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Thread: Frozen quarters

  1. #1

    Default Frozen quarters

    This might be a dumb question but is there any harm in freezing the quarters so they don't go bad and then thawing them to process the meat off the bone?

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    Member SteveAK's Avatar
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    Did that w/ some caribou couple times and didn't seem to affect the taste. Did winter hunt and everything was frozen for few days before had chance to process.

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    Member Gerberman's Avatar
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    It happens all the time to us when we hunt in the snow, just make sure you cut them into small enough pieces that you can pack out. After they freeze it gets very hard to cut them up. Good Hunting.

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    I killed a yearling bull with my bow on Ft Rich at negative 25. Gutted it and hauled it home to Nikiski. That moose was one solid frozen chunk when I drug it out of the back of the truck. When it hit the floor of the garage it sounded like a rock. Let it thaw for a few days and then butchered it. It was just fine.
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    Member stid2677's Avatar
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    Google "Cold Shortening" Basically it means that the meat was frozen before rigor comes out about 12 hours as I remember. They say that the meat will be less tender if frozen before the rigor releases, after that there is no effect. I have an extra frig I use to keep the meat cool until I can get it cut and vacuum sealed.
    "I refuse to let the things I can't do stop me from doing the things I can"

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    STid is correct on cold shortening being a concern, seen it happen on a winter caribou hunt once. I have frozen quarters and cubed meat a few days after a kill and then thawed them, and finished butchering with no issues.

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    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    Yep, keep it cool but unfrozen for at least 24-36 hours if at all possible. On winter hunts I leave the fur on the animal to slow/prevent freezing. If you're just looking to freeze the quarters after getting home so that you can come back to butcher meat a few weeks later, that's totally fine - just wait a day or two before doing so to prevent cold shortening.

  8. #8

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    Some thoughts and comments
    For a number of years in the late 60's and 70's we had a Nov moose season. I lived in rural AK without commercial power for over 23 years. I loved that Nov season, meat never got to warm, always froze. Back then there was a piece in the Alaska Magazine about cutting moose into 7 pieces. I still have that copy. I've done this for more moose than I remember. After getting them into the cache, I'd glace the pieces with ice. Used a spray bottle to build up a layer of ice. Then I'd haul a piece at a time into the cabin and process it. Usually took a couple long days for each piece, had to thaw, cut and process. Only had a hand meat grinder and no freezer. We canned some and refroze some and eat a lot of moose. No Instapot then just a old pressure cooker. Winters were colder and we often had frozen meat until at least April or longer and then it was almost time for fish and a smoke house that held a thousand fish. Some meat was tough and some wasn't. By glazing the meat we lost almost nothing to freezer burn. We made things like corned moose, jerky, sausage and anything else we could think of to help preserve the meat. Did the same thing with caribou and beaver. So, I'd say yes you can freeze the meat and thaw it out and use it. One thing, leaving some ice crystals in the meat makes processing it easier. After processing you could dry age some cuts. Nov animals still had plenty of fat, not like March animals.

  9. #9

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    Sweet thanks guys!

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  10. #10

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    A butcher told me that if thawed and re frozen, then thawed, that ice crystals burst (twice) and the meat will be dryer and tougher (but no bad). A quick search on the internet seems to confirm this as follows:


    The U. S. Dept. of Agriculture (USDA) advises:
    Once food is thawed in the refrigerator, it is safe to refreeze it without cooking, although there may be a loss of quality due to the moisture lost through thawing. Do not refreeze any foods left outside the refrigerator longer than 2 hours; 1 hour in temperatures above 90 °F.

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    Member 4merguide's Avatar
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    I was taught that if you plan on refreezing, thaw the meat just enough to process, but try and get it back in the freezer while there are still ice crystals present. Besides, it's easier to cut/grind when the meat is slightly frozen anyway.
    Sheep hunting...... the pain goes away, but the stupidity remains...!!!

  12. #12

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    Stid made a solid point. If you can prevent deep tissue freezing for 72 hours, you will avoid cold shortening, which is a permanent contraction of the muscle fibers due to the interruption (freezing) of glycolysis. In order for your meat to be tender, glycogen in the muscles have to convert to lactic acid, which takes 24-72 hours depending on ambient storage temperatures. This process is faster in temperatures above 50 degrees and slower as you reach 30 degrees. Rigor mortis occurs during glycolysis, so it's best to wait until rigor has firmed and relaxed before final processing and freezing.

    Ideal storage temps for wild game is 34-40 degrees F.

    But your question was is bad to freeze and thaw qtrs before processing. No. Meat processors commonly freeze meat if they can't get to it for a couple of weeks. As long as the meat was allowed to rest thawed during the first critical 3 days post harvest, you should be good to go...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Larry Bartlett View Post
    Stid made a solid point. If you can prevent deep tissue freezing for 72 hours, you will avoid cold shortening, which is a permanent contraction of the muscle fibers due to the interruption (freezing) of glycolysis. In order for your meat to be tender, glycogen in the muscles have to convert to lactic acid, which takes 24-72 hours depending on ambient storage temperatures. This process is faster in temperatures above 50 degrees and slower as you reach 30 degrees. Rigor mortis occurs during glycolysis, so it's best to wait until rigor has firmed and relaxed before final processing and freezing.

    Ideal storage temps for wild game is 34-40 degrees F.

    But your question was is bad to freeze and thaw qtrs before processing. No. Meat processors commonly freeze meat if they can't get to it for a couple of weeks. As long as the meat was allowed to rest thawed during the first critical 3 days post harvest, you should be good to go...

    LB
    The weather is so warm during the bow season, we usually butcher the day after harvesting. I don't like the smell of rotting moose meat.
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  14. #14

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    So I guess there's no benefit to letting meat hang on the bone after it's been frozen huh? I found out that with the heater off in my garage it stays a perfect 33 degrees which is ideal for dry aging. Next time I guess lol

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  15. #15

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    Idk if you can see in the picture but I was wondering if this has gone bad. My pops would say no but there was less concern for diseases back in the day. It has no off smell to it but this was frozen then thawed.

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    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    What makes you think it went bad? Visually there is nothing wrong with it. If no smell, you're almost certainly fine.

  17. #17

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    Just the brownish color on the right end

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    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by manswame View Post
    Just the brownish color on the right end

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    That section probably just got a little dry. You can trim it off if it seems overly dry, but probably not necessary.

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    Member coop22250's Avatar
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    The rule about not refreezing comes from leaving it sit on the counter to thaw until it hits a high temperature, like 60 deg or so. That can lead to the growth of pathogens and then grinding, not cooking well can then lead to sickness or intestinal issues.

    Ideally if you are cutting previously frozen quarters it should be just above freezing at processing time, then cut and frozen quickly.

    I little known secret in the meat industry is fresh never frozen meat can be “almost” frozen at like 28-30 deg, yeah it’s hard but through lawyers and scientists they’ve came up with the ability to ship pork at these degrees and still label it not frozen. This helps keep loss to a minimum and cost from our pockets down as well. The grocery store then cuts it up, places in the case, you then technically refreeze it if you put it in the freezer.

    The brown on the meat can come from lots of reasons. It turns red due to contact with oxygen as that’s why many stores now pump oxygen in those fancy meat trays with the air space, keeps them redder longer and looks more appealing. It could have just been that section was face down with no air touching it, or it could be drier than the other area. Color is not a good indicator unless it starts to get an oily sheen to it.

    If it smells really bad, then yes it’s probably sour or rotten but this looks ok visually.

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    Quote Originally Posted by manswame View Post
    Idk if you can see in the picture but I was wondering if this has gone bad. My pops would say no but there was less concern for diseases back in the day. It has no off smell to it but this was frozen then thawed.

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    You can cut some of the best steaks right there. That looks perfectly fine to me. Bring it over.
    Hunt Ethically. Respect the Environment.

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