Just me overthinking …

thomas89

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CWD came back negative on a cow I shot mid October. Thawing out for a few days in a cooler in the garage.

Worked 4 bags today, still plenty to go. Anyways, couldn’t help but notice a pretty “elky” smell when I cracked the bags open. Elk was deboned and in the freezer within ~16 hours. Bags were spread out to freeze rapidly vs all in one freezer if that makes sense.

Meat was clean and as blood free as can be expected in the deboning process. Smell was pretty well dissipated by the end of the process today.

I don’t remember that smell from the past few I’ve cut up. Normal? Not normal? Gift for the in-laws?
 
If it smells elky it's going to taste elky.

I've attempted to attribute it to various butchering contaminants, but typically that has to do with males in or nearing breeding season. Not sure on an old cow. Depending on how that first 16 hrs went that could be it. I had a bull sour in under 12 in freezing temps, the spoils of "waiting" for light to find it.
 
If it smells elky it's going to taste elky.

I've attempted to attribute it to various butchering contaminants, but typically that has to do with males in or nearing breeding season. Not sure on an old cow. Depending on how that first 16 hrs went that could be it. I had a bull sour in under 12 in freezing temps, the spoils of "waiting" for light to find it.
Skinned and quartered within 2 hours. Hung an hour after that. Temps over night mid-40's. All the meat had a nice chill to it the next morning as I was deboning it. In freezer shortly there after. Just sniffed a few bags I still have to cut up, no scent. This is perplexing to me as I don't know that I would/could do anything different in the future. Does the blood left in the bag have a scent to it?

@perma good idea, I'll dig a few chunks out of the trim bag and toss them on the grill quick and see what it comes out like.
 
I mean that sounds ideal. If what you're cutting up doesn't smell you should be good.
 
I helped a buddy cut up a bull a few years back. It was a clean kill and the bull fell where he stood. We were able to get it out whole. We then hung it, skinned it, deboned it, then cooled it in gallon bags. All within a few hours of the shot.

It was an extremely clean process and we assumed that the meat would be excellent. We were wrong.

The meat stunk of rutty bull so bad that I made our coolers and freezers smell like a wallow.

I’ve tried everything to help and it still stinks. Soaking it helps but I have found it takes several days and several changes of water and it’s still there, just not as bad.

The only thing I can think of is maybe the bull died so quickly that it didn’t bleed out. I’ve noticed that the meat is extremely dark red and seams to blood a lot when thawed.
 
CWD came back negative on a cow I shot mid October. Thawing out for a few days in a cooler in the garage.

Worked 4 bags today, still plenty to go. Anyways, couldn’t help but notice a pretty “elky” smell when I cracked the bags open. Elk was deboned and in the freezer within ~16 hours. Bags were spread out to freeze rapidly vs all in one freezer if that makes sense.

Meat was clean and as blood free as can be expected in the deboning process. Smell was pretty well dissipated by the end of the process today.

I don’t remember that smell from the past few I’ve cut up. Normal? Not normal? Gift for the in-laws?

I doubt that the meat is spoiled. It could be the blood, could be the fat, but I trim everything and smell the meat itself after trimming. I'm working on my Alaska bull (frozen and now thawing) and the coolers smell pretty strongly, but the meat smells like elk meat and I'm excited to eat it. I definitely prefer to butcher before freezing, even if that would mean tossing the meat if a CWD test came back positive.
 
I doubt that the meat is spoiled. It could be the blood, could be the fat, but I trim everything and smell the meat itself after trimming. I'm working on my Alaska bull (frozen and now thawing) and the coolers smell pretty strongly, but the meat smells like elk meat and I'm excited to eat it. I definitely prefer to butcher before freezing, even if that would mean tossing the meat if a CWD test came back positive.
I'm not thinking spoiled, just an "elk" smell that I don't think I was used to when cutting. Trimmed quite a bit, tossed a good bit of blood shot shoulder so that wasn't in the mix. All together ended up with 97# of burger and steaks. The few pieces of trim for grind I pan fried tasted fine. I think this week I'll try to thaw a pack of steaks and see how those are. Maybe a pack of burger for spaghetti or something, too.

I think in the future I will just cut and package like that test is going to come back negative. Sure is a pain to mess with that super slippery/semi-thawed meat.
 
You are overthinking…. Game is often processed in less than ideal conditions. Just the way it goes for most of us who don’t have those ideal environments to keep meat until processing time.

Beyond that, all game has a certain smell. You’ll know when it’s south of cheese…
 
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