‘Tis the season! Hunting season that is. We’ve had cooler nights with some cool to downright nippy days.
There is a great debate that makes the rounds about whether to age wild game meat for improved taste and tenderness. I’ve gone on our experience of many, many years. We prefer to not use marinating to achieve tenderness. While I believe marinades can add zing of other flavors to the meat, we prefer to let the natural flavor of the meat to speak for itself.
Of all of the wild game we have ever harvested, elk, deer, antelope, moose, and big horn sheep, I can say without a doubt that ALL of it that we were able to hang, given cool temps, was more flavorful and always more tender than the meat that, because the weather was too warm, we had to process quickly. We don’t like to soak the meat in marinades and cover up the wonderful taste. That is a personal preference. By letting them age well we don’t need margination to tenderize. We don’t have strong gamey tasting meat, either, by doing this.
Most years at least one of us has a late season elk tag, with the elk being brought in late Nov. to mid-Dec. Those elk can hang and age longer than anything else [most of the time] and that meat always is more tender and more flavorful than any elk we get in warmer weather that can’t hang as long, no matter the age or sex of the animal. One year my cow hung for 2 months as it was so cold and we were busy. That was the best danged meat we ever had.
My suggestion is to age your meat as long as possible. If you’ve never tried it, I suggest you do. If you already do, you know what I am talking about! Yummy!
Cathy Selby © 9-16-2014