Prepping Venison

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This article on preparing, venison is post-butchering. I will assume that your hunter (possibly with the aid of a local processing center) have taken care of getting the meat in a cookable state. Click here for tutorials on field dressing and butchering.

Aging Venison Meat: How old the deer was will impact the taste of the meat, and determine whether you need to age it, which improves the tenderness and flavor of the meat. If you’ve got a one-year-old, you can eat it immediately; it doesn’t need to age at all—think spring lamb or veal. You can do anything you want with this meat! The older animals, like the 10-point trophy buck, are tough. They need to go through an aging process in order to make good eating. There is some debate over how long you need to age your venison. I find it really depends on how big and old the animal was. Most hunters age their deer meat by hanging the carcass in the garage or a shed and letting it sit. While the U.S. Department of Agriculture wouldn’t approve of this, it works if the temperatures are cold enough. When aging, you must keep the meat between 32°F and 40°F and keep it dry—bacteria will grow if the meat is warmer than 40°F and has any moisture in it.

We don’t have any place to age meat, which is fine since we actually rarely do it. However, if Rick gets a buck that needs some aging, he quarters the deer and puts the meat in coolers with dry ice for a few days, which is sufficient for the does. For the bucks, we borrow our friend Bob’s aging refrigerator and let the meat sit there for a week or so.