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Thread: How long do you hang your meat

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    Member Leryt's Avatar
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    Default How long do you hang your meat

    Question, I grew up in the Eastern Oregon Deserts watching my Pops hunt Muleys. After a successful harvest we would always hang the animal for 3-5 days depending on the weather. Dad would wipe it down with vinegar water to keep the bacteria off and he'd duct tape the edges of the bag to keep the meat bees, wasps and flys off. Unfortunately my 5 hunting seasons in Juneau were mostly UNsuccessful with many of my hunts being limited because of lack of boating options (by friends with boats having "issues", haha). The one deer I got we hung for several days, I think it was 4-5 days.
    I moved to Fairbanks a couple years ago and when I ask people how long they hang the meat up here they all think I'm crazy.
    I have had one person say he hangs his meat for a few days, moose to drain the blood and caribou to help with flavor.
    So how long do you guys hang your moose? My wife processed out my small moose last year and my cow this year by ourselves, took us about 3 days so it was "hanging" in our garage during that time (making a better system for next year) and my Caribou we processed over 2 nights but it was in my friends garage for a couple of days. Thanks, I'm just curious what people are doing!

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    Member Frostbitten's Avatar
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    I always cut/process as soon as possible....next day is best.

  3. #3

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    Depends on the temperature. I don't have a garage to control the temperature, but ideally in the late fall, when I typically harvest my moose and caribou, the temperature stays down in the low 40s (high 30s is even better). In those conditions, I think the longer the better. I've had my meat age for as long as 1-2 weeks and that seems to be about perfect in my opinion. The longer you can age it the more tender it becomes. But if I shoot a moose with my bow in the early season or a sheep in august, and the temperature is 50 or above, I process it immediately. But all the early season moose, sheep and caribou I've shot have been tougher than the meat that I let age. If you got a garage and you can keep the temperature right above freezing, I would say let it age it for a week or two. But if not, just let the temperature be your guide. I'd say anything above about 40-45 degrees starts to spoil quickly, so just watch the temperature.

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    +1 to what bushwack jack said. If between 32-40 I try to do a week. If not I put my deer meet in the fridge for at least a couple days. You are doing yourself a disservice to butcher within first 24 hrs as rigor mortis generally last the first 24hrs. Every day past that there are enzymes the break down the protein relaxing the muscle further and lets some moisture out( not drying it out). You improve the texture and flavor by hanging longer....hence aged beef.
    I live in juneau and got one deer this year totally understand that comment lol. Vinegar mostly to keep bugs off is my understanding, no an issue in southeast ak, maybe elsewhere. My buck this year was old and rutty, great taste and texture with hanging for a week. Shot a doe last year that I had to butcher the next day and the old rutty buck is better.

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    Supporting Member iofthetaiga's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Frostbitten View Post
    I always cut/process as soon as possible....next day is best.
    Me too.

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  6. #6

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    My butcher like it to hang a few days in the mid 30's. The big issue is I tend to hunt a ways from home so by the time it gets to him it has hung for a few days anyway so it is usually processed pretty quickly. We do mostly burger so it is all tender. I spray with citric acid and use heavy bags that cut down on fly larva.
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    Member Daveintheburbs's Avatar
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    +2 for Bushwack Jack's approach. I also use citric in the field.

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    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    The "magic number" for aging beef is 28 days. According to a very experienced meat cutter with a few decades in the business (a Canadian, so he's not in Alaska), the magic number for wild game is five days. According to him, anything after that is controlled spoilage. There's also a risk of processing / freezing it too soon. If the meat freezes before it goes completely through rigor mortis, you can get cold shortening, where the muscle tissues contract. The result is tougher meat, and the cell walls start to rupture.... when you cook it you lose a lot of moisture and flavor.

    I wrote a publication on this and will release it in the next little bit. I was very surprised to discover some of the things I learned while I was researching for it. Changed the way I treat meat in the field.

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    If its around 40ish degrees, I let it hang for 5 days, then spend a day or two processing. Thats quarters only; the ribs, neck, straps, 'loose meat' I take care of immediately. Way more tender and better tasting in my opinion compared to legs we had to do right away due to warmer temps.
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    I thought this was very informative. Written by Scandinavian moose hunters IIRC.

    https://www.jagareltd.com/blog/the-k...d-aging-meat-1

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    Quote Originally Posted by Frostbitten View Post
    I always cut/process as soon as possible....next day is best.
    Same here. Sometimes the same day I kill them. Used to let deer and elk hang a few days when I lived and hunted in the PNW, but those hunts took place later than our hunts here, so it was much cooler out.
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    Supporting Member iofthetaiga's Avatar
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    I think it's a to each his own, Ford v. Chevy subject. All the animals I've ever taken have been in fairly cold conditions and typically the animal is frozen solid the same day it died. Typically, I leave it frozen outside until next day or so when I hang it in the garage and butcher it as it thaws, then put it directly into the freezer. (That kind of sucks because working with stiff, half-frozen meat is hard on the fingers). Whether Elk, Caribou or Moose, I've never had any aged meat from anybody else that I thought tasted better or was appreciably more tender than any of my own. I suppose if a person believes that aged meat is better then he ought to age it to his satisfaction, but at this point in life I'm not going to be convinced there's any reason to.
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    Quote Originally Posted by iofthetaiga View Post
    I think it's a to each his own, Ford v. Chevy subject. All the animals I've ever taken have been in fairly cold conditions and typically the animal is frozen solid the same day it died. Typically, I leave it frozen outside until next day or so when I hang it in the garage and butcher it as it thaws, then put it directly into the freezer. (That kind of sucks because working with stiff, half-frozen meat is hard on the fingers). Whether Elk, Caribou or Moose, I've never had any aged meat from anybody else that I thought tasted better or was appreciably more tender than any of my own. I suppose if a person believes that aged meat is better then he ought to age it to his satisfaction, but at this point in life I'm not going to be convinced there's any reason to.

    If it's freezing out there is no point in hanging for extended periods, may as well be butchered and in the freezer. I guess the only way to know for sure would be to take the some hind quarters from the same critter age one for 5 days or so and process the other immediately and prepare them at the same time for comparison.

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    You can always butcher, vacuum and age in the fridge at appropriate temp for 6 days. Needs less space than aging on carcass.


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    Here are a couple of pretty good Meateater articles on dry and wet aging

    http://www.themeateater.com/hunt/but...ging-game-meat

    https://www.themeateater.com/cook/bu...aging-big-game
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    Quote Originally Posted by Patsfan54 View Post
    Here are a couple of pretty good Meateater articles on dry and wet aging

    http://www.themeateater.com/hunt/but...ging-game-meat

    https://www.themeateater.com/cook/bu...aging-big-game
    Good articles! I can't say that I ever heard of the term "wet age" before. Not to change the subject, but yesterday I watched another episode of meat eater where Steve did something that he said he'd never do......he ate a monkey!
    Sheep hunting...... the pain goes away, but the stupidity remains...!!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Patsfan54 View Post
    Here are a couple of pretty good Meateater articles on dry and wet aging

    http://www.themeateater.com/hunt/but...ging-game-meat

    https://www.themeateater.com/cook/bu...aging-big-game
    Interesting stuff. I like Steven Rinella. He's got some good tips. I've never heard of wet aging before. I can definitely see some benefits to it, but it seems like an awful amount of work. It would be hard to do on a moose though considering it usually takes us a few days to process a moose. It sounds like you need to process it quickly in order to wet age the meat properly. Looks more useful on deer, caribou, sheep or black bear.

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    Moderator bkmail's Avatar
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    Going to try the wet aging in the near future with some blackmail tenderloins.
    Sounds like 28 days is a worthy investment.
    Thanks for posting this.
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    I've hung several animals from over a week to butchering the next day, Haven't noticed a difference. It is easier if you butcher before a thick crust forms on the meat.

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    Member Leryt's Avatar
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    Lots of awesome posts. People on both sides, Iíve heard Moose it is ďless importantĒ on vs like say caribou.
    Good info and I havenít gotten to all the links but Iím working through them.

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