Tndeer Logo

Page 1 of 3 123>
Topic Options
#3544532 - 01/13/14 10:24 AM Dry Aged Venison experiments
Poser
Mud Dauber
16 Point


Registered: 07/28/10
Posts: 13547
Loc: Tennessee

Offline
Using my secondary refrigerator that I have cured meats in, I experimented with dry aging venison quite a bit this Winter. I'm running this refrigerator at 40 degrees with 60-70% humidity, a bowl of salt water and a clip on fan (facing the wall for indirect air flow).

My setup is not totally optimal, but I did get excellent results, nonetheless. Because this refrigerator is not a full conversion, I don't have it set up for hanging more than one or 2 primal cuts of deer, certainly not an entire deer. To get around this, I use several wire, cooling racks to separate the cuts of meat and rotate and flip them as needed to ensure airflow reaches all of the meat exteriors.



After 3-4 days, the silverskin will have separated a bit from the meat due to shrinkage. This makes silverskin removal, if needed, (the more experience I gain working with venison, the less I find myself needing to remove sliverskin). For example, on a backstrap, after 3-4 days, you can peel the silverskin off with your hands like unwrapping a plastic wrapper. At this point, the meat is very easy to work with as far as butchering. You've had just enough moisture loss that butchering is a very clean operation as there is little excess blood and moisture.



However, the meat has not reached its potential as far as the aging process developing flavor complexities. For this, its going to take 7-10 days, at which point you will begin to notice the earth tones of the meat mellowing out and getting slight pungent overtones (like aged cheese) that will increase as the aging process continues.


Venison leg after 10 days. Notice the darker color and grain separation. The silverskin surface layer peeled off in one pull.

Once you pass 10-14 days, you are beginning to enter the "long aging" process. This should probably not be attempted if you don't know what you are doing and do not have a proper setup.


Venison shoulder at 12 days. At this stage, just another 2 days will make a difference. The exterior of the meat begins to form a slight crust. Earth tones have mellowed almost entirely, meat has a neutral smell with a slight, but building punginous.


Long aging. Somewhere between day 15 and 20, especially on smaller cuts such as backstrap, you will have a definite outer crust that is surprisingly hard. (the pictured meat is uncooked). You can thump it and it makes a sound. The crust is very dark in color and the entire piece is stiff. A very sharp knife is required for efficient cutting (or the meat will crush). Cooked to MR, this piece was excellent -very mellow and subtle with a crunchy surface and tender interior.

With this particular backstrap, I have been cutting small section every couple of days. I may attempt to take the final piece of it beyond 30 days, though I expect a very hard crust by then. *If I had to put a monetary value on this particular dry aged piece of venison, I'd probably place in in the $40+ range per pound.

For comparison sake, below is a picture of a venison shoulder that has been in ice (and shank sawed prematurely):


In the above picture, if you need to remove silverskin, you will certainly have a loss of meat. If frozen with the film of surface moisture, the meat will be more prone to frost and freezer burn.

Conclusion: Dry aging is by far the superior way to go. You can simulate the environment enough for 4 day aging using a very large ice chest with a rack installed to keep the meat off the ice and a tiny battery powered fan for air circulation. I would not, however, attempt aging beyond 4-7 days in those circumstances unless you are monitoring the conditions inside the cooler with a thermometer. In the past, I have been suspicious as to whether actual, productive aging can be achieved at home using layman's tools. After experimenting and getting surprising results, I have to conclude that it can be done.

Meat that will be ground, should go to the grinder sooner rather than later. Since the grinder will tenderize the meat anyway, it won't benefit from the tenderization process. Also, you will be mixing any surface bacteria in with ground meat so it is safer to not give the bacteria much time to develop.

Primal cuts that will be slow cooked or braised will not really benefit much from the aging process beyond 4-7 days. These meats will go into pots and cook for hours, so tenderization is not really a problem. Intrinsic complex flavors will tend to get lost in the process. Nonetheless, I experimented with slightly longer aging times just to see if there is any difference in comparison to the same cuts aged 4-7 days.

Conventional wisdom is that only cuts of meat that will be cooked for a short time under high heat will benefit from any sort of long aging. for the most part, this will be your backstraps and tenderloins, but you could cook eye of round this way as well. -a little tougher, but I have done it before. Based on that, only these cuts will truly benefit from long aging.

* Note my aging temp is 40 degrees. Many people tend to hold their storage coolers just above freezing at 35 or so. That 5 degrees difference will slow the aging process down considerably. Though the USDA requires temps that low, I find it entirely unnecessary and overkill. My comparative results of the long aged backstrap were visually on par with another backstrap aged nearly 2 weeks longer at 35 degrees (5 degrees colder).
_________________________
It doesn't have to be fun to be fun.

Wild & crazy, can't be stopped. Only the strong will survive.

Keep your knife sharp and your skillet greasy.

http://www.GoCarnivore.com

Top
#3544550 - 01/13/14 10:38 AM Re: Dry Aged Venison experiments [Re: Poser]
lockandloaded
4 Point


Registered: 01/31/09
Posts: 372
Loc: west tn

Offline
Good write up. Might have to try it. Did u just cook the price u ate like a steak. High heat sear then finish to a mr.
Can I take blackstrap that I have froze and thaw it and then dry age. Or does it need to be fresh.

Top
#3544555 - 01/13/14 10:39 AM Re: Dry Aged Venison experiments [Re: Poser]
FULLDRAWXX75
12 Point


Registered: 01/29/07
Posts: 6265
Loc: Adirondack Mtns, NY

Offline
Great thread, awesome info.

FDXX75
_________________________
“Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the universe.”
― Albert Einstein


Top
#3544561 - 01/13/14 10:44 AM Re: Dry Aged Venison experiments [Re: lockandloaded]
Poser
Mud Dauber
16 Point


Registered: 07/28/10
Posts: 13547
Loc: Tennessee

Offline
 Originally Posted By: lockandloaded
Good write up. Might have to try it. Did u just cook the price u ate like a steak. High heat sear then finish to a mr.
Can I take blackstrap that I have froze and thaw it and then dry age. Or does it need to be fresh.


Yeah, I just cook it like I would a steak: either on the grill on on cast iron in butter.

I don't think thawing and drying aging a good idea since you have already changed the moisture makeup of the meat by freezing it. -could have poor results. I'm not entirely sure about this, but my empirical answer is bad idea.
_________________________
It doesn't have to be fun to be fun.

Wild & crazy, can't be stopped. Only the strong will survive.

Keep your knife sharp and your skillet greasy.

http://www.GoCarnivore.com

Top
#3544575 - 01/13/14 10:50 AM Re: Dry Aged Venison experiments [Re: Poser]
FULLDRAWXX75
12 Point


Registered: 01/29/07
Posts: 6265
Loc: Adirondack Mtns, NY

Offline
 Originally Posted By: Poser
 Originally Posted By: lockandloaded
Good write up. Might have to try it. Did u just cook the price u ate like a steak. High heat sear then finish to a mr.
Can I take blackstrap that I have froze and thaw it and then dry age. Or does it need to be fresh.


Yeah, I just cook it like I would a steak: either on the grill on on cast iron in butter.

I don't think thawing and drying aging a good idea since you have already changed the moisture makeup of the meat by freezing it. -could have poor results. I'm not entirely sure about this, but my empirical answer is bad idea.


I have to agree with Poser on the thaw and dry age idea, the meat has already gone through a process that has changed the fiber structure of the meat by freezing it.

FDXX75
_________________________
“Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the universe.”
― Albert Einstein


Top
#3544622 - 01/13/14 11:24 AM Re: Dry Aged Venison experiments [Re: FULLDRAWXX75]
JMcB
4 Point


Registered: 08/19/04
Posts: 425
Loc: E.TN

Offline
Been wanting to give this a try but the fridge I will be using is in the garage and need to wait until the outdoor temps will hold over 50 deg.

Couple questions, are you using a temp control plugged into the fridge? I am looking for one but haven't decided on brand or supplier. Also is the salt tray enough to control humidity? Finally, do you need to leave the door cracked open for air circulation?

Great post..TIA
_________________________
The only reason I played golf was so that I could afford to go hunting and fishing - Sam Snead

Top
#3544630 - 01/13/14 11:30 AM Re: Dry Aged Venison experiments [Re: FULLDRAWXX75]
lockandloaded
4 Point


Registered: 01/31/09
Posts: 372
Loc: west tn

Offline
 Originally Posted By: FULLDRAWXX75
 Originally Posted By: Poser
 Originally Posted By: lockandloaded
Good write up. Might have to try it. Did u just cook the price u ate like a steak. High heat sear then finish to a mr.
Can I take blackstrap that I have froze and thaw it and then dry age. Or does it need to be fresh.


Yeah, I just cook it like I would a steak: either on the grill on on cast iron in butter.

I don't think thawing and drying aging a good idea since you have already changed the moisture makeup of the meat by freezing it. -could have poor results. I'm not entirely sure about this, but my empirical answer is bad idea.


I have to agree with Poser on the thaw and dry age idea, the meat has already gone through a process that has changed the fiber structure of the meat by freezing it.

FDXX75

Sorta what I thought but with my minimal experience I figured I should ask anyway.

Top
#3544673 - 01/13/14 12:09 PM Re: Dry Aged Venison experiments [Re: JMcB]
Poser
Mud Dauber
16 Point


Registered: 07/28/10
Posts: 13547
Loc: Tennessee

Offline
 Originally Posted By: JMcB
Been wanting to give this a try but the fridge I will be using is in the garage and need to wait until the outdoor temps will hold over 50 deg.

Couple questions, are you using a temp control plugged into the fridge? I am looking for one but haven't decided on brand or supplier. Also is the salt tray enough to control humidity? Finally, do you need to leave the door cracked open for air circulation?

Great post..TIA


I don't have a controller for my fridge, but I should. -I've just haven't gotten around to it.

Humidity: in my case, yes, but that is dependent upon the amount of humidity your unit puts out.

Air circulation: You need a fan. A tiny, battery powered fan would probably get the job done. I use a cheap clip on and just snake the cord out of the fridge. You don't want the fan blowing directly on the meat as it will dry it out too quickly.
_________________________
It doesn't have to be fun to be fun.

Wild & crazy, can't be stopped. Only the strong will survive.

Keep your knife sharp and your skillet greasy.

http://www.GoCarnivore.com

Top
#3544872 - 01/13/14 02:17 PM Re: Dry Aged Venison experiments [Re: FULLDRAWXX75]
TAFKAP
14 Point


Registered: 11/06/09
Posts: 9856
Loc: Memphis

Offline
For long-aged beef roasts, don't they remove the outer moldy crust to get the bright red meat underneath?
_________________________
Everything important in life was learned from Mary Jo Kopechne.

Top
#3544944 - 01/13/14 03:02 PM Re: Dry Aged Venison experiments [Re: TAFKAP]
Poser
Mud Dauber
16 Point


Registered: 07/28/10
Posts: 13547
Loc: Tennessee

Offline
 Originally Posted By: TAFKAP
For long-aged beef roasts, don't they remove the outer moldy crust to get the bright red meat underneath?


IDK. Do they? On venison backstraps, I'm not giving up that crust -its awesome.
_________________________
It doesn't have to be fun to be fun.

Wild & crazy, can't be stopped. Only the strong will survive.

Keep your knife sharp and your skillet greasy.

http://www.GoCarnivore.com

Top
Page 1 of 3 123>


Moderator:  gtk, Bobby G, RUGER, Unicam, CBU93, stretch, Kimber45, Crappie Luck, Mrs.Unicam 
Hop to:
Top Posters
4106599
RUGER
88400
Deer Assassin
65979
BSK
62020
Crappie Luck
51392
spitndrum
Newest Members
yarddawg54, schiesser, bigdoc, Bggamehunter, willy2763
13605 Registered Users
Who's Online
3 registered (winchester77jj, hannibal, RAFI) and 70 anonymous users online.
Forum Stats
13605 Members
43 Forums
100233 Topics
1180120 Posts

Max Online: 788 @ 11/11/13 08:06 PM
Moon Phase
CURRENT MOON
December
Su M Tu W Th F Sa
1 2 3 4 5 6
7 8 9 10 11 12 13
14 15 16 17 18 19 20
21 22 23 24 25 26 27
28 29 30 31
Forum Donations
The TnDeer.Com Deer Talk Forum is for Tennessee Deer Hunters by Tennessee Deer Hunters. If you enjoy using our Talk Forum and would like to contribute to help in it's up-keep. Just submit your contribution by clicking on the DONATE button below and paying with PayPal or a major credit card. Any amount is much appreciated. Thanks for your support!

TN Burn Safe

Generated in 0.006 seconds in which 0.001 seconds were spent on a total of 15 queries. Zlib compression enabled.