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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
You do what ya gotta do to get a big game animal in the freezer. And how the animal is cared before getting cut and wrapped is a balance between how far it is from the road, up or downhill, the temperature, work and family commitments, or even scheduling at the butcher shop.

Sometime after the kill an animal's muscles go into rigor mortis, a muscle contraction that lasts 24 hours or so. If you butcher your deer or elk during that period it's gonna be tough. If the animal gets frozen hanging on the meat pole at camp during rigor mortis chances are it's goiung to take longer to age it than if it wasn't frozen up front.

For one reason or another I have cut and wrapped elk, including a calf, as fast as I could and they ended up being tough. Now I'm thinking I cut them up during rigor mortis.

Here's a quote from a 2006 Field and Steam magazine article:

"First, the muscles go into rigor mortis, a stiffening lasting at most 24 hours. Butchering a deer during rigor mortis is one of the worst things you can do."

see: http://www.fieldandstream.com/articles/ ... -hang-time
 

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This is one of the major reasons why meat from the processor does not produce the same results as meat cut at home. On many occaisions when you take an animal into the processor it is straight to the freezer... When the processor has enough time to cut the animal up and seperate bone from meat the animal is frozen on or around the rigor mortis stage.

After keeping my meat refrigerated last year for a couple of days I will never send another animal to the processor. It is way better if home butchered the right way.
 

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Good info! I try to hang my animals, but if it's hot and I can't hang my animal I typically bone it out, put the meat in bags and place it in the bottom of the refrigerator (much to my wife's surprise and dismay) for 3 days to a week. I've had to cut a few up where that wasn't an option and they seemed tough as well. That's why Utah should move their rifle elk hunts into late october - so we can hang the trophy bulls, and have nice tender meat. :lol:
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Yeah, good points fellas.

Wild game butcher shops cater to out-of-staters, and that's good. They usually work their butts off to make sure you get your meat packaged so you can make your trip back home. But many an animal is cut up when they are in rigor mortis, when the muscles are contracted, resulting in some pretty tough meat.
 

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I used to "age" my meat a short time... I no longer do due to bacteria growth which affects taste. I cut up my meat as fast as I can and ever since I've done so its been a very noticable improvement in taste and texture. To age meat properly you need to keep it at around 37 degrees for any length of time to keep bacteria growth at a minimum. If you have access to a cold locker then great, have at it... but Joe Hunter hanging his deer in the garage for a few days? He is doing more harm than good.

Cut your steaks against the grain too, it will help with toughness.


-DallanC
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
DallanC said:
I used to "age" my meat a short time... I no longer do due to bacteria growth which affects taste. I cut up my meat as fast as I can and ever since I've done so its been a very noticable improvement in taste and texture. To age meat properly you need to keep it at around 37 degrees for any length of time to keep bacteria growth at a minimum. If you have access to a cold locker then great, have at it... but Joe Hunter hanging his deer in the garage for a few days? He is doing more harm than good.

Cut your steaks against the grain too, it will help with toughness.

-DallanC
Not exactly. There's good bacteria and bad bacteria. And there's nothing wrong with hanging meat in a garage for a few days, or longer even, following a few precautions of course. Some of the most expensive meat on the planet is aged at room temperature.

Geeze, I have to buy bacteria for my wild game:
 

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Should I, or shouldn't I...ok I will

Not true (except for the rigor mortis part). Aging meat isn't a process of getting past the rigor mortis stage, it is in fact a contolled rot or decay. The enzymes in the meat tissue begin to break down the muscle fiber making it softer (more tender). Not all meat processors throw it into the freezer either, that is merely a speculation and generalization. Aging meat is a personal choice, some do it, some don't. A lot of how the animal turns out is how hard the animal dies. Quick deaths usually result in better tasting table fair. The other factor is how well the hunters take care of their animal in the field and transport. Many, many hunters expect the processor to wave a magic wand and turn nastiness into something wonderful. Don't blame them for your lack of paying attention, and yes, some dirt and leaves will get on it but there is no excuse to making it look like it was drug through a mud hole.

And bacteria - well, sorry. It comes from you. The animal does not have bacteria inside it within it's muscle tissue. The hunter always puts it there, sorry, that's how it is.

These are the facts and they are undisputable. Condemn if you wish, or you can call any reputable meat processor and ask them (custom or grocery store it doesn't matter), better yet, ask someone in micro biology...
 

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I agree with high desert elk if you take care of your deer/elk the better it will be. Number one for me is cooling it down and keeping it clean. I cut it up as soon as i can.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
High Desert Elk said:
Should I, or shouldn't I...ok I will

Not true (except for the rigor mortis part). Aging meat isn't a process of getting past the rigor mortis stage, it is in fact a contolled rot or decay. The enzymes in the meat tissue begin to break down the muscle fiber making it softer (more tender). Not all meat processors throw it into the freezer either, that is merely a speculation and generalization. Aging meat is a personal choice, some do it, some don't. A lot of how the animal turns out is how hard the animal dies. Quick deaths usually result in better tasting table fair. The other factor is how well the hunters take care of their animal in the field and transport. Many, many hunters expect the processor to wave a magic wand and turn nastiness into something wonderful. Don't blame them for your lack of paying attention, and yes, some dirt and leaves will get on it but there is no excuse to making it look like it was drug through a mud hole.

And bacteria - well, sorry. It comes from you. The animal does not have bacteria inside it within it's muscle tissue. The hunter always puts it there, sorry, that's how it is.

These are the facts and they are undisputable. Condemn if you wish, or you can call any reputable meat processor and ask them (custom or grocery store it doesn't matter), better yet, ask someone in micro biology...
yeah, yeah, yeah, good points. I read the magazine article. Geeze, all you guys went to school. That's not fair.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I was raised on a farm. We butchered our own hogs and cattle, and I do all the meat curing stuff, hams, dry-cured meat, so really I do know about the bacteria stuff.

The bacteria I showed in the picture is sprayed on the surface of cured meats and sausages to induce a protective layer of "good" mold.


My next post will be on the advantage or disadvantage of "bleeding out" wild game. :D
 

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I let my deer hang for a few days up on the muzzleoader hunt, and then sit in the fridge for another 3 days. and the outside cure layer was black, but when I cut it off, that meat looked amazing and tastes great. I'll age every animal at least for 5 days to a week if I have the option to.
 

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wyogoob said:
I was raised on a farm. We butchered our own hogs and cattle, and I do all the meat curing stuff, hams, dry-cured meat, so really I do know about the bacteria stuff.

The bacteria I use is sprayed on the surface of cured meats and sausages to induce a protective layer of "good" mold.

My next post will be on the advantage or disadvantage of "bleeding out" wild game. :D
"Bleeding out"? Isn't that what the 30 cal perferation in lungs does?
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Wait a minute, I was just looking at my crock of sauerkraut and thinking about good bacteria. There is good bacteria and bad bacteria.

I also have some summer sausage that I just took out of the smoker that has Fermento™ in it. According to the manufacturer Fermento™ is "...lactic acid producing bacteria culture."

More later, I'm gonna have some yogurt. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Nambaster said:
wyogoob said:
I was raised on a farm. We butchered our own hogs and cattle, and I do all the meat curing stuff, hams, dry-cured meat, so really I do know about the bacteria stuff.

The bacteria I use is sprayed on the surface of cured meats and sausages to induce a protective layer of "good" mold.

My next post will be on the advantage or disadvantage of "bleeding out" wild game. :D
"Bleeding out"? Isn't that what the 30 cal perferation in lungs does?
yeah, yeah :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·

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How you care for the meat from the shot to the plate matters!

I get them gutted as fast as possible, then I skin them and quater them up. I put them in a cooler on ice and keep them there for a week or so. you will need to drain the water off daily as well as add more ice. it ages the meat quite nicely. This year I tried putting a cup of non-seasoned meat trenderizer on top of the meat before dumping the ice on the meat, so far I can't tell it makes a difference.

When I cut up the meat I trim off as much fat and tough conective material as I can, then I either run it thru my tenderizer or cut steaks and then put them in ziplock bags or vac seal it up. If you use ziplock bags push out all the air before you sill them.

Tonight I cooked up the first batch of that big buck I killed and it was awesome tasting. I have 2 more deer aging in the cooler now. I'm gonna eat good this year.
 

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DallanC said:
I used to "age" my meat a short time... I no longer do due to bacteria growth which affects taste. I cut up my meat as fast as I can and ever since I've done so its been a very noticable improvement in taste and texture. To age meat properly you need to keep it at around 37 degrees for any length of time to keep bacteria growth at a minimum. If you have access to a cold locker then great, have at it... but Joe Hunter hanging his deer in the garage for a few days? He is doing more harm than good.

Cut your steaks against the grain too, it will help with toughness.

-DallanC
Bull****!!!
 

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Elk are grazers they will age like beef, deer are browsers and do not age like beef.Elk should be hung in a cooler 35-37 degrees for the tissues to break down.They should be clean,dry, and have at least 1 to 2 feet of space around them.In my opinion you are hurting your deer to hang it for more than 2 days.
 
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