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    solstice's Avatar
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    How long to hang a deer?

    Hubby got a likely year old button buck and a mature doe. Both are hanging in the barn..it's in the 20s/30s today so all is well temp wise. One year we had to butcher immediately and that was some of the worst tasting venison ever. I'm guessing the little guy only needs a day or two but what about momma? a week? What do you do?
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    As far as I know, as long as your temps stay below 45 degrees. You should be able to hang the deer for 5-7 days with no problem.

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    to age the meat, you mean?

    with temps in the 20s/30s, i typically butcher within 2-3 days. i like to get it done as soon as possibly anyway. i don't really see any difference in flavor in letting it hang any longer. its not like dry aging something for 30 days, etc... as far as i can tell, the real flavor of the meat has to do with the age of the deer, the sex of the deer (was it a buck killed during the rut), what it had been feeding on, and how much fat it had on it

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    Here's an alternative: cut up the deer and pack it in ice for a week. Be sure to keep the water (melted ice) drained off. I got this from a friend who processes his own deer. The advantage, I think, is that the meet doesn't dry out and some of the blood will be drained off with the melting ice. It seems to get ride of any "gamey" tastes.
    Would I be putting a grain-feed cow on a fad diet if I took it out of the feedlot and put it on pasture eating the grass nature intended?

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    Scott F's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by not on the rug View Post
    to age the meat, you mean?

    with temps in the 20s/30s, i typically butcher within 2-3 days. i like to get it done as soon as possibly anyway. i don't really see any difference in flavor in letting it hang any longer. its not like dry aging something for 30 days, etc... as far as i can tell, the real flavor of the meat has to do with the age of the deer, the sex of the deer (was it a buck killed during the rut), what it had been feeding on, and how much fat it had on it
    Yeah, nothing nastier tasting than a fattened buck feeding on live oak acorns.
    Would I be putting a grain-feed cow on a fad diet if I took it out of the feedlot and put it on pasture eating the grass nature intended?

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    solstice's Avatar
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    right def. dont want the meat to dry out too much either. Bucks taste gamier to me...but this little button buck might be lovely! We are in a wooded area but there is surrounding farmland.
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    i hang mine till the meat goes a darker red. in the case of the last one i hung it overnight and the next day. then we cut it up into quarters as it isnt winter here. put it in a fridge for 3 days and then cut it all up. it was about a 3 yr old hind for reference. not huge amounts of fat as it was a fallow deer.

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    I have never heard of purposely letting a deer hang. I've heard of leaving one out overnight because you didn't want to butcher it in the dark but just to let it age? Never have I ever.
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    With Beef, the ideal is 10 days. Some people actually leave it longer until it starts to get a very slight green sheen - makes it taste exceptionally good.
    No idea what the ideal period for deer is.
    The best tasting venison is if the deer was run heavily prior to being shot.

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    If the weather is going to consistently be in that range, I would hang it for a week. Or hang the button buck that long and and the doe a bit longer. If it looks like it's going to get warm, cut them up immediately. In my experience deer butchered too quickly after being killed is on the bland side. So long as the deer was not pushed or otherwise stressed before being shot I wouldn't worry about off flavors resulting from the aging, and so long as the hides are left on they shouldn't dry out too much.

    Mark linked to a good article about off flavors in hunted meat a little bit ago. In my experience, aging only makes venison more delicious, so long as it doesn't get too warm. Off flavors result from (in order of frequency, according to my totally subjective observation) fecal contamination, poor bleed out, or spoilage. If the deer were shot through the lungs or heart during cold weather you shouldn't have any of these issues.

    Also, if you're going to grind some of the meat, it's worth it to track down some grass fed beef fat to add to it. The doe will probably have a nice slab on her back, but trust me when I say that deer fat has a distinctly unpleasant texture on the palate.

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