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How long to soak deer

Old 10-31-2008, 10:03 AM
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Default RE: How long to soak deer

I disagree. I always soak my wild game in a salt water bath before cooking. It is sometimes tender enough to cut with a fork. I think it depends on the cut of meat, diet of the animal, and condition of the animal - (young or old).

I understand salt dries, but it doesn't seem to effect the game I cook.

I butcher into large pieces and freeze. Before cooking I cut the large pieces into steaks or cubes, soak, and cook. The large pieces reduce the exposed area that can burn in the freezer.

Bob R.
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Old 10-31-2008, 05:12 PM
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Default RE: How long to soak deer

ORIGINAL: hossdaniels

ORIGINAL: RyanATiffany

ORIGINAL: ydduit

ORIGINAL: 2 Lunger


yep, i also add some salt. it's supposed to help draw out the blood. for me it usually ends up to soak for 5 or 6 days by the time i can find the time to cut it up. with that said, one of the ways i like to tell how long to soak it is when the water that you drain starts to come out clear. the more blood that you can get out of the meat the better IMHO.
How many of you guys add salt to your meat while soaking or cooking??? Do you realize this is the worst thing you can do to meat? I know this is an age old method, but salt makes any meat immediately tough. Ask any butcher what salt does to meat and he will give you this same answer.
I second that!!!

If you need to salt your meat, do so after it is cooked! Salting prior to or while cooking only draws the moisture out of the meat resulting in dryer and tougher meat.
I'll be the third! I won't even salt hamburgers or steaks or chicken for that matter. It dries it out.

I'll apologize in advance for a scientific explanation of why for those who don't want to hear about it. I'm a chemist so I'm weird to begin with but we chemists have a fondness for explaining things. First of all, when roads freeze what do put on them to thaw them out? Salt. It lowers the freezing point of water. With dihydrogen monoxide (water, H2O), when you lower the freezing point you also lower the boiling point. At the boiling point water becomes steam and evaporates. When you introduce salt to the meat (more than what would naturally be in there) it causes more of the water to evaporate more quickly, thus drying out the meat exponentially faster than normal.

This is also why it seems like adding salt to a pot of water that you are trying to boil makes it boil faster. It does boil faster, but it's not because it accepts the heat better, it's just easier to reach the lower boiling point because it takes less energy to do so. The bad part is if you're boiling the water to cook and kill off any bacteria you want to have more heat to kill off ALL of the bacteria. To be safer keep the salt out until the end for the best results. You'll also get better tasting, juicier meat!

I gotta call B.S. on your explanation. Salt added to water does lower the freezing point.Salt added towaterRAISES the boiling point, though usually not enough for anynoticable differencein cooking applications. Back to class jr.
DING! DING! DING! We have a winner! Not me! Back to school and back to sleep! 4.5 hours in the last 3 days. I'm a zombie right now and was last night. I also sent a couple emails that didn't make sense too apparently because I just got those. I'm about to start rambling again...
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Old 10-31-2008, 06:23 PM
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Default RE: How long to soak deer

I've used the ice chest/soak method the last couple years. It sounds like a lot of people haven't heard of it, but it is a good way to treat your meat if you can't dry-age it in a walk-in cooler. I generally quarter the deer, cutting it into manageble sized pieces and put them in coolers, filled with ice. I then add ice and drain water as necessary for 3-4 days. I like to have some water in there to help pull the blood out of the meat.

Since I've started doing this, I've noticed that the meat is noticeably more tender and it eliminates any gamey taste from the meat. None of the guys I hunt with do this, but I read about it in a venison recipie book and decided I would try it- that's all I do now.
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Old 10-31-2008, 07:40 PM
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Default RE: How long to soak deer

I tried the ice soaking for a couple of days, I pretty much do it all the time just cause I cant get to the final proccesing that day. to me it really doesnt do anything. When I start cutting into steaks there still lots of blood. The water just doesnt get into the center of a hind or the center of any meat.
Hanging in a cooler or in cold weather works much better, its more of a drying-aging process. Butchers do beef this way, not in a cooler of ice.
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Old 11-01-2008, 12:06 AM
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Default RE: How long to soak deer

i have never soaked any meat,i did have some that was it didnt tast bad ,but its not for me.i have aged meat in the fridge and let it hang outside you cant let it get above 38 or below 34 and dont go over 7 days.or it can tast funny
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Old 11-02-2008, 08:29 PM
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Default RE: How long to soak deer

I have heard of this but have yet to try it. Do you soak it in the cooler quarter or actually fully butchered? That is..back straps, tenderloins.....etc...already trimmed....
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Old 11-02-2008, 09:59 PM
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Default RE: How long to soak deer

Doesn't soaking it create negative bacteria?
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Old 11-03-2008, 06:51 AM
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Default RE: How long to soak deer

Every one does it at the grocery store. Most everything you buy,chickens, thankgiving turkeys, walmart steaks. If it doesn't say 100% natural, with no additives, then its been soaked in a brine solution(fancy talk for salt water, maybe some sugar in there too). Helps to keep the meat juicy during cooking. I dont know how, but it does work. I've soaked my boston butts for 24 hrs in 1 cup salt, 1 cup brown sugar, one gallon water for long as I can remember. Never thought about deer but wil be trying in a couple weeks when i get a deer. I think its got something to do with osmosis, maybe ryan tiffany could help me out on that.
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Old 11-03-2008, 07:22 AM
Join Date: Mar 2008
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Default RE: How long to soak deer

I've never heard of soaking in salt water in all of the books I've read about caring for and butchering game. My guess is it's the way things are (were) done in the south where it's impossible to find a place < 50° for hanging.

I did read a new one to me this year, from the Colorado Division of Wildlife. They say that aging is a process that works with fat, and since big game haslittle fataging it just reduces storage. They say no way, do not age game. Other books I have on the subject have a nice little graph showing rigormortis vs. aging time at different temperatures and suggest a week to 10 days.

I always hang animals if it's < 50° in my barn. Maybe because I'm too damn tired to start a butcher job after a full day of hunting and field dressing!
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Old 11-03-2008, 09:37 AM
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Default RE: How long to soak deer


If you have a gamey taste, its not from blood in the meat or lack of aging.
More apt to be from attempts at aging, bad field dressing, rutting buck, not cooling fast enough.
Put 2 properly prepared deer steaks in front of someone - one "aged" and the other dressed,skinned, cut and froze in 24 hours.
Most will pick the 2nd.

I have to admit that my father used to hang the meat for at least a couple of days in Illinois. The meat was always very strong, even when he would get a small one, and we usually would turn it into nothing but sausage and jerky. My in-laws always butcher and process the deer within a couple of hours of death. We (there are four of us) can have a deer processed and in the freezer within four hours. The meat is always very good, even with an older rutting buck, and is so versatile in usage as well. We do soak the meat inicy water for a couple of hours before we prepare to cook it to draw any remaining blood out. This is also done during the few hours it takes to process the deer as well. Of course, I do this with any wild game, even with squirrels.

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