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Dry aging your harvested game?

Discussion in 'Hunting' started by SoonerMedic, Sep 21, 2017.

  1. drunkenpoacher

    drunkenpoacher Member

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    Thanks for the post.
    That looks better and easier than using a fridge compressor and I think there is an air conditioner in my shop.
    I'm taking back a couple of the bad things I've said about Sooners.;)
     
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  2. SoonerMedic

    SoonerMedic Member

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    Well, lining the floor with a heavy mil plastic sheet with a 1”x1” or 2”x2” stick on each side with some screws in the corners to hold it together will make any dripping an easy cleanup.
    I mean hell, $1,000 for a walk-in meat locker is a steal really. The guy in that video did excellent work and I’m sure it’s very efficient at keeping the room cold.
     
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  3. Shanghai McCoy

    Shanghai McCoy Member

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    A good window a/c unit should work fine. I know folks who sell stuff at farmer's market and they have a cold box trailer that they use to hold the stuff in between market days. Just plug the a/c unit in and they have a temp switch inside the trailer .
     
  4. SoonerMedic

    SoonerMedic Member

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    So, instead of starting a new thread, how do you guys feel about aging meat in an ice chest for 15-20 days on ice? Is there a difference in taste vs dry aging?
     
  5. HB

    HB Member

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    I usually leave them on ice for a week or so and slowly work my way through processing. I have hung them out for 7-10 days before but honestly we don't have winter anymore.
     
  6. SoonerMedic

    SoonerMedic Member

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    I think I’ve decided to break down and buy a cheap used fridge. I think that’ll be my best option...
     
  7. david58

    david58 Member

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    Depending on temperatures, I will age from a day to a week, including the time hanging in camp. Been fortunate to usually have cool weather to deal with, my approach to aging would change if hunting in warm weather. Don't really know if it makes a difference, but what I DO know is that keeping the meat clean and cool is the key.
     
  8. Charliefrank

    Charliefrank Member

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    The age of the deer and how the deer dies makes a difference in tenderness and therefore the need to age. A young deer will typically be tender when compared to an old deer. If the deer never saw it coming it will be more tender than a deer all pumped up on adrenaline. Just saying from experience.
     
  9. gspn

    gspn Member

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    We have a walk in cooler big enough to hang 4 to 6 deer, shelves on the sides for drinks and such. Keep it at 38 degrees and I can hang them til it's convenient to get to them. I don't do it for flavor as much as convenience. On several occasions when butchering a deer shortly after I killed it I experienced "muscle shortening" on the backstraps. They were so tough that you simply couldn't eat them. I even tried grinding them to see if that would work...nope. It was like ground up pencil erasers. That happens when you butcher one that's in the middle of the rigor mortis process.

    Hanging them for a bit allows the rigor mortis process to run to completion before I butcher it. That in turn helps me avoid any shortening issues.

    I've let them hang as long as three weeks, and I keep the hide on. If you pull the hide before you hang them, the carcass dries out and you have to cut away a lot of meat.
     
  10. SoonerMedic

    SoonerMedic Member

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    Yeah I’m not so sure I’ll be able to hang an entire deer in my fridge...I just don’t think it’s tall enough which stinks because I would prefer to be able to hang it whole...

    Edit: I think I’ll just quarter and hang for 2-3 days and hope it doesn’t dry out too much....if it dries I’ll jsut have to trim it up.
     
  11. wankerjake

    wankerjake Member

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    You could age half of it (or whatever fits) in the fridge. 2-3 days is generally enough but between 33-40 it will keep. It won't dry out, the thin layer that dries on the outside does not need to be trimmed. It re-hydrates while cooking (or in the grind if you grind it).
     
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  12. oldsnow

    oldsnow Member

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    I wet age my deer. First I field clean or gut it, bring it home and skin clean and quarter it then put it in a refrigerator overnight. Then the next day my wife will debone it and put it in 1 or 2 gallon ziplock bags and take all the air out of the bag that she can and seal them, put it back in the refrigerator for another (7 to 10) days. Then she will get it back out and cut it into steaks and burger meat.

    The bottom part of the deer legs are always saved for a roast, this roast has a lot of bone not a lot of meat and a great flavor when roasted. Now the neck she will debone it for burger meat and put the bone in a roasting pan with chunks of vegetables and a pack of gravy mix and roast it.

    We only eat deer neat, we don't buy any beef unless it is a hamburger at a fast food joint. We have been doing deer this way for almost 20 years. Sometimes we have family and friends for dinner and make steak on the grill and they keep coming back for more. We also like pickled deer heart and tongue.
     
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  13. entropy

    entropy Member

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    I process it ASAP and get it in the freezer. Never understood why you'd risk ruining the meat to 'add flavor', which to me (having eaten enough of others' deer that was hung) is excessively gamey. The best venison I ever had in my life was a corn-fed doe I shot at 7:30 and had in the freezer by 10.
     
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  14. SoonerMedic

    SoonerMedic Member

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    The only risk you have to worry about is your fridge dying...if you keep the temp down it won’t spoil. It’s simple science. Bacteria doesn’t grow (at least not very quickly at all) in temps below 40*F.
     
  15. caribou

    caribou Member

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    Yes, we dry age meats, yes we do it at home, yes, we build special, just for the meats, our drying racks made of spruce poles.
    IMG_0177.jpg

    DSCN6153.jpg

    DSCN5909.jpg

    goodoldones0060.jpg


    Disclaimer; None of this applies in California
     

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  16. Glockula

    Glockula Member

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    I have let them hang, skin off, in a walk in cooler for up to four days. It seems to relax the meat well and no spoilage ever. To me clean is dry. I do not like to put the meat directly on ice m or soak it in water. My venison is deep red and not gamey.
     
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  17. SoonerMedic

    SoonerMedic Member

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    F99027ED-ACF1-4F61-92F7-AC1CF6557C7B.jpeg Well, my wife brought home the bacon tonight...well...venison lol. We quartered her, took the backstraps and trimmed as much off as we could manage to grind up later. I got it all hung at about 10 tonight and I plan on getting it all processed Wednesday morning or afternoon.

    Edit: as this was my first time to quarter and whatnot, I had to improvise on that one quarter in the middle on the right.
     
  18. Glockula

    Glockula Member

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    Very nice! That looks good. You guys will be eating well.
     
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  19. Glockula

    Glockula Member

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    Training your wife to debone the meat is m outstanding sir. My hats off to you. o_O
     
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  20. oldsnow

    oldsnow Member

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    I did not have to train my wife to debone any meat or clean my fish. She gets mad if I don't let her do it.:)
     
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  21. wankerjake

    wankerjake Member

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    That will be more than fine. Good eating.
     
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  22. H&Hhunter

    H&Hhunter Moderator

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    I do not age game meat. Get the skin off and get it cooled as fast as possible.

    I am going to mention something here that we see guys from Michigan and a Wisconsin seem to do all the time. They like to hang a carcass with the skin on for up to a week. NO! There was a group from WI hunting deer in my elk unit last weekend who had a deer carcass hanging in camp, gutted with the hide on for the three days that I was there. The daytime temps were up in the mid 70's! Deer hunting in Nebraska there is a group from MI that does the same thing every year. What the heck are these guys thinking?

    Unless it's frozen solid as Caribou mentioned, get that dang hide off your carcass immediately. When I see stuff like that it's no wonder guys get gamey tasting meat.
     
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2017
  23. redneck

    redneck Member

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    I get mine in the freezer as fast as possible, and have never had anyone complain about it tasting gamey. More often than not I have had people who claim to not like venison come back for 2nds when I fix it. I attribute a big part of that to hunting over farm fields and not out in the woods where they live off acorns and leaves, but proper handling of the meat is a big part also.

    If I was going to hang it for any period of time, I would want the hide off ASAP still. I don't see how people think they can properly cool the carcass out with the hide on, considering the hide is what keeps the animal warm all winter. You can have an animal that feels cold to the touch on the outside of the hide and when you peel it off it's steaming underneath.
     
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  24. H&Hhunter

    H&Hhunter Moderator

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    I’ve left the hide on an elk overnight that I shot right at dark. The night time temps got down to the negative. The next morning when I skinned it out the meat was still warm enough to steam in places. This elk had been gutted and the cavity proped open with a stick. That was the last time I ever left the hide on any carcass any longer than was absoloutley needed. And that bull was so gamey we could hardly eat it.
     
  25. Loyalist Dave

    Loyalist Dave Member

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    I typically only hang the deer for about 24-36 hours. True dry-aging needs meat with a pretty good fat content, and venison be it deer or elk or moose normally are much too lean. YES you do tenderize it by aging, but the better flavor that one gets with beef, you don't get. I'm not sure I'd want to. Farm raised beef, even grass fed is one flavor I like, and the venison is another flavor that I like. Of course, getting the blood out is important, but dry aging doesn't do that. In fact, dry-aging in addition to the breaking down of the tissue to get tenderness, it removes water, but not the blood cells in that water, so would concentrate the flavor of the blood that was left within the meat. Here's some information on dry-aging...,

    "Dry-aged meat has been hung or placed on a rack to dry for several weeks. After the animal is slaughtered and cleaned, it is hung as a full or half carcass. Primal (large distinct sections) or sub primal cuts, such as strip loins, rib eyes, and sirloin, are placed in a refrigerator unit, also known as a "hot box". This process involves considerable expense, as the beef must be stored near freezing temperatures. Subprimal cuts can be dry aged on racks either in specially climate-controlled coolers or within a moisture-permeable drybag. Moreover, only the higher grades of meat can be dry aged, as the process requires meat with a large, evenly distributed fat content. Because of this, dry-aged beef is seldom available outside of steak restaurants and upscale butcher shops or groceries. The key effect of dry aging is the concentration and saturation of the natural flavor, as well as the tenderization of the meat texture."

    LD
     
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