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Aging meat?

osprey

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A very experienced big game butcher friend of mine is the first one to plant the seed of this rapid cooling being the culprit. I argued with him that it was not hanging it properly that was the root cause of the meat being tough. He said it is as tender as it will ever be right after you shoot it and then proposed the too fast cooling idea. I have since tested the theory many times and he is spot on. It also helps to have a bit of science to back it up so here is a good read on it. As always ymmv but if you have experienced tough meat after boning in the field, keep an open mind and consider modifying your cooling process on this boned out meat and you may be rewarded with tender chops as I have been.

MEAT TECHNOLOGY UPDATE VERY FAST CHILLING
 

Spitpatch

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Well, there is information I did not have (and began by asking for). Critical in this article is that "VFC" (very fast chilling) CAN result in more tender meat (the article promotes it as beneficial to marketing). The hinge (they postulate) is whether or not Rigor has set in.

Admittedly, none of us is fast enough on the kill to regularly complete all the butchering (when necessary) before Rigor begins. Rabbit hunters get a pass here.

I have still not experienced what you have. I do not experience tough meat regularly. I have never experienced tough meat because it cooled "too fast" (although having been in numerous conditions where it certainly probably happened). I have on more than one occasion experienced tough ("er" than it might have been) meat as a result of the butchering process (which includes deboning) done prior to Rigor reversal.

I wonder if (on each extreme weather scenario I was in) whether I actually benefited from VFC now.

Today is a good day. I learned something. I trust we all did.
 

osprey

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I think it would be a very specific set of circumstances that one enjoyed the benefit of vfc in the field although it is possible. In my opinion it is much more likely to experience the too fast cooling but not in the vfc zone, therefore making the boned meat tough.
 

Spitpatch

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I think it would be a very specific set of circumstances that one enjoyed the benefit of vfc in the field although it is possible. In my opinion it is much more likely to experience the too fast cooling but not in the vfc zone, therefore making the boned meat tough.
Yes. A VERY specific set of circumstances, which is why I cannot ascribe any very tender meat I've eaten to that one factor. Also very specific (and probably quite rare) would be an environment where true VFC (as described in the article requiring dramatic and directed cooling toward the meat) after Rigor, actually might happen in most persons' experience in the field. You believe that is the sole cause for the tough meat you experienced. With the information from the article, I cannot eliminate the possibility of it being a factor.

However, butchering meat after Rigor has set in, and prior to its reversal not only is a chief contributor to toughness in meat as recognized probably for centuries, it also requires much less specific circumstances and particular sequence of events than VFC. I would gently suggest this well-recognized (and easy to "accomplish") factor be considered with at least as much weight in any analysis of cause, especially toward meat butchered (deboned) at the kill site.
 

osprey

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For sure deboning in the field during rigor is less then ideal and surely contributes too perceived toughness of the cuts. However if you debone and cool too fast it seems to be double jeopardy, assuring a tough cut. This mostly only comes to play for me with the backstraps as I keep bone in on the rear quarters and usually hang a day or more before parting out. The front quarters and the rest is just weener and burger meat to be ground so not as critical. Good discussion!
 

Spitpatch

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When I answered (long ago) this thread, I offered only my experience, as expressed in a number of scenarios to make a very singular point: Care of game meat must above all else be situational and flexible. Yes, there are axioms (VFC phenomenon challenges one: that of "always cool as fast as possible").

It was somewhat discouraging that this thread eventually came to a couple of "bladder production matches", where one party adheres to one method without consideration of factors that should dictate otherwise, and other parties postulate their method as "best". These points of view illustrate to me only one thing: a level of experience that if increased would not allow for such points of view.

Such behavior might discourage those who are willing to admit their lack of experience and are genuinely seeking good hard information. Those of us who admit we are still learning (and keep an open mind) benefited best here.
 

osprey

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The scientific processes involved are quite complex for most to completely understand, including myself. That being said, I have yet to experience a bad/inedible game animal I have harvested. All I have ever done is try the best I could to take care of it after the kill using the whatever knowledge I had at the time, no matter what the environmental conditions. Certainly not worth losing sleep about if cuts end up a bit tougher than desired but I am always trying to fine tune my aproach as my family eats mostly game meat and certainly appreciate the more tender flavorful cuts. Jerky, Burger and Sausage takes care of the rest. Happy hunting!
 
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When I was young, my hunting buddy was a butcher and son of a butcher. (We cut hundreds of game carcasses in a couple of years) They would age good beef but claimed it did little to help game. He said that aging worked to tenderize marbled beef because of the fat content that game did not have. I am obsessed with getting game cool ASAP after a kill, so much so, I am reluctant to hunt in warm weather. We have been known to take a portable diesel powered walk in cooler into a large warm weather elk camp just to insure a proper cooling and to keep the flies off the meat. Skinning is off course much easier when the carcas is still warm but then you have more area to keep flies off from in warm weather.
 

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