Does Hanging Improve Tenderness & Flavor
Aging your deer meat will improve tenderness and taste, but it must be done correctly. Here are a few helpful tips in preparation for aging your meat and producing the best flavor.
What Is Meat Aging
Hanging (aging) your venison allows the enzymes in the muscles to breakdown complex proteins. If done correctly this will enhance the flavor and tenderize the meat.
The Best Way To Hang Your Deer
You want to hang your deer by the hind-legs with the scent glands removed. Then remove the head and hide allowing fluids to drain and the meat to cool.
Cutting off the head – You want to take the head off as soon as you get the deer hung. This will allow the spinal fluids and blood to drain. Just one small tip in helping produce the best tasting Venison.
Taking off the hide – Remove the hide as soon as possible. Many hunters say this does not make a difference, but it makes a big difference. Do not be one of those hunters that put their deer on the hood or in the back of the truck to show off. Why, the hide contains fats and oils, which contributes to the strong wild taste in your meat, so you want to minimize this as much as possible and get the meat cooled down quickly. Just another small tip in helping produce the best tasting Venison.
Removing the Scent Glands – The scent glands are another source of fluids that contribute to a wild game taste, so you want to remove these as soon as possible. Since the scent glands in the cheeks are removed when you remove the head you do not need to cut these off separately. However, the scent glands on the hind-legs should be remove in the field or at least right before you hang your deer.
What Temperature Should The Meat Be Hung At
When you shoot a deer try to get it cooling down as quick as possible, preferably below 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Do not let the meat freeze when hanging as this will stop the aging process and result in tougher meat. The Best temperature to age your meat is between 36 & 40 degrees Fahrenheit, allowing natural enzymes to breakdown the meat versus bacteria.
How Long Should Your Deer Hang
The size of the deer plays a major role in the hang time, small deer hang for 4 days and large deer hang for a week under controlled temperatures. Avoid butchering your deer during the first day when rigor mortis is setting in. Butchering during this time will cause the meat to be tougher as the muscles are contracting. It would be better to wait at lease one day to allow for some aging.
Tip – Aging your deer meat naturally for up to a week will produce the best flavor & tenderness and help reduce the wild taste.
Field Dressing Your Deer
When field dressing your deer take your time and do a great job, getting all the entrails out. Avoid cutting into the stomach as its contents will be absorbed into the meat, giving it a stronger taste. If you have snow, fill the cavity with it cooling down the meat as much as possible.
Once you hang and skin your deer clean both the outside and inside of your deer thoroughly. If the bladder is full do not cut this or allow it to drip on your meat, this will also give the meat a strong taste. If needed leave the bladder or place a small container around it when removing, capturing any urine that may escape.
How to Butcher Your Deer
Here I show you how to butcher your deer by the deboning process. The main cuts are; Chops, Rounds, Roast, and meat for grinding.