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How Cold to Hang a Deer – All the Necessary Steps!

Introduction

Hanging meat is one of the best ways to tenderize it. Suppose, you have harvested your first deer. And now you want to dry age it but don’t know what to do. 

Don’t worry, you are at the right place.

So, how cold to hang a deer? 

You should cold hang your deer for 14 to 18 days depending on the age. The temperature should be 33 to 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Hang it in a place with proper airflow. It helps to keep the meat cold and dry. And lastly, make sure the humidity around the meat is somewhere between 60% to 85%.

That was a quick glimpse about hanging your deer meat. If you wish to learn about hanging deer meat properly, this article should help you.

How Cold To Hang a Deer?

After you’ve harvested and field-dressed your first deer, you must store it in the proper environment. It’s a crucial step in obtaining the best-tasting meat. 

Before quartering a deer, it’s essential to aging it properly. If you are looking for quality venison, this is the first step you have to take. Sometimes people quarter the deer before aging it. This is a bad decision.

So you might wonder, how long to hang a deer and what temperature? A lot of matters come into place when hanging a deer. We have broken them into parts for you to understand them easily.

Duration

Do not immediately freeze the meat if you intend to butcher your deer. Let the rigor mortis set in. During this time, the deer meat will have time to relax. It will take somewhere between 12 to 24 hours.

For the best-tasting venison, hang your deer for 14 to 18 days. There is a main rule about hanging deer. The older the deer, the longer you should hang it. Letting the deer hang for longer will let meat tenderize more. 

After hanging for a few days, the meat’s enzymes and acids tend to break down. This removes the gamey flavor and gives it a smoother taste.

Temperature

You might wonder about hanging deer in warm weather. The best temperature for hanging deer meat is between 33 and 40 degrees Fahrenheit. If you freeze your meat below 28 degrees, it will become freezer burned. 

Experts also recommend not to store meat over 40 degrees. Meat held at temperatures over 40 degrees Fahrenheit will begin to deteriorate. Bacterial growth can become a problem at this point.

Storage

The next part is about where you should hang your deer. You can usually put your deer in the freezer. If you don’t have a large enough freezer, a commercial-sized game locker will suffice.

A lot of these game lockers have hooks on the sliding system. It makes the procedure of freezing very easy.

Whatever storage you choose, make sure it has enough airflow when hanging. This will keep the meat cold and dry. 

Humidity

The final part is about having the proper humidity around the meat. The recommended amount is somewhere between 60% to 85%. This humidity level keeps the meat from drying out and losing weight. This is one of the most difficult aspects of dry aging.

How To Age Meat at Home?

The main issue with home-aging a deer is keeping a consistent temperature. When it comes to home aging, the outside temperature is extremely important. 

If it is sufficiently protected against cold and sunlight, you can hang it in your garage. This is what you have to do when hanging deer in garage temperature

If the weather isn’t cooperating, you can age venison in a spare refrigerator. Skin the quarters and debone the larger pieces of meat. Then put it in a refrigerator. 

Is Hanging Meat Worth It?

For a very long time, hunters have been hanging meat from various game animals. Hanging improves the texture and flavor of meat significantly when done correctly. Slowly dry aging a piece of meat significantly changes its taste.

When you dry age, a number of complex physical and chemical processes occur. It ultimately leads to a better product.

Moisture gently evaporates from the meat, and as the water is eliminated, the tastes intensify. Enzymes also begin to degrade proteins and connective tissue, tenderizing the meat. 

Finally, a regulated sort of breakdown occurs, providing even more flavor not available in fresh meat. All of this results in soft meat that tastes better than before the aging process began.

FAQs

Should you hang deer with skin on or off?

Always leave the skin on your deer. It will help keep the meat cool once the temperature has dropped and moisture in. If possible, hang the deer for at least 8 hours. It allows the body to go through rigor mortis; otherwise, the meat will be tougher.

Will a deer spoil at 50 degrees?

It should be fine for a few days but keep the flies away from the meat. You can cover the exposed meat with black pepper. Flies will avoid the meat because they dislike black pepper. It will season the meat as well.

Can you let a deer hang overnight?

You can leave the deer hung overnight in temperatures ranging from 55 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit. Even with the skin removed, a deer takes a long time to cool down. The key is to remove the hide quickly and cleanly.

Conclusion

Now you know about how cold to hang a deer. Even if you don’t plan to, it’s always a good idea to hang your animal. It helps tenderize the meat.

Dry-aged meat will always taste better than non-dry-aged meat. Even though you have to go through some hassle, it’s worth it. And now you know how to do it. 

Have fun cold hanging your deer.

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