounds excellent!! Perhaps a handful of mesquite
    on the coals??? I'll try that tomorrow. The doe has plenty
    of age on her.

  11. #11
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    Jun 2005
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    Greensboro, N.C.
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    I use all the outer loins strictly for jerky. Steaks come from hindquarters.

  12. #12
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    Apr 2006
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    Pepperell, MA.
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    I don't age at all. Gut carefully. Skin carefully. No saws...boning knife only. Vac wrap and freeze. MMMmmmmmm......
    "My wife always wanted girls. Just not thousands and thousands of them......"

  13. #13
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    Aug 2002
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    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    If the weather is cold enough, I'll hang it for two weeks. I've done with the skin left on and with it skinned. I see no difference in taste, both were delicious and not gamey at all. But skinning after 14 days is much easier and the meat isn't as dried out. Of course you have to adjust things as the weather changes and you have to make sure the edges of the skin don't curl back on themselves and keep the skin wet where bacteria can start. As you say the insides should be dry. if it's a clean gut (no broken guts from knife or bullets) then I don't wash it, I just dry it. If it was gut shot, then I wash it thoroughly and the vinegar sounds like a good idea, although I've never tried it. I think it also makes a difference how quickly the meat cools, which of course depends on the weather or other factors. If the weather is warm, I just butcher it and freeze it as quickly as possible. It then requires soaking in brine in the fridge for about four days before cooking to get it tender.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  14. #14
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    We don't have a refrigerator big enough to hold a deer and the temps fluctuate too much here in Oklahoma.

    What we do is skin the deer, cut off the legs, cut off the backstrap and tenderloins and then cut off whatever meat is left on the carcass and neck. Then we put all of the meat (including the whole legs) into an ice chest with ice underneath the meat and plastic bag to keep the meat out of the water. We keep the drain hole open so the water/blood drain out. We leave the meat like that for 5-7 days.

    Then we get together and butcher the deer ourselves the rest of the way. We turn the backstrap and tenderloins into steaks. We make some roasts out of the back legs. We turn parts of the front legs and back legs into stew meat and grind up the rest into hamburger (we usually mix that with some actual hamburger to cook it, since its so lean).

    Between the aging and taking good care of the meat when we cut it up, its not gamey at all. I don't think its really an "aging" process as much as it is letting the blood drain out of the meat. Does not taste exactly like beef, but then its not beef.

    I grew up in town, and the skinning process always turns into a neighborhood event. We always hang the deer in a tree in the next-door neighbor's yard for skinning, and all the kids and some adults would come out to watch. The dad from the Mexican family across the street likes to get involved if he's home. He obviously had skinned a bunch of goats in his life, and he could made skinning a deer seem like skinning a rabbit. He had a stroke and can't help anymore, but he still comes out to watch and looks at us like we need some skinning lessons.

  15. #15
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    Thousand Oaks, CA USA
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    Typically I carry the grocery bags in from the car, and place the already-packed meat into the freezer. Before eating, I allow to thaw to room temp, then cook over a propane grill. Season well, to remove the store-bought taste. Serve with plenty of beer.

  16. #16
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    With the exception of the beer, you're missing out on all the fun.

  17. #17
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    mt. airy, surry county, nc
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    according to john mettler, dvm, who wrote basic butchering the purpose of aging is to allow enzymes to break down the cells, and make it tender with out bacteria spoiling the meat. he recommended temps from 36 to 42 degrees. less will stop the enzymes and more will promote bacteria. he also states to keep the carcass dry. temps around here are usually good for this, though i have used things like ice tents and have also taking the window air conditioner and have put it in a storage building to keep the right temps. i was wandering about using plastic in the cavity, wouldn't that risk moisture collecting against the meat? i leave the hide on till it's ready. and i pull the inner tenderloin so it won't dry out. another good book is "butchering deer" by john weiss.
    he has some good recipes. have y'all tried using butter milk to soak the meat in. i use zip locks so that there is more contact
    "Any fool can learn, the trick is to understand - Einstein"

  18. #18
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    Owen, WI, USA
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    Sheesh, and I thought this thread was about telling how old the deer or elk you shot was.
    Sheri

  19. #19
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    Aberdeen, Idaho
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    Default Venison

    I cut mine within 2 days. I prefer the taste of fresh meat versus the aged meat. I also do not like trimming the mold and dried layer off of the meat. Wastes too much. The only tough meat I had was a moose. You could not stick a fork in the gravy. The hamburger was like chewing grisle. I wondered if that animal could have been aged long enough to make a difference.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnK and Sheri View Post
    Sheesh, and I thought this thread was about telling how old the deer or elk you shot was.
    Sheri
    Gosh.....I never ask their age before I shoot 'em and they never have ID on them either!
    "My wife always wanted girls. Just not thousands and thousands of them......"

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