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Aging Venison On Ice (Easy How To)

whitetail buck in grass

Aging your venison will result in better texture and flavor. Aging for a few days allows enzymes in the muscle tissue to break it down.

There are a number of ways to age venison including dry aging, wet aging, and ice aging.

Today we will tell you how to age your venison with ice. Read on for the simple steps to this effective meat aging process.

How To Age Venison On Ice

Add Ice To Cooler

Start by adding enough ice to your cooler to create a thin layer on the bottom. How much meat will dictate how big (or how many) the cooler you use will be. If it is cold when you are aging your venison you will want to pre-chill your cooler by leaving it outside with the lid open overnight.

Prepare Your Venison

Butcher your meat however you normally would. For example, I like to quarter it and then keep the tenderloin and backstrap together. I then trim off fat as this will allow for better salt penetration during the aging process.

Rinse Your Meat Off and Salt

Before placing your butchered venison into your ice, you need to rinse off any dirt or other things that have accumulated. Once it’s thoroughly rinsed it’s time to salt your meat. Apply lots of salt to both sides of every piece of meat and place in your cooler one layer at a time. You will then cover your layer of meat with ice.

Repeat this process until your cooler(s) are full. I used a lot of salt and a lot of ice for this process so make sure you have enough of both before starting your aging process. I tend to use one pound of salt and at least four bags of ice for the average sized deer. If your whitetail is bigger or smaller you can adjust accordingly.

Age Your Meat

Leave your cooler in a cool place for at least seven days, and up to ten. Each day you should check your cooler and add ice as needed to keep your cooler full and cold. You will also need to drain off any water when checking your cooler and before adding more ice.

Final Touches

If you are planning to have your meat processed by someone else, it’s now time to take in for butchering. If you are doing it yourself, then you want to first drain and allow your meat to completely dry before moving on to butchering. Once dry, butcher as you normally would.

Aging on Ice Tips

This goes for any whitetail you have processed. Be certain you only take your venison to a trustworthy processor. You want your venison butchered and returned, not just thrown in and processed with everyone else’s meat.

Always weigh your meat before taking it to the processor and check that you receive that much back (allow a slight margin for waste).

The best way to ensure that you receive your meat back is to butcher it yourself. It’s an important skill so if you don’t know how take the time to learn.

When butchering your own venison you will know you had appropriate salt penetration if you see a light pink line on the outside of your meat. It will have a red center as well.

Good salt penetration improves the texture and flavor of your meat and you will be rewarded for doing it right when it’s time to cook it up. That’s why aging your meat is so important. Don’t rush the process and you will never go back to any other method.

Bottom Line

Aging venison is a very simple process and takes only a few days. Just make sure to buy enough ice and salt before beginning your aging process. Your venison will taste better than ever when you are done with it.

Written by Fred

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