CB, it's not consistently cold enough here to age venison, so a lot of us just quarter and trim and get it in an ice chest as quick as possible. Normal is get the hide off within an hour, and the quarters and trimmings into the ice within another hour. I leave it in the ice for 3-5 days, draining water and adding ice at least once a day until the water is just barely pink. It leeches a lot of blood out of the meat, (not all though). The whole process makes the meat taste really good. Even if you field dress, I think it's vital to get the hide off asap and start cooling the carcass. Also, IMO, the more blood you can get out of the meat, the better it tastes and will keep better.
I always believe when someone says that they ate venison and it tasted bad, that it wasn't cleaned carefully and cooled down quickly.
Yes, I've tasted venison that I couldn't eat. It had been kept 3 weeks in ice chests by a processor and went bad. I believe he didn't keep the water changed and fresh ice on it, but don't know that. It may just have been way too long.
I would like to know how other hunters handle venison also.
Thanks and good eating, Tom
Texas State Rifle Association Life Member
NRA Endowment Life Member
A big fast bullet will beat a little fast bullet every time
Hey Cowboy, I have processed my own venison for years and I have found that 7-14 days is best. The larger the deer, the longer you can hang it. We keep our cooler at around 34degrees. I have let them hang 21 days with no problem. Just make sure that all of the rectum is out and I like to wash the cavity out before I hang the deer. We hang from the rear legs with the skin on. Great site guys
Last edited by Chaser; 12-07-2007 at 10:35 PM.
My hunting area is all within a mile of our butcher shop. Hunting stops as soon as a deer is down. Deer are in the cooler within an hour. We skin and wash the deer and hang them for a week at just above freezing. (between 2 and 4 celcius) This has given us great tasting deer. I think the most important thing for good tasting meet is getting them cleaned up and hanging asap.
Pretty much ditto to Chaser. Leave the hide on for several days in a walk-in cooler, then skin & butcher. As mentioned in another post, a set of lopping shears to chop the pelvis on either side of the rectum works well, and fast. We wash out the body cavity well, which is vital, and in summer crop damage shooting, we often run the hose inside the exit wound to get water between the skin and meat - helps cool it quicker.
One very, VERY important note to getting the best tasting meat is to remove all fat when butchering. These are NOT cattle or hogs - fat often detracts from the taste. I also soak venison in either Coca Cola or Dr Pepper for several hours prior to cooking to tenderize the meat and sweeten it - no 'strong' taste ever. Give it a try.;)
I learned from my dad to skin wash (with vinager) and clean a deer ASAP. In Utah during archery season it can get real warm so we really had to babysit the deer. We would open it up at night to let it cool then in the morning we would wrap it in everything we could to insulate the cold inside. We wanted to let them age 7-10 days temps permitting.
Then I talked to a lot of people who leave the skin on and let them age. You don't waste the "crust" that forms. I started doing that and continue today. We shoot a deer, field dress it, take it home and hang it by the back legs with the hide on. If the weather allows I like to let it hang about a week. I just moved into a place with a shop that really controls the temp; as long as the shop has cooled down it will stay cool for days. It's one small step away from a meat locker.
I absolutly agree with speedbump!!! If you like the wild/gamey taste leave the fat on the meat; otherwise trim anything off that isn't red meat. ALL fat, ALL bone and as much silver-skin (facia) as reasonable. What I tell people who I have taught to butcher; "if you wouldn't cut off that little piece, throw it in a pan, cook it and eat it...throw it away." When I butcher my deer I "seam" (take apart) the muscles so I can remove all inter-muscle fat and facia.
I butcher all of our animals because butcher shops just don't have the time to do it the way I want it done. Almost every person who HATES venison, eats my deer and loves it.
Genises 27-3: Now therefore take, I pray thee, thy weapons, thy quiver and thy bow, and go out to the field, and take me some venison...
With temps that can range from the 50's down to the mid teens in north Idaho getting the hide off and letting the meat cool as soon as possible is the only thing that works for me. I believe that most bad meat comes from porrly handled meat. I do not take my game to a butcher we do it ourselves.
Some times this means cutting the meat the same day it is shot, It all depends on the weather. It really makes me sick every year I here of people who lost meat because they let it hang too long. Alot of butchers take too much game in during a season and loose track of time when caring for animals. In my oponion feild dress get the hide off and clean up the animal as soon as possible. I am probally a little pickier than some but I do not tolorate hair, all our meat is washed before cut up. There are alot of ways to age meat, but none have seemed to work for me. I will only hang for no more than 2 days as long as it is below 30 during the night time and doesnt get over 40 for the high during the day. Just my oponion but it seems to work for me.