How long wiil you age before cutting?

Left Hand Dave

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http://www.longrangehunting.com/forums/f62/ageing-your-venison-table-fare-25793/

I started that thread in 2007, and from some input from others I now age longer than the usual 5-7 days that I used to.

If I bone out an elk in CO it gets cooled that night to the point where it starts to freeze, then stowed in coolers that are closed during the day and opened at night. 9-10 days minimum.

If the conditions are right un-skinned deer have gone up to 19 days, since this 2007 thread. I have never lost a carcass to spoilage.

In 2012 I shot two crop damage does, had them at the local meat locker cooler in 1 hour, he cut and froze them in 2 days.

That was the toughest venison I have ate in 10 years, nothing changed in the handling of those deer other than they were not aged.

I cut my venison with a fork, if you use a knife, IMHO you didn't handle your venison properly.
Jim,
Do you add ice to the coolers of just rely on the cooler holding in the cold from the night?
Do you think adding ice which eventually turns to water and draining that off adding more ice will negatively affect the meat?

Dave
 

HeadedWest

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I can understand why someone would age a beef because the fat is flavorful from the feeding methods and the meat is properly marbled, however game animals have fat that goes rancid quickly, and connective tissue and glands that impart a terrible flavor to the meat the longer you leave it in there. THE worst game meat I have ever eaten has been "properly" aged. Just a personal opinion, but I would opt to get the skin off the animal right away, get it quartered out and cooled right away, and butcher it myself before the meat even had a dried "skin" to it. Tenderness for me is a reflection of how long you cook it. It needs to be medium rare to rare and it will be tender and flavorful. Flavor has to do with several things:
1. What the animal eats
2. How old the animal is
3. How much stress the animal was under before it died
4. Lastly and most important: How quickly you got it cooled off and clean after the shot and got the hide, fat, and connective tissue removed from it.

People insist upon putting pork or beef fat in with ground game as well, personally I like to add any fresh fat right before cooking because fat goes rancid and freezer burns before whole muscle protein.

I've completed the experiment before and it is easy to do at home. Age one hind quarter in the method you describe and butcher one hind quarter right away...I tried it on three different occasions, and the un-aged meat was by far better flavored and less "gamey" IMO, and both were very tender because they were cut and cooked properly.
Pretty agreeable
 

HeadedWest

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Years back we always gutted our elk then brought our horses in. At that time we would skin and quarter. A lot of times over night would occur. I know a guy that went on a high end guided hunt. They got an awesome bull, very successful for them. At the end of the hunt their guide was fired as soon as the owner found out he didn't skin my friends elk as soon as it was dead. He gutted it and retreived it the next morning. Explanation was the hide and glands revert back to the meat and the blood can't cool quick enough. Since then we started skinning our elk asap. Sure enough most of thestrong elk flavor nobody liked before was gone. If I grind 5-10% beef fat into my burger I can feed it to anyone and they never ask what it is. Just think its beef. Now my wife (next week she'll be my ex-wife) and kids don't like the taste of beef hamburger.
Funny thing is my brother in law fed us some of his elk that was not skinned early and my family refused to eat it. I have processed my elk between 2 and 16 days and could not tell as big of difference as removing the hide.
Just my experience.
To help with strong game taste in elk steaks soak 12-24 hours in evaporated milk. It helps.
At least it doesn't (food for thought)'t sound like the Elk had to do anything with the confrontation .
 

MachV

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Casper Wy
Sometimes its still quivering....
Droppem, get pics if i remember, bonem and get the meat on ice. Cutting,grinding and vacume seal ASAP
Couple of reasons for this
#1 easier to get back to truck/house
#2 cleaner as i only have trimmings to dispose of
#3 dont have a good place to consistently age them
#4 less lose and easier to trim out
#5 meat cools faster/surer & glands are removed
 

Wallrat

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Jun 21, 2020
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Logan, MT
Years back we always gutted our elk then brought our horses in. At that time we would skin and quarter. A lot of times over night would occur. I know a guy that went on a high end guided hunt. They got an awesome bull, very successful for them. At the end of the hunt their guide was fired as soon as the owner found out he didn't skin my friends elk as soon as it was dead. He gutted it and retreived it the next morning. Explanation was the hide and glands revert back to the meat and the blood can't cool quick enough. Since then we started skinning our elk asap. Sure enough most of thestrong elk flavor nobody liked before was gone. If I grind 5-10% beef fat into my burger I can feed it to anyone and they never ask what it is. Just think its beef. Now my wife (next week she'll be my ex-wife) and kids don't like the taste of beef hamburger.
Funny thing is my brother in law fed us some of his elk that was not skinned early and my family refused to eat it. I have processed my elk between 2 and 16 days and could not tell as big of difference as removing the hide.
Just my experience.
To help with strong game taste in elk steaks soak 12-24 hours in evaporated milk. It helps.
Umm. I’ve successfully completed two marriages.
 

26Reload

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SE Idaho
The whole concept of aging beef vs wild game is lost here....
Cattle are slow creatures...their muscles are marblelized because they get 'very little use'.....
Wildgame are 'athletes'.....no time for fats to gather between those muscles....
The breakdown of muscle tissue consist of the of fluids that are contained within the muscles themselves.....riboflavin.....you will see it as the red coloring in the muscles....the bigger and more used muscles have more riboflavin....
Cutting up a fresh taken animal and freezing it, does not allow those muscles to 'drain'......
If you're grinding it all into burger or sausages it doesn't matter much....
I try to let mine 'drain' as long as possible...weather permitting...
But I also like to wipe the meat with apple cider vinegar often...even right before I cut and wrap it....

And when I used to hunt elk...i never used beef fat.....
But I used smoked bacon....at 1# of bacon to 10# of meat.....
Keeps the meat at about 90-95% fat free....smells really good while cooking..and tastes great.....
 
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Caveman0101

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Mar 3, 2008
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Colorado
Get the hide off and the meat on ice as fast as possible, pack the meat: layer of ice, layer of meat, layer of ice and so on in a cooler. Tilt the cooler toward the drain plug, leave the plug out, keep the top layer of ice packed to the rim, 5-7 days later process the meat, there will be no strong taste even if it's a big old stinking rutting bull. I cut my burger meat into 1" cubes and vacuum seal them in the amounts I want to grind with fat to make hamburger, I'll then pull it out, mix with fat and grind when I want burger, I never grind it with fat then freeze it, as it only takes a few weeks before it will start tasting old, but I can pull out year-old cubes and grind them with fresh fat and you'll never know the difference.
 

Muddyboots

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Michigan
I was wondering how long others age before processing.
I maybe age a day or two before I cut. 😂 I prefer to process within 36-48 hours just after rigor relaxes. All depending upon temps since I do not have cooler but I do wrap with heat reflective tarp with bags of ice stuffed in body and on top of hindquarters. Sealed somewhat and does keep game cool enough in 40's. Bungees work wonders wrapping game in this portable "cooler".
 

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