"Aging" Your Deer

Discussion in 'Deer Hunting' started by flathead willie, Oct 20, 2006.

  1. flathead willie

    flathead willie Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    3,241
    State:
    Virginia
    I hope everyone here has learned about ageing your venison. The most common mistake a lot of people make is cutting up a deer the day they kill it which makes the meat tuffer and gamier tasting. I worked in meat processing plants for almost 20 years and found thru talking to the USDA guys that it is much better to hang the deer with the hide on for 3-7 days depending on the size of the deer. That lets the enzimes break down the fibers in the meat and tenderizes the venison. I hang mine in the shed if I am going to butcher it my self and not take it to the process plant. If it's too hot outside (above 65 degrees during the day) I quarter it with the hide on and store it in an old refrigerator. It makes for much better venison.
     
  2. laidbck111

    laidbck111 New Member

    when I hunted we hung ours up and put bags of ice in the body cavity. But only for a day, then took it to the processing plant if we were not quartering it up.
     

  3. primitive

    primitive Member

    Messages:
    261
    State:
    Dav. Ia.
    I don't think you will find many butchers that would recomend leaveing the hide on. I have seen deer that were killed in the morning and skinned in the evening and the meat would put off steam after the skin was pulled. Getting the skin off the deer as soon as possible makes for rapid cooling. That is important in my opinion. I have devoured a lot of venison in my life and the sooner they are cooled, cut up, and most important deboned, the better the quality of the meat. I have eaten deer that were hung in the barn for a week and those people didn't think venison tasted very good. On the other hand they couldn't get enough of it when they ate at my venison feeds. Remember, there is a very fine line between cured and rotten. primitive
     
  4. Paraguayguy

    Paraguayguy New Member

    Messages:
    1,650
    State:
    Virginia
    My cousin is a retired butcher 40 years with A & P supermarkets. He told me years ago to skin whatever animals immediately and get in something cold. Dry hanging without the skin as close to freezing as possible but above 32 degrees F. Remove all hairs and fat from the meat. Back before inspectors became over zealous, we hung deer in the A & P meat locker seven days. He was rabid about skinning the deer quickly to get the animal to cool down as quickly as humanly possible.
     
  5. Bigbluefisherman

    Bigbluefisherman New Member

    Messages:
    1,454
    State:
    Missouri
    When we harvest a deer, we take it home as soon as possible. We skin them out and then quarter them and get them in the deer frig. We have two in the basment garage just for deer. We usually let them cool out for 2-3 days and them we cut them up. We have been doing this for as long as I can remember and our deer meat is great. We will stick by that, because it works great for us.
     
  6. bootshowl

    bootshowl New Member

    Messages:
    2,288
    State:
    Indiana, J
    Is it hard to process your own without expensive equipment? For instance I don't have a meat grinder....love the chili etc. I was ten years old when we butchered on the farm & my job was to keep the scalding pots boiling.
    Mostly hogs. Also I wondering what others are paying for processing. It's up close to $70 here in southern IN & not too many places left doing it. Also a question about temp. The weather really has a tendency to swing here. Opening morning last year, got up to 60 degrees, then too weeks later it was freezing. Whats optimal temp for cooling the meat before you run to chech in and processor thinking I need to get this in before it spoils?
     
  7. flathead willie

    flathead willie Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    3,241
    State:
    Virginia
    I was maint. supervisor at a plant that killed and butchered horses and cows and they always hung them for one to two weeks before butchering them, as did the plant that I took my home raised steers to. They removed the hides there because they had humidity controled coolers that were kept at 35 to 42 degrees. At another(chicken) plant I hunted with two of the USDA meat inspectors and we hung the deer in an unused cooler, hide on, 3 days for a small one and 5-7 days for a big one. Deer meat will not spoil as fast as some people think it will. I've never had one go bad and have processed hundreds of them. If they are cooled in a barn or shed, leaving the hide on will also keep flies and other insects from laying eggs in the meat. Exposed meat should be salted or otherwise protected from insects.
     
  8. jtr4324

    jtr4324 New Member

    Messages:
    55
    State:
    virginia
    I agree with Flat Head Willie, I leave the skin on and hang for a few days weather permitting. The meat is moist when I when I cut it up, does not have a hard dried up exterior. I have seen a family down the road hang raw meat on a line and swear its not ready until it falls off the line. They are a little more down home than most.
     
  9. fish-n-fool

    fish-n-fool New Member

    Messages:
    37
    State:
    Ohio
    We have always hung, skined and de-boned all the meat immediately. The meat is stored in the fridge overnight and the next day is spent cutting, grinding, pressure cooking, canning, and wrapping. Never had a single problem and the meat always tastes great. We also make jerky, but have lately stuck to using ground venison for that too.

    We have on 1 occasion not been able to get to all the meat the next day. It was already de-boned, etc. We threw it in the freezer and 2 months later we thawed it, ran it all threw the grinder 2X and made jerky out of it. It was fine as nobody had any ill effects.
     
  10. Kutter

    Kutter New Member

    Messages:
    5,379
    State:
    Arnold, MO
    Willie, do you mind if I add another question to this post? Do you recommend hanging the deer head up or down? We have a "hanging tree" set up at camp that holds as much as 10 deer. It's basically two electric poles with another one across the top. They have always hung the deer head up but processors seem to prefer head down.

    As for the "curing" time, I don't have access to a cooler, so if the weather is lower than 45, I'll let the hang for several days with no problems. If the temps are closer to 60, I'll get them to the processor who I know lets them hang for several days if I couldn't.
     
  11. flathead willie

    flathead willie Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    3,241
    State:
    Virginia
    Head up, head down, doesn't really matter. Processors hang head down becasuse they use hooks in the hind leg tendons. I agree with your "curing time". The body temp. of a deer is 108. Even when the air temp is in the 60's it takes at least 24 hours for the internal body temp to reach ambient temperature. As long as it's not hanging in direct sunlight it will be OK if the air temps are in the lower 50's during the day and cooler then 45 at night. I shot one last night and am headed out to get it this morning. It was down in thew 30's last night so I know it will still be OK.
     
  12. Kutter

    Kutter New Member

    Messages:
    5,379
    State:
    Arnold, MO
    I have a neighbor who used to bug me all the time to get him a deer. He used to hunt, until his wife made him get rid of all guns. His health is better than mine also. Thus, I figured if he wanted a deer, he could get his own. Still, he continued pestering me about it. One year, I shot a nice doe the first morning. The temps were in the mid to upper sixties over the 5 days I hunted. I saved that one doe just for him (he butchered the doe himself). After hanging 5 days in those temps, it was, ah, shall we say "ripe". He has never asked me again to get him a deer. LOL
     
  13. gardengrz

    gardengrz New Member

    Messages:
    899
    State:
    wakeman,ohio
    cut up, wraped and in the freezer is the best way to go . hangin it for any time is only for if you have to because of where your at.that meat will be perfect if froze right away,done it alot and never have had any problems.:tounge_out:
     
  14. hookeye

    hookeye New Member

    Messages:
    162
    State:
    Kentucky
    I am no expert on this subject by no means but, here goes.

    I prefer to allow the animal to hang for several days up to two weeks weather permitting. This is what I have learned about the process. The main concern for hanging any game or domestic animal for consumption is bacteria growth. Harmful bacterium begins to grow at 52 degrees so anything below is considered a safe bet. As for leaving the hide on, consider this; leaving the hide in tact on the animal protects it from airborne dirt, germs, and bacteria as well as common flies(Which by the way although sluggish are still able to blow the meat at 50 degrees). So even though the cavity is open to allow for cooling no harm can come to the meat which is still covered by the hide.
     
  15. Whistler

    Whistler Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    3,084
    State:
    TN
  16. Coyote1

    Coyote1 New Member

    Messages:
    640
    State:
    Missouri
    I know when I was growing up in the hills of Western Kentucky we had one small freezer.
    We would skin the deer out, hide off as soon as possible because it was easier to get off while the meat was still warm and then wrapped the exposed meat in cheesecloth/burlap but if the temperatures stayed below freezing we never had too much trouble with the flies.
    If the weather was colder we left it hang out longer than if it was much warmer like into the 50's-60's.
    But we always let the heat get out of the meat because one year a cousin of mine {distant cousin, thankfully!} almost ruined the freezer he had just bought! He filled it full of ''hot'' meat! The poor freezer kept running, and running, and the sides actually got quite warm! Actually, we turned off the heat and put fans on the freezer! Slept well that night too!:smile2:
    One other thing we always did was to make sure all the fat was off the meat too! If I remember correctly, {this was 40 or so years ago!] the local butcher told us that if the fat was left on it there would be a good chance that it would "Sour" the meat.
    The one other thing I was taught was to never, NEVER, bust the bladder or "gut", while skinning one out!!
    I can tell you this much. I've never lost the taste for good venison Shis-Q-Bobs and my wife; Raven makes ones that will make you drool!!:big_smile:
    Well, thats my "Two Cents" worth.
    Cordially,
    Coyote1
    [[[[[End of Post]]]]]
     
  17. Big Eli

    Big Eli New Member

    Messages:
    185
    State:
    Ohio, Clifton
    Wow lots of input and even more great info!!

    Thanks Whistler, the links taught me things I didn't know.

    I've been butchering my own deer since 1989 after I took my first into a proseser and watched them cut it in quaters with a electric chain saw (no kidding). There was chunks of meat flying everywhere!!!! Most prosesers do not bone out the meat witch ruins it post haste as well.

    I wish I could allways hang my deer but here in Ohio the weather does not allways cooperate. I think hanging makes it taste better, makes it easyer to handle and the sliver skin will tear off 100 times better. Not to mention hanging it head down for days lets the blood bleed out of the meat.
     
  18. derbycitycatman

    derbycitycatman Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    5,299
    State:
    Kentucky
    Name:
    your first name
    This is how I do my deer.

    I dont even field dress mine anymore, just hang em up, skin em and debone em. Usually takes about an hour. I throw all the meat in a cooler than fill with water and salt. I change out the water and salt about twice a day and leave like that for 2-3 days. If its hot out you can add ice when needed or put in the fridge. You can always grab a piece when you want and cut it up when you want. Just filled the dehydrator to make jerky and put up two bags of backstrap steaks. I have the rest marinating for the next batch of jerky and probably two bags of steak.