Why Hang­ing Meat Mat­ters

Modern Pioneer - - Venison -

While many folks ar­gue that the best veni­son is fresh veni­son, that’s not al­ways true. Hang­ing meat is the ul­ti­mate way to ten­der­ize a deer, and it’s an art form in the beef in­dus­try.

With cat­tle, butcher­ing is never done within the first 24 hours af­ter death, which is when the mus­cles go into rigor mor­tis. Dur­ing this time, the meat is full of col­la­gen, which later be­gins to break down via nat­u­ral en­zymes. For su­per­mar­ket beef, most cows are butchered af­ter two to three days. For steak­house beef, some cows are hung for up to a month.

The key to good ag­ing is the form, though, and in this case, that means do­ing the ten­der hang rather than the widely pop­u­lar Achilles hang. The Achilles hang is where a deer is hung by its back legs, but the ten­der hang places the gam­brel in the pelvis. This takes stress off the ham mus­cles, and al­lows them to age much more ef­fi­ciently.

Don’t let this stop you from dig­ging into your har­vest at camp, though. Some cuts, like the ten­der­loins and heart, should never see the glow of a freezer light.

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