Camp Cooking and Game Processing Trade recipes and other tricks of the trade for cooking wild game.

Venison in Cooler?

Old 10-24-2020, 04:24 AM
  #1  
Typical Buck
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Default Venison in Cooler?

I live in the south and do not have a walk in cooler, nor is it cold enough to hang a deer. I have been putting my deer meat in a cooler with ice for years leaving in there for maybe a week, just ice and meat. For some reason this idea just dawned on me and I want to ask and see if anyone else has done this method. So while placing meat in cooler, has anyone used salt while icing and layering meat? I would think the salt added to the ice would be a good thing while its aging in the cooler. Any input would be great. Also, is there a difference between keeping the meat on the bone and not on the bone while in the cooler?? I have always de boned the meat so there are never any bones in the cooler while its on ice.

Thanks.

Last edited by JGFLHunter; 10-24-2020 at 05:02 AM.
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Old 10-24-2020, 05:03 AM
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I never have. I have used water and salt to soak squirrels in. Not even sure if that's necessary. Seems to pull the blood out.

When I've had meat packed in coolers I make sure to keep the water drained off.

I've done a couple longer drives with meat packed. Three days once. Meat did fine. But have to keep it drained.

Interested to hear if anybody else uses salt.

-Jake
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Old 10-24-2020, 05:32 AM
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I've been ice aging my venison in coolers for years. I put the quarters in the bottom of the cooler and throw a couple bags of ice on top of the meat. Put the cooler in a shaded place, prop one side up and open the drain so when the ice melts the water drains out. Depending on the temps you may need to add more ice to the cooler. As the ice melts it'll run the blood out of the meat. When you go to cutting it up it'll look like pork. Never have used salt on my venison but I do on pheasant, dove, quail and geese.
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Old 10-24-2020, 05:36 AM
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Is there a benefit to keep the meat on bone or it doesn't really matter? I have really never left meat on bone while doing this process.
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Old 10-24-2020, 06:10 AM
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The benefit would be a time thing. It's quicker to quarter it up and put it in a cooler then debone and butcher when you're ready to.

But if you have time, deboning it first helps cool it down quicker. Allot of people don't like cutting on warm meat. It handles and cuts more easily when it's cold.

-Jake
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Old 10-27-2020, 05:08 AM
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Do you have an extra fridge? I use Rubbermade busing trays that are food safe and have lids. Bone them out and into the fridge. On or off the bone doesn't matter, except off stores smaller.
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Old 11-14-2020, 01:00 AM
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Yeah, Their are several ways to use a good cooler, I break the deer down hanging from a tree and the quarters go in the cooler bone and all. I was told the bone makes the meat less dense and easier to cool, so it's not one solid chunk of meat. The trim meat and back straps go in ziploc bags and all of that gets iced down. I do use the cooler to age the deer at home until I can get it wrapped and frozen, it buys me time to cut a little up after work for a few days so I don't have to do it all at once. I add salt to the ice water slurry and change the water often. The salt is good so it's about the same salt content that's in the meat, osmosis from chemistry in school.
Dry ice tricks, If you have a good cooler you can do some tricks with dry ice for longer term transport and actually freeze or keep frozen in the cooler. For example, you can butcher the deer and use dry ice to freeze it in the cooler so it's frozen when you get home. Or if you can find a butcher to flash freeze it then you can keep in frozen for a week in the cooler with the use of dry ice, but again the cooler has to be a good one that does not leak much.
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Old 11-14-2020, 11:41 AM
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archeryrob, I'd be curious to hear more about that method. It sounds like you're able to home butcher with a minimum of added expenses. Used Fridges aren't that expensive.
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