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Keeping Meat Cool

Old 08-27-2006, 11:40 PM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 32
Default Keeping Meat Cool

I've got a newbie question. I know it's important to get the meat cooled quickly to keep it from spoiling. When hunting in September, it can still be quite hot. If there was a spring nearby, would it hurt to put the animal (elk) in it to cool it down while you pack parts of it out, or would the water damage the meat?
Johnsonmi is offline  
Old 08-28-2006, 07:32 AM
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 75
Default RE: Keeping Meat Cool

I've read that it's not a good idea to use the spring water to help cool meat, reason being that there is bacteria in the water. Usually its cool enough in the high country to cool out the meat. Most inportant thing is to get the animal in the shade and field dress this gets rid of a lot of heat retaining volume, and keep body cavity open for fast cooling. Then quarter out/debone soon as posible. Nights in the high country are usually down in 30's or cooler plenty cool.
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Old 08-28-2006, 12:48 PM
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 218
Default RE: Keeping Meat Cool

i absolutely agree

don't put it in a spring

skin it out; place the skinned quarters in breathablecanvas meat bags (purchased at any good sporting-goods store) then place or hangin the shade

early is offline  
Old 08-28-2006, 01:04 PM
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Join Date: Oct 2003
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Default RE: Keeping Meat Cool


Our area is still running around 85-90 degrees during the day. Not sure what it gets down to at night.
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Old 08-28-2006, 11:26 PM
Nontypical Buck
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Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Idaho
Posts: 2,072
Default RE: Keeping Meat Cool

85-90 is too hot even in the shade for too long, if it is not bagged properly, you will be covered with blow flies in no time. If I were posed with this problem, as I have in the past, The creek was the only other option. I used it. Which is the worse of 2 eveils, loose the meat to the heat, or put it in the water??????

Bacteria in the water will promote growth at a rapid pace IF there is heat invloved, so if the meat does go into the water, pack it out early before it can heat back up. Any other bacteria that is on the meat that does not cause it to spoil, will be killed when cooking properly.

The meat that we take from the stream and ice down before butchering will yeild a higher percentage in the end as the dried silverskin does not have to be trimmed when cutting.

In any case, make sure that you do a clean job of boning. Any stomach matter should be kept off the meat. I like to use different knives for different tasks when cutting up elk, for the fact that my boning knives stay as sterile as I can keep them.

Another tip is to take a poncho with you, if you are not using it for the rain, it is nice to lay next to the animal to keep the meat bags on and to keep the dirt off. Get ready for the yellow jackets, they can come in force. Good luck to you. I leave tomorrow for the first 6 days of elk season!!!!!
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Old 08-30-2006, 02:00 AM
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 148
Default RE: Keeping Meat Cool

I read once on this board someone said to take a couple milk containers, fill them with water and freeze them, then stick them in the carcass to cool.
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Old 08-30-2006, 11:22 AM
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Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Cheyoming
Posts: 870
Default RE: Keeping Meat Cool

I'd keep it out of the water! Eboli(?) Ecoli(?) . . . whatever it is, it will make ya poop funny if you drink it. BUT . . . if you can, hang it in the shade near or even over a creek because it will definately be cooler there. Also, obviously, skin it, quarter it, andeven bone it out if you can or know how. And by all means, put it in game bags (quarters). Sometimes skinning it right away is not an option, especially if you have to "drag" it out of the woods. I try to bring enough water from home to wash meat off, but I never dosoak it in water.
I'm not of the school that believes meat goes bad all that fast if you take some of the above precausions. Remember, they age beef for several days until it gets slimmy. Wild game benefits a lot from aging as well.
Ultimately, all you can do is the best you can do.
A lot of guys like to "show off" their harvest and hang the whole thing from a tree with the hide still on it. I'd rather eat it than look at it.
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Old 08-30-2006, 11:49 AM
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 309
Default RE: Keeping Meat Cool

I read this one in outdoor life magazine; You quarter your deer, put in in game bags. Then put them in garbage bags and insert some plastic tubing in the end for air and tie the garbage bags with the tube sticking out. Then you can submerge the quarters into a lake to keep them cool. The tube lets air in and the internal game bags keep flys out. It is for temporary only but could buy you some time untill it is cool enough to pack out. Good lick!
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Old 08-30-2006, 04:16 PM
Typical Buck
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 590
Default RE: Keeping Meat Cool

If you're going to use a stream to cool meat, please put it in a garbage bag first. I have done this once. I recommend putting it in the stream in big garbage bags in shade in the heat of the day, IF NEEDED. Then take it out during the cool hours, out of the water AND out of the garbage bags. (It's generally a bad idea to put meat in garbage bags.)

I once put in my backstrap and tenderloin cuts in the water w/o protecting them, and returned in horror to find all the color leached out of the meat. It wassickening blond color. A few hours out of the water and the normal coloring came back.

Anyhow, the meat really doesn't have to be submerged, just a little flow of water underneath will do the trick. I put it more on the cool, mossy rocks with just a small percentage of the underside touching actual water.

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Old 08-30-2006, 04:50 PM
Nontypical Buck
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Back in good ole mormonville...
Posts: 2,431
Default RE: Keeping Meat Cool

Another thing to assist with the fly/bacteria problem is to get a citric acid mix and spray it onto the meat. It lowers the pH level to a point where it kills bacteria and fly larvae.
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