PDA

View Full Version : How do you cure your harvest?


Abesnake
02-02-2011, 10:29 AM
I have been reading about what to do with a harvest after taking it. It sounds a little complicated. I know how to field dress an animal. That's not a problem; I'm not squeamish about it. However, I am interested in how some of you care for a harvest afterwords. If you want to get it home right away assuming it isn't summer when you may really need to pack it and ice it, and before then, suppose you have a ways to your truck and also, then, live a great distance, say up to 10hrs. drive from home:

1.) Is it ok not to skin it, or should it be skinned and covered in, say, cheesecloth? (Growing up in Jersey I saw deer lashed on hoods all the time.)
2.) If you don't skin it how many hours do you have to safely drive home in weather no warmer than, say, 50-60 degrees? I was told up to 9hrs.
3.) Does it matter how much mass there is or the species of game it is?
4.) How do you hang it to cure in weather that is so warm during the day and may not get down below 40 degrees at night (I live in So. Cal).
5.) Why can't you just freeze it?
6.) How do you cure your meats is, I guess, is my general question? Why can't you just freeze it and eat it whenever? I'm most interested in Elk, Deer and Hogs...if there is a difference.

Just a Newbie, here. Thank Yooouuuu fo yer support!

professionalcoyotehunter
02-02-2011, 10:32 AM
1) I skin it and put it in game bags to keep the flies off of it and cool the meat as fast as I can. This will keep the meat from spoiling in hot weather. In the cold I try to skin it it immediately so it comes off easier but game bags are not necessary.
2)I would say about 6 hours would be the most I would go but the longer you wait the more labor intensive it is.
3)Yes, the more fat on an animal the faster the meat will spoil.
4)Hang it by the back legs to bleed out the animal and quarter it and get it on ice.
5)You can just freeze it if you like but take it off the bone to reduce the gamey flavor.
6)I quarter it out or grind it or slice it depending on what part it is.

Abesnake
02-02-2011, 11:08 AM
How long do you bleed it out before you quarter, slice it and wrap the cuts? I heard up to a year. Sounds crazy.

Rusty_Buckhorn
02-02-2011, 11:48 AM
IMHO, bleeding out is not really necessary. Bleeding an animal is only needed if you plan on making blood sausage. In that case, you kill the animal by cutting the throat, letting the heart pump out as much blood as possible to save for the sausage, then you gut it. The muscles(meat) doesn't have a whole lot of blood pumping through them.

As for curing, hogs can go directly into the freezer as can deer. But, deer are much more tender if you hang in a cold box for about a week. Elk needs to be hung for at least a week. I don't recommend hanging outside in SoCal. All it takes is 1 blow fly to ruin it.
Lots of variables in field care. The only reason you skin the animal to help the meat cool, so in cold weather, no need to get the skin off fast. Helps to keep the meat clean, and protects it if you have multiple trips to get it out. The hotter it is, the quicker you should get it cool. With this said, I have killed deer in 100° temps and not got it back to the truck for 5-6hrs(field dressed), before skinning and had no meat issues.

do a search on google, lots of info out there on caring for/curing game meat.

napahunter
02-02-2011, 12:10 PM
After I kill the animal. I'll skin, and take all the meat right there.(Don't forget the horns) I put the meat in pillow cases to pack out. I then take and put it in the fridge for 4-7 days for the meat to relax and cure. I will then de bone, cut, and pack for the freezer. This is how I do my deer meat.

duckman1
02-02-2011, 4:49 PM
I generally have access to a walk in cooler and I let the deer hang up to a week. Field dress immediately and skinned as soon as it's feasable. Skinning helps to keep the hair off the meat as well as cooling. I use a cheese cloth game bag for transport.

Abesnake
02-02-2011, 11:05 PM
Real fine! I appreciate all your thoughts. Are there organs that are good to save. I suppose the heart; what about the liver and kidneys? Are they saved in any different way?

Rusty_Buckhorn
02-03-2011, 7:23 AM
I save the heart and liver, and eat both while still fresh. Liver, I just wash, slice, and prepare. With the heart, you have to be sure to run water through it real good, getting rid of ALL blood clots and crap. Then, slice and prepare..... good stuff.

You can also save the nuts and kidneys, but I don't.

Abesnake
02-03-2011, 4:13 PM
I save the heart and liver, and eat both while still fresh. Liver, I just wash, slice, and prepare. With the heart, you have to be sure to run water through it real good, getting rid of ALL blood clots and crap. Then, slice and prepare..... good stuff.

You can also save the nuts and kidneys, but I don't.

Rusty, what's the tastiest way to prepare wild meat. I heard that because of the reduced fat it needs less time and BBQ is to hot an harsh. Also, if the meat is deboned right away it reduces the gamy flavor. What say you?

Rusty_Buckhorn
02-03-2011, 5:02 PM
I bone all my meat out. Not so much to get rid of game taste, more because cutting meat/bone with a bandsaw makes a mess, and has a tendency to leave bone fragments in the meat.

As for preparing, everything has it's own tricks. Deer tastes best to me if you cut each muscle group apart, and after removing all silver skin, tendons and fat(most game taste is in these 3 things), cut each individual muscle into steaks(against the grain). Takes a lot of extra time to cut up, and leaves smaller steaks, but taste much better to me. Then I season to taste, pan fry it on medium heat. BBQing is fine, but best over somewhat cold coals. I also like to leave my backstraps as roasts, then cook sort of like a tritip. I like my venison pretty rare. Overcooking can really ruin it. A lot of people like to marinate. I'm not big on it.
I grind most of my wild pork into sausage. Maybe keep the shoulders for chile verde or slow cook in a crockpot for pulled pork sandwiches. Just make sure you cook it thoroughly.
Elk, my favorite.... the options are endless. You can cook it however you want.

This is just me, EVERYONE has there own style of cooking game meat. Wild pork is the only one you really have to cook real thorough.

bpnclark
02-03-2011, 5:56 PM
1.) Is it ok not to skin it, or should it be skinned and covered in, say, cheesecloth?
Should be skinned ASAP. Skin traps heat. Heat and moisture ruin meat. Skin it ASAP then cover with gamebag or homemade gamebag (cheesecloth or pillowcase).
2.) If you don't skin it how many hours do you have to safely drive home in weather no warmer than, say, 50-60 degrees? I was told up to 9hrs.
Skin it in the field and get it on ice ASAP. Once at home I put it in the garage freg for a few days.
3.) Does it matter how much mass there is or the species of game it is?
Some animals spoil faster than others, but they all spoil the same way (heat/moisture/bugs/dirt).
4.) How do you hang it to cure in weather that is so warm during the day and may not get down below 40 degrees at night (I live in So. Cal).
I keep quarters in icechest sitting on blocks of ice.
5.) Why can't you just freeze it?
You can, but it won’t taste as good.
6.) How do you cure your meats is, I guess, is my general question? Why can't you just freeze it and eat it whenever? I'm most interested in Elk, Deer and Hogs...if there is a difference.
You want to age the meat. Deer, Elk need 5-7 days to age (IMHO). Hogs not so much and antelope can be ate that night.

Bagelthief
02-03-2011, 6:20 PM
Whats field dress?

duckman1
02-04-2011, 6:58 AM
Whats field dress?

As oppsoed to Formal or Black Tie Dress, Field Dress is much more casual and relaxed wear. Often times consisting of camo or hunter orange in your favorite pattern.


Field dressing is field preperation of the game. It usually involves the removal of the internal organs to allow cooling and prevent contamination and spoilage of the meat. Some may animals may be broken down even further during process, ie. skinned, boned or quartered.