Summit Treestands
You don't age your venison?
Whitetail Deer
Contributors to this thread:
Shiloh 17-Nov-21
12yards 17-Nov-21
Grey Ghost 17-Nov-21
buckeye 17-Nov-21
Grey Ghost 17-Nov-21
Hackbow 17-Nov-21
TooMany BowsBob 17-Nov-21
LBshooter 17-Nov-21
Grey Ghost 17-Nov-21
320 bull 17-Nov-21
BigEight 17-Nov-21
KsRancher 17-Nov-21
azelkhntr 17-Nov-21
JohnMC 17-Nov-21
HDE 17-Nov-21
12yards 17-Nov-21
txhunter58 17-Nov-21
badguybuster 17-Nov-21
Shiloh 17-Nov-21
BC 17-Nov-21
320 bull 17-Nov-21
wisconsinteacher 17-Nov-21
Bowfreak 17-Nov-21
Grey Ghost 17-Nov-21
Bou'bound 17-Nov-21
BC 17-Nov-21
Cornpone 17-Nov-21
Mertyman 17-Nov-21
txhunter58 17-Nov-21
txhunter58 17-Nov-21
cnelk 17-Nov-21
txhunter58 17-Nov-21
cnelk 17-Nov-21
Grey Ghost 18-Nov-21
ELKMAN 18-Nov-21
Grey Ghost 18-Nov-21
Live2Hunt 18-Nov-21
Catscratch 18-Nov-21
JohnMC 18-Nov-21
Catscratch 18-Nov-21
TD 18-Nov-21
Cornpone 19-Nov-21
17-Nov-21

Tradman and Huntress's Link
If you're not aging your venison, you sure are missing out on one of life's greatest pleasures! If a picture is worth a thousand words, then this video says it all. It's like eating steak flavored cotton candy!

~Cheryl

From: Shiloh
17-Nov-21
I agree 100%. Age 4 weeks with hide on or 2-3 weeks with hide off. With hide off you don’t get as much hair on the meat as you do when trying to get hide off of one that has been hanging. You will lose a little more to dehydration.

From: 12yards
17-Nov-21
I would guess most people don't have the ability to age meat that long. Just a wild guess.

From: Grey Ghost
17-Nov-21
"I would guess most people don't have the ability to age meat that long. Just a wild guess."

Why not? It doesn't take a walk-in cooler to age meat.

Matt

From: buckeye
17-Nov-21
Until gun season the weather here in Ohio is rarely condusive to hanging for any amount of time. And even then it can be too warm. I sure would like to have the space for a walk in fridge like Razza just made. That would be great!

From: Grey Ghost
17-Nov-21
If you have a vacuum sealer and ample refrigerator space, you can wet age wild game, which is what Cheryl's video is about.

Matt

From: Hackbow
17-Nov-21
When my sons were of eating age and we killed 4-7 deer/year, we kept an extra fridge primarily to wet age venison from 10 days to 3 weeks. We thought it made a positive difference.

17-Nov-21
12yards- all you need is one shelf in your refrigerator to properly wet age meat. The most important thing is to keep the meat clean and vacuum packed quickly after the kill. Once it's sealed where oxygen can't get to it, you just keep it refrigerated at 34-38 degrees for three weeks. Only age whole muscle cuts, and don't age any meat you intend to grind for burger. We have a dedicated refrigerator for wild game since we process 4-6 animals or more, but if you're only aging one or two deer at a time, you can fit most of it in the crisper drawer.

Also, I prefer to skin deer and hogs while they're fresh. Not only is it easier, but the meat isn't as likely to pick up any "off" flavor or smell. Dry aging meat by hanging in the garage in Michigan was convenient, but in Oklahoma it's not an option....and I'm glad it isn't, otherwise I may never have tried the vacuum packed wet aging method. It's a game changer!

17-Nov-21

Tradman and Huntress's embedded Photo
The back straps from one deer only takes up about a third of the crisper drawer.
Tradman and Huntress's embedded Photo
The back straps from one deer only takes up about a third of the crisper drawer.
Also, if you use a processor that you have confidence in their cleanliness, just have them hold your vacuum packed meat in the fridge and don't freeze it, then you can age it yourself at home. If your processor doesn't vacuum pack your meat..get a new processor :)

17-Nov-21
unless you have a cooler that will keep the deer at a steady 40 degrees, you're just encouraging the meat to rot. Yeah, the average daily temperature may be 40, but it also gets up to 60 and down to 20. I had a guy have to throw away a whole deer after hanging it in his back yard for a week. I cut mine up and get it on ice IMMEDIATELY, and have never had any complaints. TMBB

From: LBshooter
17-Nov-21
I plan on skinning, quartering and aging in a cooler with ice. I keep hearing don't let venison get wet, so I was thinking of have a plastic layer over the quarters and then ice them down and have the run off drain out, any problem with using a clean garbage bag to cover ?

From: Grey Ghost
17-Nov-21
LBShooter,

The problem with aging meat in a cooler is there is no air circulation around the meat, if you just stack it in there. I suppose if your cooler was big enough and had racks, so that you could keep each quarter separated, that would work.

Matt

From: 320 bull
17-Nov-21
35 dollar Ink bird temp controller off amazon and my spare freezer. Toss the quarters in a trash bag then the freezer. Straps and neck go in a tote. Set controller to 35 and walk away. Bonus is I don't have to be concerned that my schedule wont allow for dealing with an animal should the temps be unfavorable for hanging. I usually shoot for 2 weeks in there and I very much believe it adds to the flavor and tenderness.

From: BigEight
17-Nov-21
My doe will be hanging three weeks this Saturday. I was lucky enough to purchase a home that had a walk in cooler in the garage. It wasn't even listed on the description when the realtor showed it to me. It sure sold me though!!!!!

From: KsRancher
17-Nov-21
3yrs ago I started to age my deer meat. I have a fairly large Coleman cooler. I put 30lbs of ice in the bottom of cooler, contractor bag over that. Then lay the quarters and loose on contractor bag. Then a contractor bag over meat, then 20lbs of ice on that. Going to process son's deer tonight that has been in that cooler for 11 days. Last night when I checked it there was probably 5lbs of ice under the meat and a little less than that on top of it. I haven't checked the temperature of the meat because I figure if it wasn't cold enough that there wouldn't be ice still left.

From: azelkhntr
17-Nov-21
Aged 1/2 an elk in a cooler for 4 days prior to processing. Yummm.

From: JohnMC
17-Nov-21
Cheryl you talk about vacuum sealing whole muscle. What the advantage other than easier to fit in fridge to aging whole quarters? What the disadvantage of not vacuum sealing? It seems that would be similar to hanging a whole animal either in a walking fridge or out side where climate would allow. More specify if you put whole quarters in a garage fridge and age them not sealed in vacuum bags vs whole muscles in a vacuum bag how fill the final product be different? Thanks!

From: HDE
17-Nov-21
"The problem with aging meat in a cooler is there is no air circulation around the meat, if you just stack it in there"

There isn't any air circulation around the meat doing a vacuum seal wet-age either... ;^)

From: 12yards
17-Nov-21
I stand corrected! I thought you meant hang them somewhere for a few weeks. I'll have to try this next year.

From: txhunter58
17-Nov-21
Toomany: Did you even read the thread??

I ALWAYS quarter mine and get on ice ASAP. But if you process your animals immediately, without some aging, you just don’t know what you are missing. I have never aged mine for weeks but even 4-5 days makes a noticeable difference.

From: badguybuster
17-Nov-21
I process into muscle groups immediately and put it all in separate sealed containers in a spare fridge I bought for cheap. I only do it 7 days though

From: Shiloh
17-Nov-21
I built my cooler for about $1,500. It is 4x8x8 and can hold 7 or 8 deer easily, but I never have more than about 3 in there. I put it on casters so that I can roll it around and I can also fork it with the tractor and move it if I needed to. A little different than Mrs. Cheryl's way, but it sound like we came up with a similar end product. Last night I took aged straps and cut them in about 3" sections. I then sliced them thinly so that I had a strip 3" wide by about 7" long. Basted them with stubb's sweet heat, placed banana peppers and cream cheese and then wrapped in bacon. Placed on the smoker at 400 deg then basted with Stubbs right before I took them off!!! Delicious!!

From: BC
17-Nov-21

BC's embedded Photo
BC's embedded Photo
Got this idea from one of you guys on the bowsite. Spare fridge customized for aging.

From: 320 bull
17-Nov-21
Boning meat before rigor mortise is complete is said to make it tough so I prefer to keep quarters whole. There is a pod cast by Steve Rinella out there where he discusses handling meat with a "meat scientist" that is very informative. Highly recommend it

17-Nov-21
BC, did you just drill through the side of the fridge and run the bolts through? I want to make a rack to hang 1/4's in my extra fridge in the garage.

From: Bowfreak
17-Nov-21
Good thread Cheryl. I'd love to see a picture of that buck you turned into that tender steak?

From: Grey Ghost
17-Nov-21
When you wet age meat there is no moisture loss. The enzymes will make the meat tender just like dry aging, but there is no change in flavor. Dry aging dehydrates the meat, tenderizes it, and changes the flavor. If you've ever seen a professionally dry aged piece of beef, it literally has mold growing on it, and it tastes a bit nutty. If it's dry aged for up to 45-90 days it takes on a funky blue cheese taste. Nowadays, most people are used to the taste of wet aged beef, and would probably think dry aged beef is spoiled.

Matt

From: Bou'bound
17-Nov-21
“When my sons were of eating age and we killed 4-7 deer/year”

Hack, Just curious at what age did you stop eating you sons or at what age did your sons no longer find it necessary to eat?

From: BC
17-Nov-21
Wisconsinteacher, This is a spare fridge in my shed. I just drilled and bolted wood to the inside to hold the rails. Just be careful as some model refrigerators have coils running up the sides. Off season I just clean it up, install shelves and it's ready for summer service again.

From: Cornpone
17-Nov-21
Regarding aging I tried it last deer season. After skinning I bagged the following: one hind quarter, one tenderloin, one backstrap, one front quarter and put in my downstairs fridge lowered to 35 degrees. The other cuts of the same I cut up, vacuum bagged and froze as I normally do. After three weeks I cut up the aged pieces, thawed out the frozen same and went over to a friends house for a barbeque. We grilled the same cuts...aged and non-aged...and had a taste test...me, wife, he and his wife. The consensus was that none of us could really discern a difference. So I guess I'll go back to my normal...butcher the day after killing, package and freeze. Now...if anyone can tell me what I did wrong I'm all ears.

From: Mertyman
17-Nov-21
I don't age mine at all, but do soak the cut in milk or buttermilk in the fridge for 24 hours before cooking. Tender as can be when cooked without the hassle.

From: txhunter58
17-Nov-21
Cornpone:

I think it may have mattered which deer you used for the test. Was it a young deer or 7 &1/2 yr old buck in rut? In other words, was going to be tender either way? In that case it wouldn’t make a difference. But through the years I would occasionally get an animal that was almost too tough to eat. Since I started aging meat, that doesn’t happen.

From: txhunter58
17-Nov-21

From: cnelk
17-Nov-21

cnelk's embedded Photo
cnelk's embedded Photo
Nope. Don’t age deer.

The only aging they get is 4hrs in the smoker

From: txhunter58
17-Nov-21
Hahaha

I don’t age my ground meat/sausage either. :-)

From: cnelk
17-Nov-21
^^^ yep. And it ain’t aged before I grind it either

From: Grey Ghost
18-Nov-21
I can't imagine not aging my wild game. Even beef that you buy in the grocery store is aged for 10-14 days before it's distributed to the stores. To each his own, I guess.

Matt

From: ELKMAN
18-Nov-21
Very refreshing to see a thread about MEAT on here...

From: Grey Ghost
18-Nov-21

Grey Ghost's embedded Photo
Grey Ghost's embedded Photo
Grey Ghost's embedded Photo
Grey Ghost's embedded Photo
Agreed ELKMAN.

It should be noted that dry aging is a function of time and temperature. It's not set in stone. For example, the buck I killed this year I hung for only 3 days in my garage because the daytime highs were around 50 and lows around 30. It had the perfect dark crust on it when I started processing it. I could have sliced the back straps up with a butter knife.

Matt

From: Live2Hunt
18-Nov-21
I had the opportunity to hang a large doe in a walkin cooler for a little over a week, best tasting venison I have ever had. I do get a kick out of those who are almost in a panic if they do not cut that deer up immediately. The only time I do is when it is warm, even then I will quarter and cut trimmings, then place it all in the refrigerator for a week.

18-Nov-21

Tradman and Huntress's Link
I had been dry aging the carcass outdoors, or wet aging in the refrigerator for two weeks over the past 30+ years. It was just last year that I discovered the huge difference between aging for two weeks vs. three weeks after reading this article. I place the meat on a raised baking rack to allow them to dry thoroughly before vacuum packing. I also don't open the package once it's sealed, and don't notice any gamey flavor. I did however notice a tremendous difference in the tenderness of the meat when aged that additional week.

18-Nov-21
BigEight- what an impressive find!

JohnMC- it's all about inhibiting the growth of bacteria when wet aging. To properly age the meat you must control the temperature to allow the enzymes to break down the muscle fibers without spoilage. It's basically a process of controlled rotting. Temps at or below 32 degrees inhibit the process, while temps over 39 allow spoilage. It's just easier to manage (not to mention safer and cleaner) to do it in the controlled environment under refrigeration.

Elkman- that's my endgame! I've always told my husband that I measure my trophies in yards, not inches. If it's standing within 20 yards, it's a trophy to me!

18-Nov-21

Tradman and Huntress's embedded Photo
Tradman and Huntress's embedded Photo
Bowfreak- this is the one in the video I posted above.

18-Nov-21

Tradman and Huntress's embedded Photo
Tradman and Huntress's embedded Photo
And this is the one I'm aging right now...

From: Catscratch
18-Nov-21
I'm always trying different stuff. I like the idea of setting meat on a rack (in the fridge) overnight to dry, then setting another 21 days after packaging. Does this sound about right?

From: JohnMC
18-Nov-21
Cheryl thank for the info. Is there a reason other than space and mess. You recommend aging whole muscle in vacuum bags vs whole quarters not in vacuum bags. If everything else is equal. Same fridge, same temps, same times? Thanks

From: Catscratch
18-Nov-21
I'm always trying different stuff. I like the idea of setting meat on a rack (in the fridge) overnight to dry, then setting another 21 days after packaging. Does this sound about right?

From: TD
18-Nov-21
The garage second hand fridge like BC showed is simple and easy, works great. Still holds enough beer in the door for most folks..... =D

When I started doing that my big coolers are collecting dust. No dealing with ice. For the electricity I'd guess it's cheaper than buying ice. Really prefer dry aging. That leathery rind just says "prime aged" to me. You can trim it before you cook it or if you cut it right let the consumer decide. Trimmings can be added in other kinds of cooking for flavor and texture or they make treats your dog would swim a river for.

From: Cornpone
19-Nov-21
txhunter58...No, where I hunt a deer will never be older than 3.5 at the most. Just the way it is. Philosophy is pretty much if it's brown it's down.

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