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Author Topic: Freezing meat before butchering?  (Read 821 times)

Offline Nwgunner

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Freezing meat before butchering?
« on: November 23, 2017, 10:05:23 AM »
Since we will be leaving town for thanksgiving is it OK to put a quartered deer in a chest freezer, then re-hang and thaw before taking to the butcher.  I'm not sure about the freeze, thaw, freeze and what that will do to the meat.

Offline boneaddict

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Re: Freezing meat before butchering?
« Reply #1 on: November 23, 2017, 10:08:24 AM »
Ive done it naturally multiple times.   Used to hang deer in November in Twisp.   I killed a deer on the late hunt when it was 20 below zero.  It was froze solid by morning.    Froze my moose out in the woods in AK then drove home.    Meat was all good.
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Offline Skillet

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Re: Freezing meat before butchering?
« Reply #2 on: November 23, 2017, 10:17:38 AM »
Why not just age in a fridge for the weekend?  Improper (slow) freezing is hard on meat, causing damage to the cell wall structure. Makes it tough.

 If you must freeze, the quicker you can freeze it the better.  Cut it in half or quarters to increase surface area to mass if you can.

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Offline Sitka_Blacktail

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Re: Freezing meat before butchering?
« Reply #3 on: November 23, 2017, 11:37:32 AM »
Hunting in Alaska, have many times had deer freeze solid from the weather while on hunting trips. Don't remember ever having a problem with the meat because of it. Skinning is tough when dealing with a frozen animal though.

I spent a couple winters trapping and hunting on Afognak Island near Kodiak and we had an extra wall tent we kept supplies in and would hang our deer in there too. We'd skin them right away and then they'd eventually freeze which helped keep them for a longer period. We'd take a hacksaw and cut off what we wanted to eat and thaw it in the main tent which had a wood stove.  When meat was getting low, we'd shoot another deer and hang it. The second year the limit was 7 deer and the season ran until Jan 31. That was probably the peak year ever for deer in the Kodiak area.
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Offline jackelope

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Re: Freezing meat before butchering?
« Reply #4 on: November 23, 2017, 01:17:39 PM »
My tucannon buck I killed a while back froze solid before I could get it home. Meat was fine. 


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Offline Skillet

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Re: Freezing meat before butchering?
« Reply #5 on: November 23, 2017, 01:54:27 PM »
I should clarify my point, since I totally geek out on the protein freezing thing as it's directly related to my livelihood.

Freezing will always change cell structure, to a degree.  How much it affects the quality to a degree that is noticed by those who eat it is based on many variables, and without a control of unfrozen meat from the same animal it is virtually impossible to know how much the quality has been affected.  But it has been - again, to a degree, and based on many variables.

Since we usually can't eat a whole deer within the few days of the ideal "aged but not spoiled" window, freezing is usually necessary.  The science behind freezing flesh tells us that the quicker you can freeze it, the less cell wall structure is compromised, and the more water is retained in the cells.  Less retained moisture = tougher meat, all else being equal. This is a simplification of the principals at play, of course, but they do apply.
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Offline Nwgunner

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Re: Freezing meat before butchering?
« Reply #6 on: November 23, 2017, 02:19:57 PM »
Thanks for everyone’s input.  I know it’s not ideal but since I got the deer yesterday and being the Holliday I had no chance to get him to the butcher.  Good to know that the meat won’t be affected in a major way.

Offline NRA4LIFE

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Re: Freezing meat before butchering?
« Reply #7 on: November 23, 2017, 02:31:19 PM »
Not a problem whatsoever.  I grew up hunting in northern Wisconsin and most years our hung deer were frozen solid.  A 2 day thaw in the basement and we butchered them.  I thaw out meat all year to grind into burger or make sausages and then refreeze. 
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Offline MikeCass

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Re: Freezing meat before butchering?
« Reply #8 on: November 24, 2017, 06:31:51 AM »
Not a problem whatsoever.  I grew up hunting in northern Wisconsin and most years our hung deer were frozen solid.  A 2 day thaw in the basement and we butchered them.  I thaw out meat all year to grind into burger or make sausages and then refreeze.

Glad I found this thread. I was about to ask the same thing. :)

Offline grundy53

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Re: Freezing meat before butchering?
« Reply #9 on: November 24, 2017, 09:56:06 AM »
Your meat will be fine.

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Offline dscubame

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Re: Freezing meat before butchering?
« Reply #10 on: January 05, 2018, 09:22:26 PM »
Freeze away.  All good.
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