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The great Debate. Does Wild Game benefit from hanging and aging like beef does or not? - Page 2

post #21 of 41

Since we're in Fl and don't have a walk in cooler we usually butcher cut into primal cuts then pack in into an ice chest for a week if possible. It's kinda a pain to drain the liquid and refill with ice but it seems to work decent

post #22 of 41
Originally Posted by Jeanne View Post

have you ever seen how the French hang meat?  There is a definite difference.  Hang it where the temp is above 50, where there are no flies, with the hide on. About two weeks should do it. 


Fork tender and delish.


This true...Game Birds especially Pheasant are hung by the neck and left until the body seperates...Must be really STINKY!... In any event THIS HANGING ABOVE 50*F IS NOT A GOOD IDEA AND IS DANGEROUS!!!!...JJ


post #23 of 41

Hanging any thing in this country is a problem because of the heat.We used to hang  hares if we shot them in winter,somewhere cool & breezy. Our own livestock was another matter ,normally 24hours before we broke up carcass then left it for a few days in cool store before packing. Sheep were often on the plate a lot quicker. We have major fly issues here as well.

post #24 of 41

Interesting thread. :)

I like to let deer hang for 2 to 3 days if the temperature is cool enough. Other times I cut it up into smaller "hunks" and chill before processing into burger, jerky etc..

My yard hens benefit from chilling overnight after butchering. The pigs get chilled as soon as possible.... beef I send to the butcher to process.


So bottom line...... my answer is of no help at all. lol  biggrin.gif

post #25 of 41

A couple years ago I went to a seminar at Cabelas that Brad Lockwood (owner of a professional locker and done the Outdoor Edge processing,sausage making videos) put on. Brad said you should hang 3 days per 100 pounds in 35-40 gegrees. Hanging dries blood, dissolves fat and oils,bacteria starts to form which makes it more tender  along with getting rid of game taste.Like MellerAm said, the slimy membranes and silverskin dry up some to help in processing. Plj's input was also great especially about the kill,cleaning,cooling and cooking. The best venison is not cooked over 145 degrees. I have quartered and put in my extra frig several times and then just finish a quarter each evening. After proper care, a loin with Jeff's Rub then smoked to 145 IT and drizzled with Jeff's Sauce is an incredible meal.

post #26 of 41


I live down here in parrish, florida and I go hunting with a buddy of mine who is an NRA guide. When we take a deer or a hog we hang it in his walk-in freezer for 2-3 days before processing. He explains to me that it gives the meat time to relax. He feels that it is a natural tenderisation, as he puts it.

All I know is when we eat it it's damn good. Good luck

post #27 of 41

With the corn fed venision here in Iowa most of the deer we shoot, has a good flavor to it... We don't let  our deer hang for more than 24-48 hours and feel than any long does not help in flavor or tender.... As stated over cooking IMHO is the best way to ruin venision and make it tough to eat.

The one thing that I don't understand is why someone soaks a good piece of meat in water.... if you don't like the way venision tastes go to the store and buy beef!

 If it's hung properly while cooling the blood will settle out of the meat,  If it's blood stained bad enough from the wound trim it back to good meat and pitch the severly blood soaked area...

post #28 of 41

I've been processing my own deer for nearly 25 years.  I'd say I've easily done over 60 deer.  I've read many articles that debated the benefits of aging and have seen some pretty compelling arguments from both sides.  Regardless of anything that has been written on the subject, the only thing I base my opinion on is what I've learned from my own experience.  IMO, there is no question that deer definitely benefit from hanging (or refrigerator aging) for several days before cutting.  I pretty much only do a boneless process and remove all of the silver skin that I can.  I can tell a marked difference in how much the silver skin has broken down and how much easier it pulls away from the meat after a week of hanging.  The meat is also less firm after a week as well, which translates into tenderness on the plate.  


I am an advocate of getting the hide and head off on the same day as the kill, but don't proceed any further for at least 24 -36 hours.  The toughest venison I've had came from deer that were cut up on the same day as the kill, even 60 lbs young of the year deer.  I feel that it is very important to quality for the carcass to completely go through rigor mortis before any cutting is done.  Once rigor mortis is done, I'll hang for up to two weeks as long as daytime temps don't exceed 43 degrees.  If it's too warm to hang outdoors, I'll pull the backstraps whole and quarter the rest.  I'll then rest the quarters and straps intact and uncovered in the fridge for at least a week.  I like to set them in large sheet cake pans lined with baking racks so the blood and fluids drain.  


I like a longer age if the meat will primarily be used for steaks and roasts, and a shorter age if most will be ground.  The shorter age (3 days max) for ground meat is simply for texture, as longer aged meat just turns to mush in the grinder.  If I have to do the refrigerator route, I age slightly less time than I do if I can hang whole outdoors.  I have hung a deer for 3 weeks a time or two when the conditions were perfect, although I admit this is really pushing the limits of safety, but it was some of the best quality venison I've ever had, both in flavor and tenderness.   I'd say on average, I typically hang or fridge age for 7-9 days most of the time.   

post #29 of 41

I usually hang meat in an old fridge I keep just for that purpose.  I have not noticed any drastic change in tenderness but do it primarily to intensify the flavor.

post #30 of 41

I have had deer processed at the local butcher for the last 4 years.  I wasn't impressed with it at all, and I almost gave up on deer hunting because of it.  A buddy of mine and a few other contractors gave me some samples of venison that they had let age.  It was like night and day! 

From that moment on I wasn't going to do any processing unless I could age the meat.


This year I harvested a Doe around 100 lbs.  Skinned it and quartered it into larger primal cuts.  Put the cuts in our cooler with about 30 lbs of ice seperated below it so the meat stays dry. 


The Venison stayed in the cooler for a week.  I would drain the water morning and night.  The backstraps came out on the 3rd day and I did a quick grill test.  My wife and kids didn't know that I had cooked any of it.  Needless to say there was none left on the plate and they were asking for more.


In my opinion the venison 100% benefits from aging. 


Removing all the silver skin, and fat also makes a big difference.  That is where the "Gamey" flavors can come from.  Take your time when processing and enjoy providing for yourself.  My boys 4 and 6 watched and learned as I processed the remaining cuts.  Hopefully they will keep the passion for hunting and being self sufficient.


Hope this helps.

post #31 of 41

Well this is one of those subjects with much debate for sure. I have been butchering wild and domestic animals for about 10 yrs now and some of the things I have realized through my own little experiments. 1st all animals domestic or wild when slaughtered enter Rigor mortis for 24-36 hrs, Rigor causes the shortening and stiffening of muscle tissue causing toughness so for those who butcher immediately after the kill yes your game will be tougher than if it hung for 3 days that is scientific proof and we  have all herd of Rigor Mortis. That being said temperatures dictate and I would rather eat tough meat that I can turn to burger than have an animal rot. I hang deer for 5 days and larger game Elk Moose beef etc for10-14 days I like to sit in the 7 to 2 degrees Celsius lower being better. A rough rule is 3 days for every 100lbs of hanging weight. I also hang wild animals with hide on and domestic with hide off and this is only because domestic animals have a layer of external fat protecting the meat where wild animals are lean and if you remove the hide the meat will start to dry out to much causing a weight loss and meat loss ( usually in the grind department). This of course is all if and when resources are available, I have seen to many animals rot on the hook due to poor hanging knowledge and a bit of stupidity. But again this is just my 2 cents and if what you are doing you are happy with that is all that matters. Have fun and happy hunting all.

post #32 of 41

I lived in England for a couple years back in '81 - '83.  There they believe in "aging" most everything.  For example in a butcher shop you will see pheasants, chicken, and game birds hanging by the head until they are sold.  Sometimes for days before being prepared for the table.  I had a neighbor that would hang a chicken by the head and when the head came off and it fell, it was ready for cooking.  (Once I found that out I decided to never have chicken at her house, but that's just me.)  In fairness, the weather there is cool, even in the summer usually, and quite unlike what we find here in Arkansas.  Here they would be covered with flies or whatever can get to where they are and stink.


At deer camp we have a walk-in cooler.  I butcher my deer but many of the other hunters just gut and store theirs there until they take them to a butcher for processing.  I have some times butchered my deer before they even cool and sometimes leave them in the cooler for a day or two before butchering and packaging them to take home to the freezer.  It is much easier to butcher one that has hung in the cooler for a day or two, and significantly less messy as well. 

post #33 of 41

Hello forum, my name is John McGannon, I owner a company called WildEats Enterprises. We have been around since 1995. I have done wild game cooking seminars at all the big national conventions around the western US. If you'd like background info you can find it at

I have recently published an essay for all of us who venture into the woods/ mountains/backcountry to do our grocery shopping. I highly recommend you take a moment and review this document and the information we won't be sorry.


Good Luck and Good Eatin!


Chef John McGannon

WildEats Enterprises Inc.

post #34 of 41

I hung the whitetail I got last year.  But..the weather turned real cold the next day and the deer froze solid.  I ended up butchering it frozen--not a very neat job.  The hunt was a one shot kill.  The deer had no time to spook and run--never knew what hit it.  That was the toughest venison I've ever eaten in my life.  The only was it was even half way tender was to cook the roasts and tenderloin in the crockpot for 16 hours.



post #35 of 41

Geez! I see you're in Alberta! I hear it gets a little chilly up there! You may get more stable temps. hanging your deer in the living room!

post #36 of 41
Originally Posted by SB59 View Post

Geez! I see you're in Alberta! I hear it gets a little chilly up there! You may get more stable temps. hanging your deer in the living room!



Good one!!!!



post #37 of 41
Originally Posted by GaryHibbert View Post

I hung the whitetail I got last year.  But..the weather turned real cold the next day and the deer froze solid.  I ended up butchering it frozen--not a very neat job.  The hunt was a one shot kill.  The deer had no time to spook and run--never knew what hit it.  That was the toughest venison I've ever eaten in my life.  The only was it was even half way tender was to cook the roasts and tenderloin in the crockpot for 16 hours.




Gary, what happen here is you got Green Meat. The meat froze before the muscles came out of Rigor. The muscles contract very tightly and the freezing set them them in this stage. You end up with really tough meat and nothing you can do about it but cook it by braising or stewing. The longer red meat ages between 35 and 40°F, the more enzymatic action tenderizes it but it must be, at a minimum, kept from freezing for 24-36 hours to avoid Green Meat...JJ

post #38 of 41

Knew when I saw you were a fellow dog person you would have a sense of humor!

post #39 of 41

Well this is an old thread, but I think I can make a useful contribution.  

I was wondering what all of you thought about this, so I searched, and lo and behold ! there's a thread.  However, it was not quite what I was hoping for.  There is a huge debate over this issue, and it seems like everyone has their own way to do things, and are not willing to try any other way.  That's fine, if you are happy with the way things are going, why change ?

I have been butchering my own wild game for a while now, and up until this year, just hung it in the garage if temps were cool enough, or cut it up right away if they were not.  And I didn't have any complaints about the tenderness or flavour of the meat.  But I was always curious about the ageing process.

So this year, in anticipation of a moose hunt 2 days drive from my house, and long range weather forecasts looking like the temps were going to be way too high to just hang something at camp, then drive home and get it cut up, I built a walk in cooler that is transportable, and will run off a generator.  This part of the story ends with we shot a moose, skinned and quartered, hung in the cooler for 2 weeks.

After moose hunting, I had two deer tags burning a hole in my pocket.  I am primarily a backpack hunter, and off I went.  Long story shot, I hiked up into where I had seen a buck the year before, and guess what ?  he's still living there.  So I shot him, without him being the least bit concerned.  I skinned and deboned right there, and hiked back to the truck.  I put all the meat except one rear quarter into the walk in cooler, and proceeded to butcher the one hind quarter.  

2 weeks later, I cut the rest of the deer up.  That same night, we did a test.  One sirloin steak from the aged deer and one sirloin from the non aged deer.  The aged was one hundred times more tender, with a milder taste.  As far as I can search, this is the only time anyone has ever done a test like this, using the same animal.

So, all the stuff from the rest of the internet notwithstanding, from now on I will be hanging my deer for 2 weeks minimum, with the skin off certainly, and probably deboned as well.  I am fortunate in that I have a walk in cooler that will keep the temperature wherever I want it, otherwise I would say butcher the game before it has a chance to spoil.

post #40 of 41

Well, here is my 2 cents worth.


First of all I'm not a doctor, and don't know what exactly happens to the carcass after you kill any animal,

but I do know it does become less tough with age..


I have taken many deer in my life, and from my experience it seems to me the animal should be aged.


Here's what I do:

When I take a deer, for example, I get it to the skinning rack, asap. (Less than two hours)

The deer is skinned, (I leave the guts inside).

The deer is then quartered;

1. Remove the shoulders

2. Remove the back strap.(Inside, and outside)

3. Saw off the stripped carcass where the hind quarters meet the spine.(It falls in the gut bucket.)

4. Saw the two hind quarters apart.


As each part is separated it is placed in plastic bags,(I use clean Walmart bags my wife saves), then into my extra refrigerator in my shop.

(if you don't it will dry out and turn black)


I let it age for at least 10 days, then into the freezer, or I grind it. (Except the tenderloins.)

It works for me. Good luck.



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