RE: What is the highest temperature for hanging deer?
Ok here is something from U of W seems to me if you can age at 50 degrees for several days a overnight at 60 can't be all that bad.
Aging Venison In Warm Weather
Publication Date: 11/16/2001
Author:Ken Barnett, Field Crops and Farm Management Agent for Marathon, Lincoln, and Langlade Counties
Reviewer: No Reviewer, None
With the warm weather of the past two days, I have received a number of calls inquiring how long hunters can safely "age" their bagged deers in the current weather conditions. I wanted to provide you with some perspective on this in case you get some of these questions.
Aging is very important to improving the tenderness of beef, and may have a similar beneficial effect in deer. During aging, proteolytic enzymes that are naturally present in the meat breakdown or weaken muscle proteins, making the meat more tender. In beef, the greatest improvement in tenderness occurs during the first 7 days after slaughter, but beef is often aged up to 14 days in many of our smaller plants to improve tenderness.
I am not a deer hunter myself, but I work with a lot of small plants that process deer. I find that that some people believe that aging improves venison quality, and other feel that venison does not need to be aged. I guess it is up to the individual to decide for themselves, and this decision may be influenced by the weather conditions they face after the deer is taken.
Aging in a meat plant is done under controlled conditions of 35 to 40 F. In aging venison, hunters are at the mercy of the prevailing outside temperatures. From my experience, I would offer the following guidelines for aging venison.
1. If the temperature is between 32 and 40 F, deer should be able to be easily aged for 1 week.
2. If the temperature is between 40 and 50 F, aging should be shortened to 3 to 5 days. Since aging involves chemical reactions that go at a faster rate as the temperature getts higher, 4 days of aging aging at 45 F might be comparable to 7 days at 35 F. If the meat is frozen for a period of time, little aging takes place at this low temperature. Remember, it is the temperature within the muscle which determines how rapidly aging proceeds, not the changing outside air temperature.
3. From a food safety standpoint, lower temperatures are always preferred. I would regard environmental temperatures above 50F as getting into a higher risk zone. If daytime temperatures get above 50 F for most of the day, and there are not good prospects for cooler weather coming, the deer should probably be processed as soon as possible, or taken to a plant where it can be stored under refrigerated conditions.
4. Unfortunately the storage temperatures this time of year can vary from day to day, and cause a person to wonder how long they should hang the deer. The above advice should help in that decision. Remember that bacterial growth and spoilage are a function of time and temperature. A chilled carcass can withstand a few hours of temperatures around 50 F, but maybe not several days of it. Carcasses held at a desirable temperature of under 40 F may develop signs of spoilage if held there too long. Use good common sense, and keep an eye on the carcass for signs of spoilage, and the changing weather conditions.
Here are a few other things to keep in mind: * Undisturbed carcass muscles are virtually sterile, and bacteria growth occurs on the outside of the carcass where contamination has occurred through handling. Careful removal of the viscera and clean up of the abdominal cavity are important. If the hide remains on the deer, bacteria growth can only occur in the interior of the carcass and other exposed areas. Bacteria need moisture to grow, so as the carcass surface dries out, bacteria growth slows down.
* Deer will usually get well chilled during the always cool nights, and this will carry over and provide some measure of temperature control during the warmer days. To help prolong the low temperature in the carcass during daytime hours, store the deer on the north side of a building, or in a shed that has windows covered to prevent sunlight from coming in. Check the muscle of the deer with a clean stem thermometer to see what the internal temperature actually is.
* If a deer is to be processed primarily into ground meat and sausage, there is no reason to age. The fresher the meat, the better sausage or ground venison it will make.
Good luck to all the hunters, and let's hope for slightly cooler temperatures for the remainder of the gun season. The Nov. 15 forecast for Madison is for nightime lows around 30F, and highs around 50 F for the next two days -- a little warmer than we would like, but not the worst. Hunters choosing to age their deer may want to shorten up their usual aging period by several days.
Extension Meats Specialist
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