Aged meat

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Aged meat

Postby Optprime » Thu Sep 11, 2008 9:46 pm

Deer hunt opens this coming monday for me and back home (utah) my father in law would hang his kills in the shed for a few days (winter time)befor butchering and storing. I have recently heard that most meats are better aged. I know personally his kills were much better than anyone elses I've had. I can already feel success next week so I will be needing any suggestions/preferences.
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Postby terryg » Fri Sep 12, 2008 11:05 am

i do age all my game birds/ducks at least 7 and as much as 20 days in the game fridge before cleaning but they are much tougher than deer. makes them melt inyour mouth an dhave great flavor.

i have done deer both ways but i don't like mine aged. i prefer it be cut up and cooled to 40 degrees or less as quickly as i can after the shot.

just my preference

here is an article explaining the aging process and its pros and cons. it talks of beef but that is basically the same thing.

http://www.extension.umn.edu/distributi ... J5968.html

this is the last deer i got. he was shot in my back yard so he was skinned out and quartered and covered in ice in about 4 hours next day he was in the 34 degree game fridge and was butchered over the next two nights.

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Postby orhunter » Fri Sep 12, 2008 12:11 pm

I think most folks would agree that cutting up big game animals asap is the right way to go. My guess is because of the unsanitary conditions the meat is exposed to after the kill. Also, most of us don't have the correct facility to properly hang and age meat. Like Terry said, under 40 degrees and the closer to freezing the better.

Terry:
Could you tell us more about the proper aging birds?
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Postby Optprime » Fri Sep 12, 2008 8:00 pm

TerryG thanks for the link to the aged meat explanation. It is excellent.
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Postby Optprime » Fri Sep 12, 2008 8:02 pm

terryg i noticed in your pic you split the sternum all the way to the neck is there a reason for this other than its easier than reaching up through the chest cavity to cut in the throat.
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Postby terryg » Mon Sep 15, 2008 1:27 pm

orhunter wrote:I think most folks would agree that cutting up big game animals asap is the right way to go. My guess is because of the unsanitary conditions the meat is exposed to after the kill. Also, most of us don't have the correct facility to properly hang and age meat. Like Terry said, under 40 degrees and the closer to freezing the better.

Terry:
Could you tell us more about the proper aging birds?


with pheasant, of which i get a lot, i let them age about -7-14 days. ducks usually only 7 as they get harder to skin. as i hunt weekends i wil bring new ones home and clean the old ones.


when i hunt i always have a large ice cest full of ice or i have the refridgerator at the hunting camp. in either case the game birds are on ice or being cooled asap after they are killed.

i keep all of my refers at 32-33 degrees all the time. water will freeze if left close to the blower. this is the way i prefer my stuff stays cold.

pheasant, of which i eat all of it , is a running bird with some flight ability but each make for tough meant.

just like with the deer , aging makes the enzimes begin to work and in effect it is decomposing. the key is to let it decompose enough to get tender but not to rot.

also pheasant has a very mild to non existant taste(to me) when fresh. aging brings out the good flavor. especially in the legs quarters. at about 18 -20 days the flavor is getting very strong and more that most prefer. i like 14 best although sometimes i get lazy and just doen't do it when i should.

i still like it when the flavor is strong but not everyone does.

the thing that bothers you about this idead most is what you have been told all of your life. "don't eat any fowl that has red juice or blood in it. if you don't clean it in 2 days it is rotten" and so on.

the longer you gae it the more it will smell like a bird also but that should not be confused with smelling like taintied meat. the rule of thumb is if you have to ask some one if it is still edible, then it is.

when you take a whiff of bad meat you won't have to ask anyones opinion. :wink:

chukkers, quail and dove i clean with in 2 days but they are only breasted anyway.

chukker is my favoite eating bird but also has the worst smell to me. i kid my wife that i can smell them in the field almost as well as a dog can. :lol:

dove and qauil are right up there with chukker . i do age these after they are breasted but it is done in a plastic bag and marinade. any marinade with any kind of vinegar(italian dressing is great) actually "cooks " the meat in the bag so 24-48 hours is max for marinating.

the only way i ever have chukker, dove or quail is breasted , marinated , butterflied and grilled anymore. i used to do chukker stuffed and roasted like a game hen but it's just too much work these days .

ducks are aged 7-14 max with 8-10 being the best depending on the duck.. i don't pluck, i skin and only on big ducks do i save the liver, gizzard and legs for stew.

the rest are breasted and i have multiple recipes for them.

the one exception is a canvas back. i will pluck and roast the whole bird.

i don't eat snows or candian geese anymore but i greatly enjoy specs.just don't get them like i used to

try aging your birds and see if you don't like the flavor and tenderness better. wild fowl is not for everyone but if you do like it you will like it even more this way.

on the deer, i use the hanging head first method. this allows the breast bone to be cut with a sawsall and you can cut the trachea right at the top of the incision and the lungs come out much easier. the nosler partition tore the bottom off the heart and double lunged him . lungs can be messy as they cruble with too much pressure on them.


by doing it like this i was able to put a wash tub under him and cut my way from top to bottom while the blood and entrails fell into the tub and not on my barn floor. the weight of the offal was enough to make it fall out without to much yanking and as you can see from the white shirt i was wearing, very little blood.

i have done this quite a few times over the years aand gotten pretty efficient at it. :wink:
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Postby terryg » Mon Sep 15, 2008 3:07 pm

Partridgehunter wrote:My Grandfather use to age Ptarmigan in the fridge for weeks! I usually do for a few days until the wife gets mad at me or I need room for beer. My Grandfathers Ptarmigan always tasted way better and were tender. He told me his father use to hang them until the heads came off, never knew if he was kidding around or it was the truth.


the "heads off deal" is the way they do it is england/ireland/scotland. they hang them by the neck and when the head pulls off they are ready.
:wink:
i myself don't care for them with that strong of a flavor but have eaten them that way.
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Postby orhunter » Mon Sep 15, 2008 5:34 pm

Terry:

I assume the birds are gutted and washed inside before aging???....or not??? Feathers on or off???
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Aging

Postby Chinchy » Tue Sep 16, 2008 6:04 am

I have an old hunting book that I received as a boy & it has a section on aging game birds. I have`nt looked at it in years but it stated to age a pheasant , hang by tail feathers ,& when they released it was properly aged!
I am sure it made mention of the temp. that bird should be kept at, but can`t remember that part.
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Postby terryg » Tue Sep 16, 2008 11:33 am

orhunter wrote:Terry:

I assume the birds are gutted and washed inside before aging???....or not??? Feathers on or off???


we hunt a lot out here when it is really hot. if it is above 60 i will gut them and but leave feathers on. only to take the heat out of the bird quickly.

below 60 no dressing at all. guts are in a closed pouch and as long at the meat is not really shot up i don't worry about it.

if the meat is busted really bad( i don't do this but freinds have :wink: ) i take what i can eat and dump the rest.

if you see any discoloration of any meat trash it.

if it makes you nervous, and you wouldn't be the first, start slow. age 2-3 days first then 6-7 on your next bird, and keep moving up. this way you will get used to the aging process, and find something you have faith in as well as, find your favorite level of aging. ,

here's something i forgot to add about cleaning and cooking. the nasty "gamey" taste most dislike in wild game is blood.

professionally butchered game or domestic animals are bled out before proccessing.

regardless of 4 legged or feathered, always remove any blood shot meat before cooking.

blood won't hurt you but it sure is nasty tasting. btw, it is the blood that causes most of the smell you dislike in carcasses. there is even some evidence that this is a built in human aversion to death and staying around dead bodies.

the main reason so few can handle autopsies. :wink:
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Postby Hunters Edge » Tue Sep 16, 2008 4:46 pm

Deer should not be aged. Beef has fat or tallow that breaks down with aging, deer does not. This is also the reason why venison is good to eat for those with heart conditions, etc., it does not have fat in the meat itself and if trimmed is almost fat free. Deer actually taste better without aging and aging will not break down fat that is not there so it will not tenderize it and it actually cause the meat/fat to have more of a gamey flavor.
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Postby husker buckeye » Fri Sep 19, 2008 8:29 am

That is flat out incorrect. Aging allows for the decomposition of connective tissues and proteins as well. Aging deer is an essential to tenderizing the meat. As far as being good for you it is. However, just because it is low in fat does not mean it is low in cholesterol. All animal cells contain cholesterol in their cell membranes. Shrimp is a perfect example of this. Low in fat, high in cholesterol.
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Postby Optprime » Mon Sep 22, 2008 10:31 pm

I shot my first whitetail with my bow this morning. quartered it in the field and butchered it at home. My follow up question is after you have butchered it would it still be good to age it in the refrigerator for a few days? When I say butchered I mean cut it up into roasts and steaks. Or is it necessary for the animal to be intact to age properly?
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Postby Chinchy » Tue Sep 23, 2008 7:34 am

I would think since that it is cut up in smaller pieces the ageing would not take as long? I allways leave our deer hang for 4-7 days provided the weather is right. Since it is in a fridge I would make sure it did`nt sit in any pooled up blood though!
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Postby JC » Wed Sep 24, 2008 7:55 am

I usually arrow 4 deer a year and don't age mine- dress them in the field and get them home as soon as possible- debone and then put in the refrig to keep cool while cutting it into steaks or for ground

many years ago I learned about aging venison- warm weather with the skin off you loose to much to drying- skin on and you trap in the fat/gamey taste- getting all the fat off is critical to good eating venison if it's going to be in the freezer very long

game birds- I take out the insides as soon as possible- and never age them- except they would be in the cooler untill I fully clean and wrap them

more so than blood is a beebee that takes feathers into the meat that is a result of poor taste- imo

question for you terry- was that a misprint- you took out the bottom of the heart and double lunged that whitetail
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