Rattler

Anyone age their deer to tenderize the meat?

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Shot a nice 8 point on Sunday morning, the 2nd day of rifle season.  The weather has been good for letting it hang inside the game house and it looks to be good until the day prior to Thanksgiving.  That's 11 days of aging in temps between 33 and 45 in my out building.  It's been a long time since I've been able to age my deer for that long.  I really find it enhances the quality of the taste and tenderness of the venison.

Anyone else still hang their deer prior to butchering?  Seems to be a lost art anymore.

 

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I tend to let the bigger/older bucks hang longer.  I hung one in ideal conditions for 2 weeks once.  It was very tender and flavorful when consumed.

Edited by Rattler

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There is a small group on this site who seem to lack an understanding of basic biology and deny that fact that venison is red meat and subject to rigor mortis exactly like beef is.   It does not take long to search on-line and find many sources that reveal the true value of aging deer carcasses prior to processing.  

You are correct that the weather has been close to perfect for this aging process, since November 2 when I hung my first this year.  What happened to "global warming" ? I have not needed to plug in my "deer-fridge" for the last 2 seasons.  I like to age 3.5 year old deer  for 3 weeks, 2.5's 10 days, 1.5's for a week.  One day is plenty for six month olds (my personal favorites).   If the temperature is on the high end or slightly above the preferred 32 - 42 F range, then these times can be shortened.  The temp got up in the mid to upper 40's a couple times during each of my 2.5 and 3.5 year old deer carcass hangs this year, so I shortened to 6 days.   

I prefer to age with the hide on because it keeps the meat from drying out and insulates from daily temperature swings.   I cover the windows of our insulated garage and that makes a great place to hang the deer.   If It is too warm outside over this period, I skin them, cut the back half's off, and hang in the "deer-fridge".  

Aging has little if any effect on the flavor of the meat, but has a big effect on the texture.  You won't notice it as much on the prime cuts like back-straps and tenderloins (inner tenderloins should always be removed before aging or they will dry out), but the improvement on lesser cuts is huge.   The grind especially, will be a lot more enjoyable to eat if the deer was aged before grinding and freezing.     

Now the usual rebuttal will begin .....

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I aged a big boy, prob 3.5 year old last year quartered in a deer fridge for 10 days. I didn’t love it-felt like I was cutting away too much of the darkened meat after the aging processes and didn’t love the “nutty” aroma that aging imparted.
For me, harvesting venison is the freshest meat that I can possibly get my hands on and the smell and look of freshly butchered venison is better than the aged venison. We eat with our nose and eyes as much as our mouths so for me, it gets processed as soon as possible and only hangs in the deer fridge if temps are up and I can’t cut due to scheduling conflicts (aka I am back in the woods for more!)


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I usually don’t have the time to let them hang long but if possible I like to let them hang for 4-7 days


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4 hours ago, crappyice said:

I aged a big boy, prob 3.5 year old last year quartered in a deer fridge for 10 days. I didn’t love it-felt like I was cutting away too much of the darkened meat after the aging processes and didn’t love the “nutty” aroma that aging imparted.
For me, harvesting venison is the freshest meat that I can possibly get my hands on and the smell and look of freshly butchered venison is better than the aged venison. We eat with our nose and eyes as much as our mouths so for me, it gets processed as soon as possible and only hangs in the deer fridge if temps are up and I can’t cut due to scheduling conflicts (aka I am back in the woods for more!)


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A modern, frost-free fridge probably don't work so hot.  That is likely why it dried out.  They stay pretty moist in this old 1950's GE model, but I still prefer the hanging them in the garage, with the hide on, if the outside temp is ok to do it.  The cardboard covered-window in back can be opened at night or closed during the day as necessary, and the concrete slab floor holds the temp quite well.  The thermometer on the wall measures the garage temp, and I stick a meat thermometer into the thick parts on occasion.

1678449537_2019doe1.jpg.f34fa56f29444c589ed5ef1d05668b7b.jpg

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These two came out real good this year with the in-the garage, hide-on, 6-day hang.

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I’ll hang
The doe I got this morning until Wednesday at least, conditions are ideal


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I find a duck's opinion of me is very much influenced by whether or not I have bread

-Mitch Hedberg

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What do you consider "fresh venison"?  If a deer is butchered the same day it's killed, it hasn't had time to let the rigor dissipate.  The toughest deer I ever ate was a yearling button buck that was cooked the day it was killed.  We had to chew that meat a long time to swallow it.  Some amount of aging is absolutely necessary to make venison palatable.

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Leaving the meat in the fridge a week before freezing it has the same effect I’ve found. I let them hang if I can 3-4 days is ideal for me. 

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