Ok, maybe not an Expert but...I have aged and butchered OVER 3000 whitetail. Successfully enough that when the uh.....lady of the house....took off and left me hanging, the loss of my shop has created TONS of very HONKED OFF hunters wanting to know WTH are we supposed to do NOW?
Aging the meat is not just a great idea, it's MANDATORY for good , tender, flavorfull venison. At least IMHO
The rules are simple.
1. Get the "innards" OUT.............NOW. No waiting till you get the deer back home.
2. Cool it out ASAP. Got an old chest FREEZER?. Drop that sucker in there for a day. That hide keeps their body temp (108 degrees) for a LONG time in various parts. Think of what kind of weather they can live in and do the math on heat loss.
THEN, keep that carcass between 32 and 36 degrees MAX for 2 weeks, 3 is possible and GREAT IF AND ONLY IF, you got the heat out.....FAST!
SOME want to cool it faster by skinning. YES....this does BUT.. TRULY aging it will take a MINIMUM of 7 days for a small one and will only age approximately 60-70 percent. WITHOUT THE HIDE....dehydration sets in and you'll lose meat and quality. Bacteria has an open door to the meat once the hide is off as well. LEAVE THAT HIDE ON!
3. LONGER IS BETTER. 14 days is rock bottom for me with the right place to keep them. Enemies are A. HEAT B. SUNSHINE C. AIR on the meat D. BACTERIA.......and a special note here if you would allow
GROUND WATER, CITY WATER is NOT.....repeat NOT ......bacteria free!
Ever READ a water test report? They ALLOW certain levels of things you DO NOT want to put on your meat. Spend 5 bucks for bottled water to wash it out if you must BUT, I am here to tell you that ONLY if I am stupid and have broken intestines (not lungs) will I WASH THEM OUT AT ALL.
58 whitetail have fed my family......maybe three have been washed out. IF YOU WASH THEM OUT....watch carefully. The bacteria in the water is not fast but once it starts........BUTCHER THAT DEER!
4. MOLD.....(ok, don't freak on me)is NOT "bad" on the inside the rib cage. Light mold WILL grow on the inside a properly aged carcass. I dont eat the ribs and the outside rib meat is fine. If you wash it out from the garden hose, you will NOT be able to age it as LONG, but you will be able to age it some. Bacteria goes INSIDE the meat..MOLD grows OUTSIDE where it gets air.
5. If you're mounting it......GET THE CAPE OFF, within a couple hours max, get it to your taxidermist THAT DAY OR FREEZE IT in a couple bags with AIR SQUEEZED OUT,then drape a CHEAP white or clear trash bag over the neck and shoulders. BEWARE!
Many better name "trash" bags have "anti bacterial" ingredients IN THE BAG. READ the label and do NOT use bags with such
. I prefer CHEAP, WHITE 50 gallon bags. Letting the meat cool SOME, like overnight isnt a bad idea before bagging. Bagging REQUIRES getting the heat out NOW by freezer method mentioned above.
6. Ok, more info that you asked about but there is one more thing to do for REALLY good meat. When you package it, get the AIR OUT
of all bags containing meat and wrap it in LINED or COATED FREEZER
PAPER. Brown butcher paper works fine, but the process above will make the meat last YEARS if needed. Freezer burn comes from AIR getting to the meat.
Not all here will agree to my methods but I can tell you that I had hunters driving 70 miles ONE WAY to bring me deer because before I butchered one for them........they and / or their family COULD NOT eat venison and they gave it away!
I shot a 193lb (dressed out) 9 point with a 35 Rem XP100 and used the processes above, hung it 21 DAYS at 34 degrees. Steaks could be cut with a fork after FRYING
Aging also greatly improves the flavor
of the ground meat. Added beef fat should come from a butcher not from grocery store hamburger
that you have NO idea how long it has been sitting around.
Last tip on meat, even though its NOT deer............BEEF is NOT aged like it used to be. Aging a beef a long time creates dehydration because they skin it first
. Up to 10 percent of the WEIGHT is lost without skin. Since sold by the POUND, they cant allow that. Average beef aging now is 7 days, period.
Want a GOOD porterhouse? Buy it, wrap it air tight, cover it in freezer paper and throw it in the frig for another 7-10 days.
I'll be shooting and eating whitetail and with God's help other big game of the deer class. ALL OF THEM will be butchered as above if AT ALL possible.
light bulbGive it a try......once will convince you. MANY people have refused to believe what they were eating WAS venison from my shop.
Feel free to contact me during the process this or any fall. If I don't reply I ain't breathing anymore, lol
Now if you will excuse me.......I'll get off my soapbox. Sorry for my ranting. This is still a sore spot with me resulting from some the MORONS I dealt with.