Caribou Gear Tarp

Ageing Deer/Elk

landon55

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Aug 5, 2014
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Quick question for everyone. I was watching an Omaha Steaks commercial yesterday and they were talking about ageing their steaks for 21 days. I guess my question comes in 2 parts. First, how can I age my quarters in my garage without spoilage? What temperature do I need to see in order to age correctly? Should I cover the meat? Secondly, how long should I age the meat to have the most optimal marbling on the meat?

Thanks for all of your help. You guys are the best.
 

maxx

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Jul 31, 2015
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There are a lot of schools of thought out there on this. Some say aging wild game does very little because they are so lean and there isn't much to break down. A little google search brought up this article. For me in Iowa I don't have the luxury to age deer meat. In the early season it warms up to much for me.

Do a search and find the Meateater podcast in which they were talking about preserving meat. They all agreed that the freezer breaks it down also.

http://www.fieldandstream.com/articles/other/recipes/2006/01/deer-hang-time
 

JLS

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There are different effects from "aging" meat. During the hanging process, the muscle tissues undergo proteolytic breakdown. Essentially, the muscle fibers and structures are decaying. This reduces the toughness of the meat. Ray Field at University of Wyoming has several publications out on this.

Beyond 7 days you won't likely gain much in the way of tenderness. You do, however, lose meat to drying and additional trim.

The benefits of aging high end beef comes from the oxidation of fatty acids. As the intramuscular fat (marbling) begins to break down from oxidation, it alters the flavor of the meat itself.

If you are interested in trying this out, I would encourage you to make sure that you have a very controlled environment to do this in. You will have mold growth on the outside of the meat, and that's okay. Trim it away.
 

JLS

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Quick question for everyone. I was watching an Omaha Steaks commercial yesterday and they were talking about ageing their steaks for 21 days. I guess my question comes in 2 parts. First, how can I age my quarters in my garage without spoilage? What temperature do I need to see in order to age correctly? Should I cover the meat? Secondly, how long should I age the meat to have the most optimal marbling on the meat?

Thanks for all of your help. You guys are the best.

First question: Age it in a refrigerator. You CAN do it in a cooler with ice, but you'll need to make sure the meat is not wet and you have plenty of ice inside.

Life begins at 40. Age at 34-38 degrees.

You can cover. A cotton shroud can help reduce drying loss.

Second question: Marbling is intramuscular fat and once you kill an animal, you aren't changing the marbling. See my above post on this, or read this.

http://www.theoutdoorlodge.com/features/articles/wild_game/aging_big_game.html
 

WapitiBob

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Oct 20, 2004
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Elk fat ain't Beef fat.

"marbling" isn't a good thing. Some people cut their game like beef, across several muscle groups. I'm not a fan and separate every muscle and cut steaks from the individual. No fat, no casing, and no membrane.
 

Gr8bawana

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Deer has very little if any marbling like beef. The ageing process help break down the muscle fibers. I have had a deer and an antelope that were shot, butchered and in the freezer within 12 hours. Those were the toughest pieces of game I have ever eaten. They did not age and break down in the freezer.
 

kenton

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Mar 19, 2014
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Beef fat is sweet, venison fat is bitter. Get all the fat trimmed as soon as possible, If you do that the quality of the meat will improve far more than any aging could.
 

Gr8bawana

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Beef fat is sweet, venison fat is bitter. Get all the fat trimmed as soon as possible, If you do that the quality of the meat will improve far more than any aging could.

Deer fat IS pretty nasty.
I tasted a piece of fat from my last antelope while we were quartering and it had almost no taste at all.
One time before I started butchering my own game I had a co-worker who was a meat cutter
process a deer and he ran it through the saw like beef. The tallow that was smeared across the meat from the bones was the nastiest thing EVER.
 

RobG

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Bozeman, MT
Deer fat IS pretty nasty.
I tasted a piece of fat from my last antelope while we were quartering and it had almost no taste at all.
One time before I started butchering my own game I had a co-worker who was a meat cutter
process a deer and he ran it through the saw like beef. The tallow that was smeared across the meat from the bones was the nastiest thing EVER.

I don't think it tastes bad if it hasn't turned rancid from hanging, but it can be like drinking candle wax....

We should have a experiment where we age 1/2 the animal and process the other half right away. Then have people try to tell them apart side by side.
 

hank4elk

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Jan 8, 2015
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SW NM
If I can hang it to cool I will age it on the bone for a day or so,if not I disect it in muscle groups.
Butchering after rigor has gone is much better for tender meat.
That said I will bone it out to pack out if needed.
I have a refrigerator I use for just cooling meat as I butcher it up. Most times hanging in bags in the shade works here were I live during this time.

Butcher buddy said he hangs an old bull for a week in the cooler to break down,but takes of as much fat off as possible as he goes.Never had any bad elk from him or me.....
Had one guy do my burger one time and he just left the cow elk fat on and added the beef fat.
Fat left in the pan and the meat looked and tasted like parafin................
 

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