GreenHunter

How to handle deer meat in fridge?

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Hi all

 

I’m new to the forum and hunting in general...started bow shooting last year and took my first deer this past Sunday....got her quartered in the field and then I took the meat home and broke everything down into the smaller cuts the best I could for a first timer on his own.

 

i wish I did more research on how to better care for the meat because I googled around quick and my research led me to “dry aging” and that led me to just put my meat right in the fridge uncovered.....I have a few wire racks and I just stacked them on top of each other....

 

now my my question is....the meat on the top rack seems to be hardenjng on the outside and it looks like red dried up meat....like it’s sort of scabbing on the outside of it....

 

now when I lift up the top rack the meat that’s on the lower racks seem a much lighter color and not as scabbed.

 

did I ruin my meat by putting it in the fridge stacked? Or will I be able to cut a bunch away and salvage what’s underneath that weird layer that’s forming on top?

 

Thanks in advance!

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I cut mine up making sure its as clean as it can be while cutting it up. Mainly keeping hair off it.  And i put my cuts in a vacuum sealer.  I dont rinse hair off until its thawed out to cook because i have a fear of rinsing it and getting freezer burnt.  If i can hang it for a week i will. But other wise on warm days its cut up and in the freezer.

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You can just trim that hard stuff off. Since you shot her on Sunday, you should start thinking about preparing the meat for the freezer. Are you going to do some ground meat for burgers? Some cutlets from the back straps? A small roast for the crock pot? 

Congratulations on the doe! And welcome to the forum!

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Thanks for the fast replies! 

 

I was initially planning on “dry aging” it for 7 days then cleaning it up and wrapping in butcher paper for the freezer.

 

And grampy...I was gonna pan fry the backstraps and then I assumed the rest was gonna be good stew meat....I honestly didn’t think I’d get a deer my first time out for the year so I didn’t prepare as I really should have....now I know how serious it is to have a thought out plan for after the kill.

 

am I correct in assuming I can cook basically any cut of deer in a slow cooker/croc pot w vegetables for stews? Or are some cuts very specific?

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Trick to dry aging is to make sure there is good air flow.  The dry crusting is actually good.  If you do intend to dry age, flip the meat every day till it's nicely crusted all around.  I've dried aged a chunk of thigh meat for 7 days.  Flipping it every day.  At the end, I trimmed off the crust and slapped it on a grill.  The end result was super tender.  I didn't even need a knife.  I used my fingers to break off the chucks of cooked steak and ate it with no utensils.

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Brake down the hinds into the three main muscles. Sirloin, top and bottom round and cut steaks, or use as roasts. Backstraps get frozen in 6" sections. This way I can butterfly and stuff, or slice into cutlets after thawing. 

I never let my deer age.  I've tried it both ways and just can't taste any difference. 

Also, why did you quarter it in the field? Not that anything is wrong with that. Most drag em out and skin at home. Easier to quarter when hanging too. 

Congrats on the doe. 

Edited by mowin
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I would suggest going to two websites for lots of great information related to butchering and preserving, and also for using the different cuts for different recipes. 

Butchering Grant Woods www.Growingdeer.tv (also lots of food plot videos)

Cooking:  Hank Shaw www.Honest-Food.net. 

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31 minutes ago, mowin said:

Brake down the hinds into the three main muscles. Sirloin, top and bottom round and cut steaks, or use as roasts. Backstraps get frozen in 6" sections. This way I can butterfly and stuff, or slice into cutlets after thawing. 

I never let my deer age.  I've tried it both ways and just can't taste any difference. 

Also, why did you quarter it in the field? Not that anything is wrong with that. Most drag em out and skin at home. Easier to quarter when hanging too. 

Congrats on the doe. 

Suffolk county has a lot of ticks and I’ve heard horror stories of people bringing infested deer to their backyard and their dogs getting it etc.....I did hang the deer in the woods and I agree....quartering it that way wasn’t too bad

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2 minutes ago, Otto said:

I would suggest going to two websites for lots of great information related to butchering and preserving, and also for using the different cuts for different recipes. 

Butchering Grant Woods www.Growingdeer.tv (also lots of food plot videos)

Cooking:  Hank Shaw www.Honest-Food.net. 

Thank you Otto! I’ll check those out 

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With any red meat, aging is good because it allows rigor-mortis to break down.  The flavor is not affected, but the texture is and the meat become a lot more tender.  The time required for aging depends mostly on the age of the deer.   Younger deer require less time.   6 month old deer require very little aging and can usually be processed and froze on the day they are killed, and the meat will still be extremely tender.   1.5 year old deer take about a week, 2-1/2 year olds about 10 days, and 3-1/2 year olds and older about 2 weeks.

I prefer aging the carcasses by hanging in my insulated garage, with the hides on, but to do that, the outside temperature has to be in the 30's and 40s, throughout the aging period.  That seldom happens during early archery season.   This is where an old refrigerator works wonders.  

My "deer-fridge" is an old GE, non frost-free model, from the 1950's.   All the racks are removed and there are hooks on the top.  I skin the deer, then cut the carcass in half length-wise, at the back of the rib-cage.   I lay the front half on the bottom of the fridge, supported by the neck, and hang the back legs, from the hooks on top, from the tendons.   This allows air to move around the sections (especially the "prime cuts"), except for the end of the neck on the bottom, and part of the rib cage which is resting on the side.  Those parts turn purple and ugly and I just trim that away when processing.

Lots of hunters skip the aging process and claim no ill-effects, however, a little internet research will quickly reveal that venison is indeed red meat, and as such, is subject to rigor-mortis and will benefit from aging exactly for the same reason that beef does.    Properly aged venison, is extremely difficult to tell apart from fine beef, and in most cases, those who eat it will not have a clue that it is not beef.   Even the ground meat benefits from proper aging.   

  

  

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43 minutes ago, GreenHunter said:

Suffolk county has a lot of ticks and I’ve heard horror stories of people bringing infested deer to their backyard and their dogs getting it etc.....I did hang the deer in the woods and I agree....quartering it that way wasn’t too bad

Believe me, I know about ticks.  I'm in Columbia county.  We're infested with them.  I hang my deer and spray the hide with Sawyer tic repellent.  I take great care not to get it onto the meat.  I skin ASAP, and place hide in a plastic bag and seal it tight.  

The skinned carcass is tick free.  

 

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congrats on the deer!   It is def a chore to butcher them but a satisfying one.  To know you did it yourself.   The muscles will pretty much show you where to cut just follow the separations there.  There is silverskin on a lot of meat and to enjoy it the best take that off with a fillet knife.  The hinds and backstraps along the backbone are your best meat and make great steaks.  Front shoulders are usually a lot of good stew meat.  Good luck.  

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I have an old fridge left unplugged all year until deer start dropping- then quarters get hung for a few days(3-6 depending on my butchering time). I have never “aged” meat in smaller portions like it sounds like you are trying...seems like it would be a lot of double trimming-once when butchering and once before packing.

This guy is good and often my guide





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No, you didn't actually "ruin" anything, but an inedible crust on the outside of the meat muscles is one of the downsides to dry-aging any kind of meat. I don't have a ton of experience dry-aging venison but have worked with dry-aged beef a lot in the past. I'm sure I'll get arguments, but dry-aging venison doesn't seem worth the effort: yield if you ask me, plus the meat will develop a stronger "deer" taste the longer it ages (not a fan). I usually let a quartered deer sit in the frig a few days covered with freezer paper before finishing for the freezer.

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10 hours ago, Uncle Nicky said:

No, you didn't actually "ruin" anything, but an inedible crust on the outside of the meat muscles is one of the downsides to dry-aging any kind of meat. I don't have a ton of experience dry-aging venison but have worked with dry-aged beef a lot in the past. I'm sure I'll get arguments, but dry-aging venison doesn't seem worth the effort: yield if you ask me, plus the meat will develop a stronger "deer" taste the longer it ages (not a fan). I usually let a quartered deer sit in the frig a few days covered with freezer paper before finishing for the freezer.

Yea now I know what I’ll do for next time...I’ll leave it quartered in bigger whole pieces while it dry ages...if I go that route

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15 minutes ago, Hock3y24 said:

don't bother with dry aging, cut it up, seal it and freeze it. Unless its an old buck i never notice a difference. 

X2.is all i do aswell

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Another option to do some aging if you feel you really need to is get a vacuum sealer. process all the meat as soon as you can and then allow the sealed bags to "age" in the fridge. You will have no loss from the dry aging process and once you hit your timeline, simply toss them in the freezer. The breakdown of the tissue is still happening in the bags and it is happening at a very controlled temp so you don't have to worry about warm weather. 

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I recently boned out a deer. I keep it in the fridge in containers with drains u till I can get to it within that week. Then I vac seal it and put it in freezerahortly after. Dry aging is too much waste with a deer being smaller cuts. Venison is so lean you dont have to age it longer than 4-7 days.

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Hi all
 
I’m new to the forum and hunting in general...started bow shooting last year and took my first deer this past Sunday....got her quartered in the field and then I took the meat home and broke everything down into the smaller cuts the best I could for a first timer on his own.
 
i wish I did more research on how to better care for the meat because I googled around quick and my research led me to “dry aging” and that led me to just put my meat right in the fridge uncovered.....I have a few wire racks and I just stacked them on top of each other....
 
now my my question is....the meat on the top rack seems to be hardenjng on the outside and it looks like red dried up meat....like it’s sort of scabbing on the outside of it....
 
now when I lift up the top rack the meat that’s on the lower racks seem a much lighter color and not as scabbed.
 
did I ruin my meat by putting it in the fridge stacked? Or will I be able to cut a bunch away and salvage what’s underneath that weird layer that’s forming on top?
 
Thanks in advance!

I’m sure it’s fine but no reason to dry age at home just cut and package


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