Tuesday, January 2, 2018

What is the best range of temperatures for aging game meat,the highs and lows?

Ken asks : What is the best range of temperatures for aging game meat,the highs and lows?

Hello Ken!

 Thanks for the great question on one of my favorite topics!

Proper aging is a true art form based on time and Temperature, the higher the temperature the less aging time. I know of several top end restaurants that prefer to age as close to the 41F USDA limit as possible, this speeds up the aging process and still allows ample time for the body moisture to evaporate from the carcass. When aging 2 key things are happening, one is the body moisture is evaporating from the carcass and as it is with our wild game animals this allows the "game" flavor to leave the carcass as well. Also the muscles fibers being to break down causing a more tender product, this process it to in depth to describe in this short blog. So the body moisture evaporates changing the flavor and the muscle tissues break down making a more tender product. The colder you store the meat the slower the muscle tissues break down, let's say for example you choose to age at 34F, not much above freezing, it will take some time for the muscle tissues to break down in these cold temperatures however the evaporation process will occur at basically the same rate. You could age longer and evaporate more body moisture. If you age at a higher temperature the muscle tissue will break down faster so you will not need to age as long and this will leave more body moisture in the carcass. One key product needed for proper aging is a method of accurately controlling the temperature, I would suggest you take a look at the Koola Buck Portable Walk in Coolers, they are perfect for this task. There is no perfect answer to this question, it's totally based on personal preference, I can only explain what is happening during the aging process and allow you to experiment from there. One guideline that you can use is to age 3 days for every 100lbs of carcass weight at a temperature between 34F and 41F and see what flavor and tenderness is right for you.

 Good luck Ken and thanks for asking one of my favorite questions!

 Brad Lockwood
 Koola Buck Inc.
 Outdoor Edge Cutlery

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