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Cold aging?
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Shotgun
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 24, 2006 5:00 pm    Post subject: Cold aging? Reply with quote

I've heard a lot of people talking about aging a dear for a week before processing it. Is there any good way to do that without a spare frige or leaving it hang in a shed/garage/yard? Can I store it in a cooler and can I process it before aging or should I just not bother and process the little guy right when I get it home and throw it in the freezer?
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guncollector
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 25, 2006 5:54 am    Post subject: Re: Cold aging? Reply with quote

You can age it in a cooler but it is important to not get the meat wet. One way to do this is to freeze water in empty plastic milk bottles and line the bottom of the cooler with these. Quarter the deer and put the meat in the cooler on top of the milk bottles. Watch to make sure you don't spring a leak. Leave the meat in the cooler for a few days -the ice should last that long.

I have processed many a deer that has not been aged and for the most part, it is difficult to tell. I do believe that proper aging will tenderize the meat a bit and concentrate the flavors as well. I'm not sure it is worth a lot of trouble which it can be if you don't have a walk-in cooler.
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wncchester
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 25, 2006 7:44 am    Post subject: Re: Cold aging? Reply with quote

Circumstances some 30 years ago forced me to find some way to preserve my deer in a 32 quart cooler for almost two weeks or lose it. I knew meat would absorb fresh water and spoil the flavor and appearance, so what else would work, I had to try something!!!

I filled the cooler about half full of water and added about a third of a pound of table salt to make a brine solution, much like the old time sailers did for their meat on ships. Then I put in the quarted, sectioned venison and added crushed ice while making sure everything was submerged in the brine solution. Added a few bits of ice each day, just enough to keep a few chunks showing on the surface, and held the brine temp aound 35 degrees. I kept it that way for almost two full weeks and it worked great! In fact, the meat soon looked as clean and fresh as store bought prime beef/pork. The salt even cleaned up the blood-shot meat! It worked so well I, and some friends, have done the same ever since even tho it isn't always neccessary.

I butcher and process my own deer and this lets me do it at my leisure, at home. I lightly flush the meat as each chunk is removed from the cooler to wash off excess salt and pat it dry before trimming off the bones, fat, sinew and tendons. Meal-sized packages are then vacuum bagged and frozen.

Each deer is a bit different so I can't be certain if my wet "aging" process is as good as hanging dry in a commercial cooler but everyone who eats my venison raves about the tenderness and flavor. Occasionally we have a non-deer eater over for dinner, sometimes they question why I want to eat deer when store-bought beef is as good as what they are scarfing down ... we only tell them AFTER they are stuffed! ;-)
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DallanC
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 25, 2006 9:09 am    Post subject: Re: Cold aging? Reply with quote

I grew up aging deer but a few years ago I started cutting them up the day of the kill due to hotter weather from earlier seasons. In my opinion the meat is better.


-DallanC
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SwampFox
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 25, 2006 9:33 am    Post subject: Re: Cold aging? Reply with quote

Dallan,
My x-father in-law was a meat cutter, owned a meat market in Washington and was a foreman in a national chain operation in New England, about 50 years all told in experiance. We had several discussions about Deer and ageing.

First off, ageing is a fairly precise process, requiring a room temprature that is constant and dry. As I recall, the temprature required ie 36 degrees. He said that you can not properly age meat outdoors, period. Indoors is if'y and not of much help.

Next, he always cut a deer up the day it was shot and packaged the meat as it was cut up, no waiting around. He always said the immediate processing made better tasting deer meat.
Ed

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squirrelbait
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 25, 2006 9:43 am    Post subject: Re: Cold aging? Reply with quote

The butcher we use laughs at people who think they need to age their venision. He has been doing it for 30 ++ years. He was convinced years ago to try aging the deer.......he has the walk in coolers at controlled temps.
The taste test confirmed his approach. I will refuse to age if someone asks him. Smile
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mikekuzara
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 25, 2006 8:57 pm    Post subject: Re: Cold aging? Reply with quote

Aging does not improve taste, but it does make the meat more tender as enzymes satrat to break down the tissue. The Wyoming Game and Fish and the University of Wyoming did a study on this years ago. What they found was that hanging the animal, hide on, for 5 to 7 days in 34 to 40 degree temps would make the meat more tender. More aging dried the meat out and made it tougher. Since wild game does not have intramuscular fat (marbling in beef) the aging process does not improve on the flavor.

My father in law owned the locker plant in Dubois Wyoming and he would hang wild game for at least 3 to 5 days if he was able. The only exception being that he seperated the shoulders of moose and elk to cool the meat more quickly.

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popgun
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 25, 2006 10:33 pm    Post subject: Re: Cold aging? Reply with quote

Out here in the sticks of Georgia the deer processors are so busy that they do not have room in their coolers to age deer for hunters any more.
I agree that there is no difference in taste from an aged or non-aged deer.

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blueriverjerry
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 27, 2006 12:30 pm    Post subject: Re: Cold aging? Reply with quote

I home processed venison for years and was happy with the results..however..several years ago I tried deer/elk muzzleloader seasons in Colorado (4 times, 3 deer, no elk). Because I scored on deer and was concerned about meat loss I gave up a half day each time to run in to Cortez and have a packing plant age, cut, and flash freeze all three times.

I'll have to say the venison was just better than any I processed myself. Don't know for sure why (maybe CO venison is just better than OR/CA??) but I'll have my next local deer (hopefully next week) done professionally.

Good hunting
Smile
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Deleted_User_2665
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 27, 2006 1:40 pm    Post subject: Re: Cold aging? Reply with quote

A simple shed can be built, about the size of a two holer outhouse, with the inside walls and roof insulated with foam board ....a small to medium sized air conditioner can then be placed in the wall of the shack and run with a heavy extention cord. On "high", temps will prevent spoilage and the deer can be allowed to hang even in hot weather.

Aging for 5 to 7 days with the hide on does allow the meat to tenderize if the carcass is kept cool.

Two associated things DO allow the meat to taste better....

1.) getting the meat cooled quicky adds to the flavor quality.

2.) hanging head down for a length of time allows as much as possible of the remaining blood to drain from the hind quarters and back straps...the usual grilling fare.......deer blood will taint meat to an almost liver like taste. Adrenaline in the bloodstream of a scared animal will also taint the meat to a different flavor.
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squirrelbait
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 28, 2006 6:49 am    Post subject: Re: Cold aging? Reply with quote

Wildswalker, you struck a good point I hadn't given any other thought to.
My wife said the venison tasted like liver. I or the kids didn't really notice but she insisted. Hmmmmm, your inputs sound like they support her claim.....which, by the way, I just passed off because she is not terrible fond of wild game anyway. The deer was processed one day after my daughter shot him. Thanks for the input.
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Deleted_User_2665
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 28, 2006 3:01 pm    Post subject: Re: Cold aging? Reply with quote

No problem....

I consider venison standard table fare for half the year...at a minimum.

Doin' what it takes to please the palate never don't work....
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Dimitri
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 28, 2006 5:08 pm    Post subject: Re: Cold aging? Reply with quote

squirrelbait,

Most people I know dont like liver, the look on there face when I take out a Liverwurst sandwhich for lunch is priceless. Cool

Dimitri

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squirrelbait
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 29, 2006 6:39 am    Post subject: Re: Cold aging? Reply with quote

Dimitri, ya gota know. There are only two things my said she would refuse to cook.......liver and boiled cabbage Crying or Very sad
I love them both and can handle myself pretty darn good in the old kitchen. When she is not going to be home for supper.......you got. Laughing
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Dimitri
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 29, 2006 6:42 am    Post subject: Re: Cold aging? Reply with quote

squirrelbait,

Whats wrong with boiled cabbage ?? Shocked Never heard people not liking it before. Smile

Dimitri

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