Now that your deer has been shot, gutted and skinned, next comes the process of how to age deer meat. Aging deer, just like beef, helps break down the proteins in the meat, making it much more tender rather than if frozen immediately after harvesting. Aging can be done by leaving the deer carcass hanging in temperatures below 36 degrees and above 32 degrees. If this isn't possible, you can age the deer in a refrigerator after cutting the meat into sections. Once the deer reaches this point, it is often referred to as venison and is considered a culinary delight.
Things you'll need:
- Meat saw
- Sharp knife
- Plastic trash sacks or large pans
- Refrigerator space
- Cut the deer in half by cutting down one side of the backbone using the meat saw. Follow the backbone on one side as evenly as possible to make two equal halves.
- Cut the front legs off the deer. Remove the hooves by sawing near the ankle joints.
- Cut the hind legs from the deer. Again, remove the hooves just above the ankle joints.
- Remove the flank steak from the deer using a sharp knife. The flank makes great jerky and can be marinated and dried immediately.
- Remove the neck. The neck can be used as a standalone roast or thrown away.
- Divide the ribs into manageable sections. Cut the ribs into serving size pieces.
- Place the deer sections in plastic garbage sacks or large pans. This will keep the meat's juices from spilling into the refrigerator.
- Refrigerate for four to seven days before processing the meat for the freezer. A young deer will need less aging than an older buck.
- Most hunters will eat the backstrap and tenderloin as part of the first meal after the kill.
- An aged deer is usually easier to cut up, as the meat isn't as slick after it ages.
- If hanging the deer to age, a garage or unheated shed is usually the best place.