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Joined: 08/29/2007
Posts: 3
Storage Help!

I am a neophyte hunter and sad to say I lost my first deer. :( You can say I haven't tasted my success yet. Anyway, I've heard others say that aging the deer tastes better than simply keeping it frozen. What's the difference? I also would like to know what do you prefer to do to store your deer. What do you use to keep it cold and what is the temperature that you maintain?

saskie's picture
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Location: West Carleton, Ottawa, Canada
Joined: 12/23/2002
Posts: 1264
Storage Help!

I get it to a professional butcher as soon as I can, but I'm lucky to know one who is licenced and willing to process wild game. I just dress it, snap a couple photos and then it's hanging in his cooler within 6 hours. Three days later it's cut, wrapped and frozen. No complaints about the meat so far...

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Location: Potlatch, Idaho
Joined: 12/14/2005
Posts: 31
Storage Help!

I cut up my own deer and elk. I usually let them hang for about 2 to 3 days then cut them up.. Normally when they are hanging it gets into the 30 at night in my garage.

Don Fischer's picture
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Location: Antelope, Ore
Joined: 03/24/2005
Posts: 3173
Storage Help!

I've always butchered my own. Here it's to hot to let them hang for long so what I do is quarter and put all the meat in an extra fridge in the barn for a week. That fridge left home when my wife did. Meat is hung and shipped at 28 degrees. Also when meat is butchered, it's best to let the body heat out before adding any cold if you can. If you force the heat out with cold, I was told the meat seizes up and is a bit tuffer. Meat aged in a fridge for a week gets good and cold and is wonderful for cutting up. Warm meat flops around in comparison.

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Joined: 08/29/2007
Posts: 3
Storage Help!
Don Fischer wrote:
Also when meat is butchered, it's best to let the body heat out before adding any cold if you can. If you force the heat out with cold, I was told the meat seizes up and is a bit tuffer.

This is good info. I really appreciate it.

Thanks for all your insights guys. Just keep it coming! Yes

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Location: Summit, IL
Joined: 10/22/2006
Posts: 706
Storage Help!

Another trick to aging meat if you dont have access to a cooler is this... Go ahead and butcher it up and package it up in portions that you will use, i.e. if you have a family of 4 them package 4 steaks up and so on like that. Go ahead and freeze it. Now this does require planning your meals so if thats a problem then this wont work. Now say you want to have a few steaks for dinner on wed. then the previous saturday take out a package of steaks and let them thaw. Then take a paper towl and put it on a plate, put on the steaks, then a paper towel on top. Put this in the bottom of your fridge and let them sit. There will be a slight "crust" possibly on them but thats ok. What aging is, is the meat molocules (spelling wrong I think but Im tired and aint lookin it up) breaking down and tenderizing the meat. The "blood" that you will see in the plate is actually where these molocules have broken down. This method is very popular in the southern states where it doesnt get below 40 untill dang near after hunting season is over with. Hope this helps.

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Location: Kingston, MI
Joined: 01/16/2007
Posts: 648
Storage Help!

I always butcher my own animals.

I let them hang for about a week if I can. However, if it's too warm I take care of them just like Don Fischer by quartering them up and letting them age in the refrigerator.

Again, just like Don, I let the body heat out before placing it in the refrigerator.

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Joined: 08/29/2007
Posts: 3
Storage Help!

I'm into DIY things and I'm thinking of making a walk-in cooler at home using a device that you attach to your air conditioner. I'd like to know first if anybody here has tried it already. Do you think it's a good idea? I won't pursue having a walk-in cooler if it's going to burn a hole in my pocket.

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Location: Antelope, Ore
Joined: 03/24/2005
Posts: 3173
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Welcome aboard Joe. I've though a number of times about a walkin cooler. But I keep being told an air conditioner unit won't do it. If this thing your talking about will get it down to 40 degrees, it would probably work.

As for temps, beef and lamb are shipped at between 28 and 34 degrees. I'd think 40 would work fine. Just remember to hant the animal about an hour first and get the body heat out.

What are you thinking about for a cooler room? I'd been thinking a 8'x12' room built with 2x6 walls and insluted with foam. Probably should have the same type door; 2x6 w/foam insulation but I'd bet 2x4 would work. I put a 2x6 door on a fruit room for a guy and it was really heavy.

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Location: Summit, IL
Joined: 10/22/2006
Posts: 706
Storage Help!

Would be best to line the walls with some sort of metel as well for the reflective results. Also makes cleanup a lot easier.

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Joined: 11/15/2002
Posts: 157
Storage Help!

Fresh is best.
I never let them hang any longer than it takes to quarter them and put them in a cooler.

I let them age in the ice.
Just letting them hang is not smart IMO, unless it is below freezing all the time and not in the sun.

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