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How to care for elk-after packing out??
So this is going to be my first year bowhunting elk...and would love some advice. You found the elk, shot it, killed it, quartered it up and now you just got home with 4-5 bags of meat, on bones etc. I prefer to butcher my own, and where i live in Oregon, it will not get cold enough to "hang" or cure like you would with a deer, or somewhere colder. SO... What do you guys do? 1)butcher all the meat, then freeze? 2) drop off at a freezer to hang?
I've heard people who hang their meat for a week, and others that don't but always in reference to deer. Will it matter with elk?
Thanks a lot guys (and gals) I appreciate it, and best wished with your hunting!
I've never had an elk hang more than two days before cut, wrap, and freezing and it's always been good. I really don't think it benefits much from hanging.
Cool it as soon as possible, let it sit and firm up at least overnight, and then cut, wrap, and freeze is how I handle it.
I've never cut and wrapped one until it's hung for at least a week. Some have hung for nearly three, but I can always count on colder weather.
As long as you cool it out quickly and keep it clean, the hang time is pretty much a matter of preferrence.
The Old Sarge
I get it cut up as soon as I can. I dont hang for weeks. Overnight or couple days at the longest.
So you guys that hang it for a couple days...do you just hang up the bags of the quartered legs, shoulders, backstrap etc???
I worry about the meat going bad, hanging it in my garage for two or three days in 70 + degree weather (60's at night) Thanks fellas.
I don't think there is enough fat in elk meat to benefit from aging....so no reason to hang other than to have time to do it right.
I like to clean it real well...... trim.....dry.....then cut into steaks and such and wrap and freeze.
its too hot in oregon to leave it 'hang'. if you have or can purchase an old fridge, let it sit in it for a week.
the amount of fat has nothing to do with letting it sit.
I have cut, wrapped, and froze meat the same day that I shot the elk in hot weather and it was great. Since then, I have a walk-in cooler in my shop that I use to hang the meat for a week or so. I have not noticed much difference between the ones that hung vs. the ones that were cut up right away. Aging meat has more to do with tenderness and less to do with taste and some elk meat will be tough no matter what you do.
I take mine to a butcher shop to hang for a couple of days. That gives me time to get stuff ready and put away, before I butcher my elk. He charges 5 bucks a day to hang. Besides it cant hurt to age it a little.
I'm doing what crunchy says, found a walk in cooler to store it in for a few days.
Some people suggested regulating the temps in a chest freezer by unplugging it and plugging it in, and keeping it around 40 deg F.
Brian, that's exactly what I do in the rare years the weather is too warm.
Elk is 90-95% lean and does not benefit from aging like beef does. It will not improve the tenderness or flavor. Beef is able to age because of the amount of fat that protects the meat at temperatures above freezing. The less fat, the faster it breaks down. Most literature on butchering game will explain this in detail. I'd recommend getting it cool as fast as possible after the kill and then getting it butchered as soon as you can.
quite ineresting comments regarding haning meat because of the fat on this thread.
It's been my understanding from my reading over the 30+ years that I've been hunting, that you hang meat to drain all the fluids, like blood and other body fluids. The tenderization comes from getting rid of those fluids and the reactions of the enzymes on the meat which tenderize it. Farmers and butchers in the area I grew up in back in Vt. also told me aging meat was for gettin rid of the body fluids and for giving the enzymes remaining time to tenderize the meat. they never mentioned anything regarding taste on the wild game unless they were saying get all the fat off the game when packaging unless you want foul tasting meat because in the aging process the fat turns rancid which fouls the taste of the meat. They never have said the fat helps tenderize the meat.
any butchers out there who might be able to clarify this?
Aging can affect flavor if you let it hang long enough. I know several guys who have told me about hanging wild game for two or three weeks (in October) until a rind of mold grows on the outside. They say that you cut the mold off and have the tastiest elk you could ever dream of. I have never tried it myself, but more power to you if you want to try.