How Many Here Butcher Their Own Deer?

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Woods Walker
 
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RE: How Many Here Butcher Their Own Deer?

Postby Woods Walker » Wed Oct 01, 2008 3:22 am

Day-um! I must have an iron stomach and no taste buds then, because I've been eating deer handled this way for over 4 decades, with not ONE case of botulism or a trip to the ER!
 
Who'da thunk it?
 
I have no problem with how any one chooses to handle or eat their deer. It's your deer.
 
But before you dismiss someone's opinion out of hand, because "that's how we always did it", or "I guy I know who knows someone who...", or I read an article one time by someone I don't know who says..."
 
Why don't you try having an open mind, and before you pass judgement, TRY IT THAT WAY FIRST. 
 
Obviously you don't have to, and if your prefered way is the only way you want do it, that's fine. But just don't make unsubstanciated proclaimations about something that you've never experienced.
 
It kinda knocks your credibility down a notch or two!
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RE: How Many Here Butcher Their Own Deer?

Postby JPH » Wed Oct 01, 2008 3:26 am

Uhhh...did you actually read my post?

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shaman
 
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RE: How Many Here Butcher Their Own Deer?

Postby shaman » Wed Oct 01, 2008 3:44 am

I did not mean to imply that your method for preparing venison was dangerous or that it promoted botulism or that you were incompetent.

As a matter of fact, I have eaten hung deer. I found it unnecessarily dry and strong.  On the other hand, if you eat game fixed in the classic European way, the rabbits and birds are left to hang until they become "high." The feathers are falling off on their own on pheasant. The hair comes off the rabbit. It's a matter of taste.

A lot of folks do hang their meat and I have have at least one text on the shelf that describes the exact process. However, I have found that quick freezing also tenderizes the meat, and that a few months in the freezer does exactly what I want done to the venison. I usually start hitting the new venison in earnest in mid-Winter. In the interim, the ice crystals have had time to do their work on the meat.  Also, I give my meat to a processor.  I'm certain it hangs in his reefer for a couple of days before he gets to it.  So in essence, I'm allowing mine to hang a bit as well. 

My apologies if you took my post to denigrate your methods for preparing venison.
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Woods Walker
 
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RE: How Many Here Butcher Their Own Deer?

Postby Woods Walker » Wed Oct 01, 2008 4:02 am

ORIGINAL: JPH

Uhhh...did you actually read my post?

 
Of course! But I wasn't necessarily refering to you JPH. In fact, what you are doing is what I've heard called "refrigerator aging".
 
A very good friend of mine lives where he can't count on low temps during deer season, and he does what you do, only he will keep it in there for 5 days or more, but it's in an actual refrigerator.
 
As to the article you cite: Like I said, I have eaten MANY deer handled the way I described, and the meat has NEVER SPOILED, so on that author's statement that the "meat will spoil if the temperarures don't stay at 40 degrees constantly is...well BS.
 
The freezing I agree with, and if the temps are going to drop and stay that low that there's any threat of the carcass freezing I will bring it into my garage (no gas or other odors, of course).
 
When you keep the hide on, the carcass is not as likely to freeze as fast as one that is skinned. Believe me, I WILL NOT let a deer hide freeze on, because if you think skinning one that's been dead cold for a week is tougher than one that's warm, wait until you try a frozen one!
 
BTW:  I have eaten meat from a deer that was frozen before it was butchered (one late gun season the HIGHS of the day were in the single digits, and by the time we got them home, they were more than half frozen...I darn near quit hunting that year!), and it was also NOT SPOILEDso that author doesn't have much credibility with me at all.     
 
We all know that I, like many of us here, have strong opinions about things. But I do try at least to EXPERIENCE what I'm forming an opinion about before I pass judgement on it. Obviously, there's a limit...going into the woods during firearm season without blze orange on for example...but for many other things, just because "that's the way everyone else does it" or "this guy says..." doesn't cut it with me.
 
I knew some guys years ago who'd always cut a deer's throat before they gutted it to "bleed it out". I asked them why, and they said that "My grandad was a farmer who always slaughtered his own beef and pork and he said to do it this way, and he should know."
 
Well, he did know...about livestock....and the standard way you slaughter them.  But by the time a hunter, especially a BOW hunter, gets to a dead deer, the blood is LONG gone from that animals circulatory system. The blood trail you followed for two hours, or the fist-sized hole in it's chest would be an indication of that.
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RE: How Many Here Butcher Their Own Deer?

Postby Woods Walker » Wed Oct 01, 2008 4:18 am

ORIGINAL: shaman

I did not mean to imply that your method for preparing venison was dangerous or that it promoted botulism or that you were incompetent.

As a matter of fact, I have eaten hung deer. I found it unnecessarily dry and strong.  On the other hand, if you eat game fixed in the classic European way, the rabbits and birds are left to hang until they become "high." The feathers are falling off on their own on pheasant. The hair comes off the rabbit. It's a matter of taste.

A lot of folks do hang their meat and I have have at least one text on the shelf that describes the exact process. However, I have found that quick freezing also tenderizes the meat, and that a few months in the freezer does exactly what I want done to the venison. I usually start hitting the new venison in earnest in mid-Winter. In the interim, the ice crystals have had time to do their work on the meat.  Also, I give my meat to a processor.  I'm certain it hangs in his reefer for a couple of days before he gets to it.  So in essence, I'm allowing mine to hang a bit as well. 

My apologies if you took my post to denigrate your methods for preparing venison.

 
First off...NO OFFENSE TAKEN!!!  Not at all. Good debate EDUCATES.....or at least those willing to listen....on both sides.......

"dry and strong"....?
 
If you did, then whomever handled that deer didn't do it the way I do, because I've NEVER had that result.....ever.
 
That's not to say that I don't believe you, I do. But I also say that there's other factors at play here.
 
I also learned...the hard way...years ago to NOT trust just any butcher with my deer. I don't mean to imply that they don't know what they are doing or would intentionally try to cheat you (although some do). This is a big reason why I have pretty much done all my own.
 
But as we all know, how an animal...ANY animal...is handled after the immediate death probably accounts for a good protion of how that critter will tatse. By the time a butcher gets a deer, that part is long over, and he can only work with what he has. Deer that are butchered along with many others almost guarantees that you will be getting someone else's meat along with yours, especially with ground or other processed items like jerky, sausage, etc.
 
Just for the record, I will also hang (temperature dependent, of course), my game birds with the skin/feathers on for a day or so before I butcher them. I DO CERTAINLY GUT THEM AS SOON AS I HAVE THEM IN HAND.  I'm open minded, but not THAT open minded!!!  The very nature of birdshot insures that pellets will have punctured the digestive tract, and those pellets wind up inbedded in the meat.
 
I've TRIED to eat pheasants that were cooked on the same day as we killed them, and they were so tough, that they were inedible. Same for geese.
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RE: How Many Here Butcher Their Own Deer?

Postby hunter480 » Wed Oct 01, 2008 4:18 am

ORIGINAL: shaman

As a guy who used to work for a company that made frozen meat products, the idea of aging deer is useless, probably counter-productive, and possibly dangerous.  Remember that "aging" in beef production is done to meat that is not going to frozen.  Freezing in this case is all the "aging" you need to bring venison to proper flavor and consistency.  Remember that your slaughter operation is done in the open woods, away from modern hygiene.  The safe way to do it is to get the venison out of the woods, refrigerated until it can be processed and then deep frozen as soon as possible.

The only thing that "ages" when you age beef is the fat.  Fat is nearly non-existent on a deer. If you age a deer carcass, all you are doing is drying out the meat and giving harmful bacteria a chance to grow.  Aging is done to beef that is never going to be frozen.

If you package and freeze venison immediately, the fibers of the meat will be broken down. When it thaws, the venison will be properly relaxed and flavorful.  In this case freezing actually replaces the aging process, and in venison, it does a better job.

My advice to all hunters who do their own:  get your venison into a freezer as soon as possible.

 
I take exception with several comment you made shaman, based on the short time I`ve worked with the owner at the slaughterhouse. This guy is a profesasional, they slaughter, and cut the livestock for the area farmers, as well as prossess deer for area hunters.
 
I won`t bullet point my issues with your statements, but I`ll just say again, aging does indeed affect, in a positive manner, the flavor and tenderness of venison as well as beef. It`s a time consuming process as it keeps a major portion of the cooler space tied up, believe me, they wouldn`t do it if there wasn`t significant benefit to it.
 
If the point is, without a cooler with controlled temp/humidity, not a good idea, then absolutely. Otherwise, to say aging doesn`t affect, or help the meat, that`s entirely wrong.

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RE: How Many Here Butcher Their Own Deer?

Postby JPH » Wed Oct 01, 2008 4:29 am

Woods, while I did my best to quote the author, I think that I was a bit too clipped in the way I went about it. When placed in the full context, the term "spoil" did not imply that the meat was unsafe. Rather, the implication was that the meat was begining to break down in such a way as to effect the quality.
 
And please do not think that I have baised all of my opinions on the care of meat on one article. I hung deer to age it for the first ten years of my deer hunting career. The article in question caused me to reconsider this approach and I found that I liked the results.
 
Again, I want to make this clear. I am not out to change the habits of experienced hunters like yourself. I am simply offering my two cents for those looking for answers.
 

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RE: How Many Here Butcher Their Own Deer?

Postby Woods Walker » Wed Oct 01, 2008 4:45 am

JPH: As I said, I wasn't meaning you specifically. From what you, and some others have said, you've done this enough and tried some things that you actually have an experienced basis for your opinion. You've tried it, and for whatever reason you didn't like it, or thought that maybe there's a better way. That's fine. I do that myself.
 
For years I'd cut every little piece of venison into seving sized portions before I froze it. Now, I will cut certain cuts of meat into WEIGHT portions for my family, and then freeze it whole.....a backstrap for example. When I want to cook it, I can then cut it further into steaks, or roast it whole on the grill (which is my prefered way anymore) and slice it. It saves a lot of time, and the meat doesn't freezer dry near as much as when individually cut.
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RE: How Many Here Butcher Their Own Deer?

Postby hunter480 » Wed Oct 01, 2008 4:51 am

It seems as though things are taking a turn here.

Let`s consider a few points.....

Killing and butchering livestock is an entirely different thing than the same for a wild white-tail deer. Obviously, nearly everything is controlled with livestock, and almost nothing is with wild, free-ranging white-tails.

Livestock have their diet`s pretty much controlled, the age at which they`re slaughtered controlled, the method of kill, how quickly they`re gutted and butchered, cleanliness of the area, all controlled.

White-tail, diet not controlled, age, time of shot to time of death, stress on the animal, cleanliness during field dressing, time of death to time of gutting, nearly none of it controlled.

All of these factors will influence the outcome of the flavor of the meat. Then comes aging.

It sounds like some have had less than favorable experiences with aging, while others have simply read different things. Like you, I only have my own experiences to attest to. My personal experiences are, I`ve had aged beef as well as aged venison, and I find a very noticeable, and pleasant difference in both, aged, as opposed to not.
Additionally, I`ve read some about butchering and aging, but most of my "knowledge" comes from what I`m learning from this professional I`ve been working with. I have to say, as a guy who has had this business in his family for a couple generations, who butchers the livestock for the local farmers, I tend to believe and trust what he says. For example, he ages his beef, all hanging in the cooler in halves of beef, for 7 to 10 days between 38 and 42 degrees. So when I hear that 40 and above are issues, I don`t believe that. When I hear, only the fat on beef ages, I don`t believe that. Aging causes an enzyme to break down the muscle and connective fiber, which makes the meat more tender. It`s not an opinion, it`s fact. You can do your own research on aging and find out the very same thing as what I`m being taught.

If  a guy doesn`t have access to a controlled walk-in cooler, then likely you`re shooting craps on aging yourself. If you have a processer who has the cooler space to hang for you, and not affect his thru-put during deer season, then aging will make a positive impact on your venison as well.

One thing I would say about "aging" in a refrigerator is, proper ventilation is important in aging meat.I would research that and be certain it`s safe. I don`t know enough to be able to say it isn`t, but I`d want to know.

I know personal experience is powerful, but, in personal experience, you may not know all the factors involved, and can easily jump to conclusions.

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RE: How Many Here Butcher Their Own Deer?

Postby Woods Walker » Wed Oct 01, 2008 5:06 am

Very true, 480.
 
I would add this other point about the difference between beef and wild venison:
 
Wild venison has very little, if any, interstitial fat (marbling), just for the reasons you stated. Not only that, but the domestic livestock we eat has been genetically culled and bred to produce AS MUCH marbling as possible!
 
Now as you or any other hunter know's, many of the bucks we kill in November are VERY lean, as they have used up what fat reserves they had in the rut. But even the does we kill, with as much as an inch or more of pure FAT on their loins under the hide, STILL don't have any true marbling. I don't mean fat in between the muscle masses, but actual fat in the meat tisse itself. Most of the deer I've butchered have been from Illinois, and if they don't have it with the ultra-rich corn/beans/wheat diet they have, then no deer will.
 
I believe that this has a huge effect on the aging, and the risk that the meat might sour if the conditions aren't perfect. A butcher that I know who processed a lot of deer told me that because of the lack of fat factor, once a deer is cooled out properly, it takes a lot more to spoil it than a domestically raised and bred animal.
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