Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Aging, Cold Smoking & Food Safety

Dave from Elk Ridge Maryland wrote:

Brad: A quick question... Here, we get plenty of does and my cousin wants to skin and hang a whole deer for about three days in the barn (temp in barn stays around 40 degrees and no more). But, he wants to let it dry and just cold smoke it for five hours, then process the meat after 3 days. How safe would that be? Thanks for your help!


If I'm understanding your question correctly then yes, aging a deer in the barn at 40F for 3 days will be perfect! That's the correct amount of time to age and the proper temperature. There are several questions on the blog under aging that will really help you to understand the aging process. This link will direct you to all of of my posts on aging:

On cold smoking... Check out this other post regarding cold smoking procedures and understanding the cold and hot smoking process:

During cold smoking you will need to further process the meat product after the smoking process because you have never applied heat to reduce, eliminate and kill bacteria. If you simply cold smoke then consume the product, you are eating pretty much 100% raw meat, which is not good. If you are going to cold smoke then be prepared to fully cook the product later. 

One of my favorite processed meats is cold smoked sausage. I use a breakfast sausage mix, then stuff into standard natural hog casings. I make sure the casings are wet to the touch so they will absorb a lot of smoke, then I apply 3 hours of cold smoke, keeping the smokehouse cabinet temperature below 100F. I remove the product and immediately refrigerate. Then I pan fry and serve. Great product! On jerky, which is an item that is generally consumed immediately, I would not recommend cold smoking the product.

Good luck with all the does this season and try some cold smoked sausage! You will love it!

"The Meat Man"
Brad Lockwood

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