Sitka Mountain Gear
Wet age?
Elk
Contributors to this thread:
Ucsdryder 29-Aug-20
Scar Finga 29-Aug-20
Ccity65 29-Aug-20
Ucsdryder 29-Aug-20
Lost Arra 29-Aug-20
Ucsdryder 29-Aug-20
Buffalo1 29-Aug-20
Dale06 29-Aug-20
butcherboy 29-Aug-20
Sivart 30-Aug-20
Trial153 30-Aug-20
Ucsdryder 30-Aug-20
Bloodtrail 30-Aug-20
Scar Finga 30-Aug-20
orionsbrother 30-Aug-20
Grey Ghost 30-Aug-20
Ccity65 30-Aug-20
Huntskifishcook 30-Aug-20
WV Mountaineer 30-Aug-20
butcherboy 30-Aug-20
TD 31-Aug-20
JSW 31-Aug-20
From: Ucsdryder
29-Aug-20
I listened to a podcast about wet aging meat. The guy took a large cooler and filled it with ice. Worked the quarter down into the ice, ball joint down. He left it 5-7 days with the drain plug open, adding ice as needed. He said he wouldn’t worry about trimming the “gray meat” and it was the most tender, delicious meat he’d ever had. Anybody have any experience doing this?

From: Scar Finga
29-Aug-20
What is the first thing a processor does when you bring meat to them??? Wash It!! Then I believe they freeze it! Then thaw it out, process it, probably wash a little more, package it then refreeze it!

I have had deer and elk meet in coolers with water and ice for 5-7 days with no issues at all. No spoilage and no weird taste. I do drain the water once every day or two and add ice as needed.

Just my opinion, but I see no problem with it at all!

From: Ccity65
29-Aug-20
I have "aged" my game meat for many years in a cooler full of ice. I've always wanted a walk in cooler, and now that I'm staring down the barrel of retirement I made just get it built. However, for years we have put game bags full of meat in coolers and filled w ice. We drain off the melt once a day or so and add ice as needed. I've never had a bad piece of game..

From: Ucsdryder
29-Aug-20
Ccity, thanks! Do you think it works as well as hanging? Not as well? Better?

From: Lost Arra
29-Aug-20

Lost Arra's Link
Listen to this podcast. Getting the best meat from your animal isn't too tough, pun intended. Just remember: all game animals aren't Prime or even Choice so your method may be good but the meat still so-so.

From: Ucsdryder
29-Aug-20
I listened to a podcast about wet aging meat. The guy took a large cooler and filled it with ice. Worked the quarter down into the ice, ball joint down. He left it 5-7 days with the drain plug open, adding ice as needed. He said he wouldn’t worry about trimming the “gray meat” and it was the most tender, delicious meat he’d ever had. Anybody have any experience doing this?

From: Buffalo1
29-Aug-20
I normally keep my deer on ice for about 5 days before deboning, processing or carrying to a processor.

From: Dale06
29-Aug-20
I had access to beef tenderloins from of the major beef slaughterhouses in the USA. I bought beef tenderloin and NY strips. They came in real heavy sealed plastic bags. There was quite a bit of juice/blood in the bag with the meat. I was told to keep them in the fridge for 4-6 weeks. Then take it out, cut it into serving pieces and freeze or cook it. I’d did just that and it was outstanding. I did this many times.

From: butcherboy
29-Aug-20
A true wet age is sealing the meat in a vacuum bag and then letting it age in its own “juices.” I prefer a traditional dry age. I vacuum seal all the backstraps and other loose meat on wild game and then hang it in a bag with the quarters. It will be 2-3 weeks before I see that animal again as it moves forward to the other end of the meat rail. It has a different color and smell than dry aged meat.

As for processor’s washing the carcass and then freezing it or quarters, thawing, processing, and then refreezing is a little absurd. We usually don’t wash WG carcasses. It spreads the dirt and other contamination everywhere. Leave it on and trim it off while processing. We don’t freeze the quarters to process later. Takes up too much valuable space in the freezer not to mention the time it takes to thaw. They get checked in, tagged, weighed and in the cooler they go until it comes time to process it.

From: Sivart
30-Aug-20
I've been doing this for years. Learned it from my Dad. Soak the meat in ice for 3-7 days. Add ice as needed. Let melted ice drain. Do this for all our wild game, and makes a world of diff..

From: Trial153
30-Aug-20
No but have wet aged in kryvac for up to two months, works well and way less waste than dry aging

From: Ucsdryder
30-Aug-20
Thanks guys! I usually grind everything but steaks. I think I’ll try it with one hind quarter and hopefully get some good roasts and steaks. I’ll report back down the road.

From: Bloodtrail
30-Aug-20
I have a friend who puts deer quarters on a cooler and adds ice over 7-10 days with the drain plug open so it never soaks in water and says all the blood drains out and it’s the best meat.

I think I will try it this year, because I want my venison to taste better.

From: Scar Finga
30-Aug-20
Butcherboy,

Thanks for clearing that up for me... I wasn't sure.

I do know that my processor washes the meat down before hanging to eliminate any dirt, or other contamination... I wasn't sure about the rest.

30-Aug-20
I hunt Southern IL and do this every hunt. I open the drain, put the opposite end of the cooler on some scrap wood or rocks to elevate it and aid draining, and add ice daily, filling it completely with ice. I drape a packing blanket over the cooler and then drape a waterproof tarp over that and make sure that it’s in the shade. Works great. Ice loss is minimal after the first two days.

From: Grey Ghost
30-Aug-20
Umm, I treat my wild game just like the best angus beef. I age the meat cold (40-50 degrees is best) for at least 5 days. Then process it. You can do that several ways including soaking it a cooler with ice, or a cold spring in the woods.

Matt

From: Ccity65
30-Aug-20
UCSdryder, honestly, I never have hung any of my wild game. Way back, we would bone out the animal and put the pieces into game bags and put them into a fridge(s). We put the bags into sheet pans to catch any drips We always made sure to wrap the bag tight so no air got to the meat and we never would get that dried out crust that we always discarded.

30-Aug-20
I've always wet aged the way butcherboy mentioned. Due to space restrictions I have no where to hang a carcass. The meat is butchered that day or the day after, vaccuum sealed and then it sits in my fridge for atleast a week before being frozen. Meat is always tender and mild.

30-Aug-20
I’ve used the ice truck a bunch in crop damage permits and early bow season kills. It works very well.

From: butcherboy
30-Aug-20
I take that back about not washing WG carcasses. I do wash them but only the fresh ones I skin. If they have had the hide off for a few hours and have a little dry crust on them I don't wash them. It will spread any dirt or stomach matter into every crease it can find.

From: TD
31-Aug-20
Butcherboy nailed it.

Pretty much everything you get at the store is "wet aged". i.e. packaged while still "wet" (they don't actually ADD any moisture, but I've heard rumors as it adds a bit of weight to the sale) If you're really into the aging thing, I don't think you can wet age for a long time like you can get away with dry aging. 5 days, a week is pretty easy, more if you really care for it, but not very long in the aging game really.

I've done a bunch of ice chest/cooler aging and IMO don't care for the meat being soaked in water. It may or may not effect taste much but I just don't care for gray meat. I made some stainless racks for my cooler that kept the meat up off the bottom and let the cooler drain. I'd drain it a couple times a day, if you leave the plug off the cold air will drain out along with the water, the upper corners can actually get too warm if the ice gets a bit low. May be different where you are but here it's always in the 80's and 90s, gotta stay on it. Some folks/places the cooler may be what keeps the meat FROM freezing. I liked using a bit of rock salt in between layers of meat when I stacked it on the racks, I think it helps keep the meat from getting funky longer. I'd put some plastic sheet on top hanging down the sides of the meat "stack" and then dump my ice over that. Meat was always "wet" but rarely soaking in water or in constant contact with it. Worked really well and I could get a decent amount of time out of that.

Much prefer dry aged. Bought a used fridge cheap some time ago for dedicated aging meat and when I knock something down it gets plugged in, cools down real fast, a few hours. When it gets down to temps the meat come out of the ice chest, patted dry and laid out in 4" and 6" deep stainless pans. If I want it more "wet" I put a lid on it and the meat doesn't really "skin". If true dry aged I leave the lids off. Drain the juice off and turn the meat every day till it gets a skin, at which point it pretty much stops draining juice. The juice is what you really have to watch as it will be the first to sour. Which tells you a little bit about wet aging too. Great system, clean, easy, no messing with ice. But the ice chest system worked well too, used it for many years before the dedicated "reach in" cooler.....

From: JSW
31-Aug-20
Almost every animal I've shot in the past 30+ years has been aged in a cooler with ice. I break down the carcass and if it's an elk or larger it's completely deboned since it has been packed out on my back. I keep lots of ice at the truck and cool it down ASAP.

I keep the water drained and add ice as needed. After the first couple of days, if there is ice in the cooler, the meat is at about 35 degrees and stays that cold until the ice is melted. That's a little cool for proper aging but when most of your hunting is done in August and September it's really the only option I have. If it's cold enough outside, I will hang it in the shade for a week or so using a meat thermometer to monitor the temp. I do prefer dry aging but that only works from mid November on.

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