part 2: Why I always give Moose, Deer and Elk  proper Hang Time

Kjell Hedström - 2017

In part 1, Why I always give Moose, Deer and Elk proper Hang Time,  we learned to avoid some common mistakes and why aging the meat makes a difference.  In part 2 we describe dry aging vs wet aging and the pros and cons with each. 


Moose aging in the North of Sweden

This picture was taken shortly after skinning the animal. With the right temperature and conditions,  aging like this has worked for generations in Sweden. 

If the weather changes: becomes too warm, too cold or too humid, then the hunters have to be observant and butcher the moose before the ambient conditions destroy the meat. 

Aging meat: Dry aging vs WET aging

 Dry Aging is the number one method of aging meat.  It is also the most error prone method.  Dry aging requires perfect percentage of humidity, continuous air flow and controlled temperatures for the duration of the aging. Done right, dry aging adds not only the tenderization part but also significantly enhances the flavor of the meat. Dry aging creates the best tasting meat. Period.

The downsides to dry aging are:

  1. Dry aging is hard to get right if you do not have the facilities to hang the meat under the right conditions. 
  2. If the meat hanging conditions changes the meat can quickly be ruined.
  3. Dry aging means moisture loss. Typically  20 - 30% of the weight is lost.

Wet Aging, or as I call it in this article Vacuum Aging, on the other hand can be done at home. It is easy, does not require expensive equipment  and it gives close to the same result as dry aging. Vacuum aging is almost foolproof without any disadvantages.


Vacuum Aging

Here in Colorado I often hunt in temperatures that does not allow for outside hanging of the animal, nor do I have access to cold room facilities for hanging the meat.  Instead I resort to vacuum aging the meat. Vacuum aging, sometimes called wet aging,  is a a tried and true, almost foolproof, method of meat aging. This method of aging is fault tolerant and produces amazing results with less weight loss than dry aging.

Cotton tail vacuum packed and ready to go in the refrigerator with the  Tenderization Timer

Cotton tail vacuum packed and ready to go in the refrigerator with the Tenderization Timer

I find vacuum aging works great and produces top-notch results time and time again. Rabbit, grouse, beaver, deer, moose and elk have all been processed and vacuum packed and aged at home with some effort for very little cost and with great results.  The only tools needed are a vacuum food sealer, a large fridge and the Tenderization Timer. Once the meat is packaged in vacuum sealed bags it stays in the fridge until the aging process is done. 




Part 3

How I process my meat for aging, the meat aging formula between temperature and time and simple DIY steps can be read in part 3: Why I always give Moose, Deer and Elk proper Hang Time.