Friday, October 26, 2012

Should you age your deer with the hide on?

Bill from Wisconsin asked:

Is it a good idea to leave the hide on a deer and let it hang for several days before processing? Would it be better to skin it first? How would you then keep the outer layer from drying out? 


Boy oh boy, this is a very good and a very controversial question, so I have to answer it according to the book... There are many old timers that have always aged their deer with the hide on - their reason was exactly what you had mentioned: it keeps the meat clean and keeps the outside of the carcass from drying out.

However, according to the USDA, you must remove the hide as quickly as possible after harvesting the animal. This will let the body moisture and heat evacuate from the animal quickly and decrease the cooling time.

The danger of allowing the hide to remain on the carcass is that all that body heat is trapped inside the hide - like wrapping it up in a winter coat. I always remove the hide as quickly as possible and let the body heat out, always remember that this body heat also contains that off-flavor that's associated with game meats. The trade off is a good one: take the hide off, deal with a little dryness and you will have much better meat.

Great question Bill and its a tough one, hope I helped.

Brad Lockwood
"The Meat Man"

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Recipes for Making Sausage

Rick from Victoria, BC asked:

How about some really good recipes for sausages? Thanks. I like your show, it seems like you are really out there as opposed to so many shows we see where the "turkey hunter" is lead along by a guide. Here in Canada, we hunt on our own. 

Best Wishes,


Thanks for the complements and we do prefer to go at it on our own and I love hunting Canada!

Thanks for the question and this is a great one! One of my favorites! Here is what I tell many hunters: Don't be afraid to use prepackaged sausage seasoning kits like Hi Mountain's. Simply remember that all the prepackaged seasoning kits that you will find are simply a BASE flavor profile of the product, these kits are made to suit everyone's taste buds.

What you need to do is modify the seasoning kit to suit your taste. If you like a spicy product, add some additional Cayenne pepper or crushed red pepper, maybe some Cajun seasoning to spice it up a bit, some extra fine black pepper will also heat it up a bit.

If you want to sweeten it up a bit, add a little maple sugar or maple syrup, maybe some white cane sugar. If you want to increase the overall flavor of the product don't be afraid to increase the amount of base seasoning per batch. In other words: If the base seasoning says XX amount of seasoning for 20lbs of meat, add that same amount of seasoning to 16lbs of meat.

This is a great question and I love it! Keep a log book of the changes you make, every good processor has a hidden recipe book and they keep records of all the changes they make - this is the only way you will ever make a quality, consistent product.

How can you make the same product consistently if you don't keep track of how you make it each and every time? Get a book, keep track of what you do, and don't be afraid to make changes until you get the product you LOVE! Thanks for the great question!

Brad Lockwood
"The Meat Man"

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

How to age your wild game when it gets wet?

Nick of Caldwell, Idaho asked:

What is the best way to age your wild game if it gets wet - Whether you back it out in a rain storm or it gets wet from the ice in your ice chest? 


I have had this happen many times myself on pack-in trips. Dry ice always works best, but when it's not available and you have to use regular ice, your meat is going to get wet.

I always get it up out of the water as quickly as possible and then place it on racks in my refrigerator or walk-in cooler and allow it to dry as you normally would when dry aging your meat.

The water from the ice or from the rain won't affect the quality of your meat; simply age it accordingly as soon as you can.

 Brad Lockwood
"The Meat Man"

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

What's the best way to cut jerky into strips?

Willis from PA asked:

What's the best way to cut jerky into strips?


That's a tough question to answer because there are so many great methods of slicing jerky. First, you may want to answer a few questions for me:

How many pounds of jerky will you be slicing?
- If you are slicing a lot of jerky - 20lbs of raw meat or more per year, I would look at Weston's 9" Commercial Slicer or their 7 1/2" Slicer.
- If you are looking at less than 20lbs per year,  I would look at Weston's Manual Jerky Slicer.
- If you only slice a couple pounds at a time, I would look at Hi Mountain's Jerky Board and Knife Set.

All of these products will do a great job for you, it simply depends on how much jerky you're going to slice and how much work you want to put into it. The Commercial Slicer will go through pounds and pounds of meat quickly. The Manual Jerky Slicer isn't electric, but makes a perfect product, and Hi Mountain's Jerky Board makes quick work of small amounts of jerky.

I've posted photos of each below. If you click on these photos, you can see the product details for each!

        07-3801-W-A   61-0901-W

Hope this helps answer your question.

Brad Lockwood
"The Meat Man"

Monday, October 22, 2012

Do you remove glands when processing wild game?

Steve from Chandler, AZ asked:

My buddy and I have processed four mule deer on our own now. He was always taught to take out some type of gland in the rear hind quarters. I have your processing videos and have not seen you do this. Do you know anything about this gland and is it necessary to take it out? It doesn't look very appetizing! Thanks for your help.


I always remove all the glands that I find in my game meats. There's danger from a health perspective plus they do have a very unappetizing look to them! So yes I remove all the glands I find in my game meats. Good luck this season!

Brad Lockwood, Love of the Hunt TV
"The Meat Man"

Can I cure and age my meat without hanging it?

Our friend Jeff asked:

When ageing and curing venison meat for someone without coolers and meat lockers, it is okay to put meat into a refrigerator for the curing process. My question is: Can I put select meats onto trays instead of hanging for ageing because I do not have the ability to hang the meat. 


 Yes, that will work fine. If you place the meat in a pan, be sure to empty the moisture that drains out of the meat daily - as you will not want your meat to soak in this body moisture (blood). It's important that this body moisture comes out of the meat for the drying and aging process to occur. Keep the temperature at or below 40F but no lower than 33F. Thanks for the question and good luck this season!

Brad Lockwood
 "The Meat Man"

Friday, October 19, 2012

Monday, October 15, 2012

Love of the Hunt TV: Bear Sausage Butcher Block

In this segment from Love of the Hunt TV, Brad Lockwood shows you how to make breakfast sausage from bear meat using a Weston #8 Heavy Duty Electric Meat Grinder, Hi Mountain Seasonings, and Outdoor Edge Knives.

Monday, October 1, 2012

How to make Goose Jerky?

Nick from Reeseville, WI asked:

I shot my first geese yesterday. I've heard goose jerky is excellent. Any experience and/or tips on making it?


Goose jerky is one of my favorites! I've found that waterfowl meat holds more moisture, absorbs the seasoning better and overall is a lot more tender than other wild game jerky.

My best advice would be to purchase our Mastering Marination DVD which is on In this DVD, we make goose jerky and several other great products from waterfowl.

Basically, follow the same steps and procedures as making standard whole muscle jerky, just remember it will absorb the seasonings a lot faster and make take a little longer to dry out. Taking the breast out is the best part!

Good luck and check out that DVD - you'll love it!

Brad Lockwood
"The Meat Man"

How do I age wild game in the fridge?

Jamie from Roaring Spring, PA asked:

I live in PA and like to shoot a few does for the table. Before I hunt bucks in November, I shoot them, skin them and quarter them, put them in the fridge for 24 hr then process and freeze them.

I would like to try aging this year. It's in the 50's during the day and 30's at night. How do I age the meat in the fridge, and for how long? Thanks!


Aging game is one of my favorite topics and without a doubt the most overlooked part of processing quality game meats. It's so important and very few hunters understand proper aging of game.

In fine steakhouses you will often see the term "Our steaks are aged a full 21 days." This statement is based on the fact that most finished cattle have a carcass weight of 700 lbs on average. So if you age the carcass 3 days for every 100 lbs of carcass weight, you are looking at 21 days!

If you apply the same theory to your wild game meats, you would have this formula. A 100 lb dressed deer carcass should be aged at least 3 days at a temperature of 33 degrees F - 41 degrees F. I'm telling you what is "required" by the USDA. Try to stay within those temperature ranges. If the temperature goes above and then drops below, I'm not saying you're going to have bad meat... I'm just saying what the USDA book says. As you can understand, that's what I have to go by. "What you do is up to you."

What happens when meat ages?? Here is what's going on: The body moisture evaporates from the carcass. This is called dry aging. The good bacteria that is in all protein and is needed for the human digestive system begins to break down the muscle tissue and tenderize the meat. (Vegetarians don't get this good bacteria, which is often a major issue with Vegetarianism).

If you freeze the meat too quickly, you freeze the body moisture in the carcass, and the evaporation process can not occur. If you freeze the bacteria in the meat, the muscle tissue cannot break down. This is why aging game meat is so very important.

Dry age your meat and you will allow the game flavor to evaporate out and the bacteria will break down the muscles and give you a much better product!

Thanks for such a great question fellow PA Hunter!!

Brad Lockwood

"The Meat Man"