Hanging Venison improves taste and tenderness

Aging is the process of holding meat carcasses or cuts at a temperature of 34 - 36 F degrees for 7-10 days to allow enzymes to break down some of the complex proteins in the meat. Aging must be done before the venison is frozen.

This process is not necessary if the meat is to be ground for burger or sausage, but it is reported to increase the flavor and tenderness of the other cuts of venison.

If the outside temperature is below 40 F, the deer may be aged outside. It is preferable, however to use a well ventilated, clean storage building which is free from odors that might transfer to the meat. This method is more likely to keep dogs and other animals from disturbing the carcass. Wrapping the carcass in a clean sheet or cheesecloth will also help keep the meat free from foreign matter.

Be sure that the meat does not freeze during the aging process as this will toughen the meat. Repeated freezing and thawing, such as freezing at night and thawing during the day, will speed spoilage.

If the outside temperature is above 40 F, or rises above that temperature at any time during the aging process, skin the deer, cut it into quarters, and continue the aging process under refrigeration, either in the home refrigerator or a commercial processor’s.

Aging is not recommended if the carcass has little or no fat on it as the meat will most likely dry out during the aging process. Young animals will not need to be aged as they will not have developed their muscles to the extent that an older deer will have.

Cut off as much of the fat as possible to reduce gamey flavor (other types of fat may be added while grinding: up to 2 lbs. of beef fat to 10 lbs. of venison. Add up to one ounce of sausage seasoning to 3lbs. of venison.

If game is shot during warm weather and not chilled rapidly, it should not be aged at all, but go directly to processing.

Busboom, J., Raab, C., Sanchez, D., 2010. Big Game from Hunt to Home.
A Pacific Northwest Extension Publication; Oregon State University, University of Idaho,
Washington State University; PNW 517
Jopp, L. (2004) Savor the Deer Hunt – Keep the Venison Safe. University of Minnesota Food Safety Education & Research Reynolds, A.E., Christian, J.A. (2004). Venison from Field to Table: Getting the Most Out of Your Deer.

Cooking and Recipies

Venison and Vegetable Stir-Fry

Stir up your regular venison routine with this venison and vegetable stir-fry.


  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons white wine
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 pound venison, tenderized
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 10 green onions, chopped
  • 1 cup morel or button mushrooms, sliced
  • 5 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 3 cups broccoli and green peppers, chopped
  • Hot cooked rice


Stir together water, soy sauce, wine and cornstarch for marinade. Pound venison cuts with a meat tenderizer and cut into 1/2-inch pieces. Mix meat with half the marinade. Refrigerate 30 minutes, remove and drain. Heat oil in wok or large skillet. Stir-fry onions, mushrooms, vegetables and garlic. Remove from wok or skillet. Add venison to hot pan. Stir-fry until done. Push meat to center and add remaining marinade. Cook until thick, then add vegetables to coat. Serve on cooked rice. Serves 4.

Curtisey of Missouri Department of Conservation.

Get more awesome recipies at http://mdc.mo.gov/discover-nature/cooking