If you have ever bought venison, you might wonder how to tell if it is bad. The answer is that venison is often mistaken for beef, and the best way to avoid eating it is to follow certain guidelines when preparing it. This article will discuss some of the most important tips to keep in mind when buying venison, from storage to cooking, and how to tell if it has gone bad.
Before cooking venison, make sure it is thoroughly thawed. Veal stored at room temperature can spoil easily due to its protein and fat content. However, it can be eaten after about three days when stored properly. When storing venison in the freezer, keep it in the coldest part of the refrigerator – preferably the bottom shelf near the back of the fridge. Also, venison should be covered in plastic or vacuum packed.
What is Venison?
Venison, which refers to deer meat in general, became more popular among American diners as commercial ranching grew popular. Pasture-raised venison lacks the “gaminess” associated with hunted deer, and it’s making its way onto restaurant menus all around the country, raising culinary awareness. Thanks to its short, thin muscle fibers, deer flesh is powerful but soft, with a smooth feel.
Don’t overcook venison because it’s relatively lean, or you’ll wind up with a dried-out piece of meat. The grill is great for grilling venison steaks because of the intense heat and quick cooking times. Because venison has low-fat content, it adheres to the grill, so lightly oil the steaks before placing them on the hot grill. While venison steaks can be marinated ahead of time, they don’t require much flavor enhancement.
How to Tell if Venison is Bad?
Here are some easy signs to tell if venison is gone bad:
- The temperature of a deer when it is slaughtered is significant in determining whether the meat is good or terrible. At the harvest time, veal meat should be at least 70 degrees Fahrenheit or lower if dogs hunt it. Bacteria and other germs thrive in meat that is heated above this temperature. However, the meat should be refrigerated after chopping because meat spoils fast at temperatures below 40 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Venison can spoil if it’s too old to cook. It’s preferable to toss it after six months, but venison sitting in the fridge for a while should be handled with care. Cooking rotten meat kills bacteria but doesn’t get rid of the poisons. After preparing venison, use antibacterial cleaning agents on the surfaces and cut boards.
- The stench of decaying venison is sometimes compared to that of sewage. Look for a distinct stench that gets more evident as the meat thaws to determine if it has gone rotten. The next step is to check for mold development after determining how long it’s been in storage. Because there are no preservatives in decaying meat, you should avoid cooking it in the refrigerator.
- Aside from analyzing the color and flavor, it’s also good to keep an eye on the temperature. Venison’s color can alter as it ages, and it has the potential to form a discolored crust. If there is a crust on the surface, remove it before cooking. Venison is often smooth, and it has most likely been spoilt if it isn’t. The meat may also have a foul odor and a slimy texture.
Finally, keep the meat out of direct sunlight. If venison is left in the sun for an extended time, it will spoil quickly. Keep it cool and dry in a dark location. It’ll be less prone to spoil this way. Also, don’t forget to season your meals with salt, as this will cause the meat to rot. So, keep these guidelines in mind the next time you want to enjoy some venison. They’ll help you have a more enjoyable and nutritious evening. So, could you not put it off any longer?
How to Store Venison?
Here are different methods to store venison:
Refrigerating Venison Meat
If you intend to eat the deer you harvested within one to three days following the kill, you can refrigerate the components of the deer you intend to cook. If you choose this storage option, you must dress the animal properly and carefully. Failure to properly field dress your venison can result in meat contamination, one of the most prevalent hunting mistakes. It is critical to refrigerate venison as soon as possible to achieve optimum outcomes. According to experts, venison should be refrigerated within 3 to 4 hours following field dressing and even sooner if the ambient temperature is above 45-50 degrees. This will lessen the likelihood of spoiling.
Another option for storing venison is to can it? If you decide to can some of the deer meat you’ve gathered, select high-quality cuts and chill them first. Remove any excess fat that can affect the meat’s flavor, then soak the little pieces in a brine solution for an hour. 1 tablespoon of salt per quart of water should be used to make this brine solution. After an hour of soaking, clean the meat thoroughly and remove any large bones. Venison can be canned in two ways: hot or raw packs. For the optimum liquid cover and quality during storage, the hot pack is the preferable option. This is the case because the natural fat and fluids in today’s thinner meat cuts are frequently insufficient to cover most of the meat in raw packets.
Hot Pack Canning
If you’re using the hot pack canning method, precook the deer meat until rare by roasting, stewing, or browning in a little quantity of fat. If desired, season the jar with one teaspoon of salt per quart once it has been boiled. Fill jars halfway with venison chunks and top with boiling broth, meat drippings, water, or tomato juice, allowing 1-inch headroom at the top (particularly with wild game). Then, when canning any other food, adjust the lids.
Raw Pack Canning
When using raw pack canning, add two tablespoons of salt per quart to each jar you plan to use. This will aid in the meat’s flavor and preservation. Then carefully pack the raw meat pieces into the jars, leaving 1 inch of headspace. There is no need to add any more liquid. After that, adjust the lids as you would for any other food you’re canning.
Should you Freeze Deer Meat?
If you want to keep your venison safe for consumption for a long time, the best option is to freeze it until you’re ready to consume it. Use the checklist below to properly freeze venison to guarantee that you do it right and get the best results.
- Butcher the deer. After the deer has been field-dressed, the next step is to butcher the deer into the desired pieces of meat. If you have never butchered a deer before, you may want to ask an expert to do it for you, although many how-to websites can walk you through the process.
- Trim the fat from the meat. It would be best to trim the fat off of the deer meat before freezing. This can be a laborious process, but it is well worth it. We say this because the fat will go rancid much quicker than the meat, and that rancid fat can ruin the meat to which it is attached. Fat also contains most of the “gamey” taste that turns some people off eating venison and other games.
- Wrap the various cuts of meat in plastic. When wrapping the various cuts of meat you have prepared, be sure to use freezer wrap or packaging made for freezer use. Put, the better the packaging, the better the venison preserved. First, you will want to wrap the meat very tightly in plastic wrap for the best results. This will keep as much air out as possible. If you have a vacuum sealer and the required vacuum-packed bags, these would be ideal for this process, but plastic freezer wrap will work in a pinch.
- Wrap the various cuts of meat in butcher paper. After the venison has been wrapped in plastic or sealed using vacuum-packed bags, the next step is to wrap the meat with butcher paper. Butcher paper—the type made for use in the freezer—is both moisture-proof and vapor-proof, preventing moisture from getting into the meat and preventing any vapors from escaping. This will lead to better-preserved meat remaining in the freezer for longer periods. Be sure to seal the butcher paper very thoroughly using moisture-resistant tape.
- Label and date the meat. Once the venison is tightly wrapped in plastic and then butcher paper, you will want to label and date each package. Labeling the packages will allow you to choose just the right cuts of deer meat for the dish you are planning to prepare without having to unwrap each package and look within. Dating the packages will allow you to monitor how long each package has been in the freezer.
- Place the deer meat in the freezer. After completing all of the freezer preparation steps, you will need to put the venison packages into the freezer quickly. Deer meat should be frozen at 0 degrees F or below. Do not freeze more than four cubic pounds of meat per cubic foot of freezer space within 24 hours. If your home freezer does not have the space to allow you to freeze the venison in this manner—to spread the packages out—you should take the wrapped meat to a processing plant or meat locker for quick freezing.
What Happens if you Eat Spoiled Venison Meat?
You may have stomach pain, nausea, and diarrhea if you eat questionable meat that turns out to be spoiled. The worst-case scenario, on the other hand, is death. Bacteria like Escherichia coli and salmonella thrive in rotten meat.
Tips for Field Dressing
Here are the tips for field dressing:
- To reduce the risk of exposure to disease, wear disposable gloves while handling deer.
- Use clean water, premoistened wipes, or alcohol swabs to clean the knife frequently or between cuts to avoid dragging bacteria into the meat.
- Place the deer on its back, elevate its front legs, and spread its hind legs. Support the carcass in this position with rocks or sticks.
- Cut around the anus to loosen the bung so it will come out when the entrails are removed. Tying off the bung with rope, cord,
or rubber bands will prevent feces from contacting the carcass during removal.
- Using a clean knife, cut along the midline from the breastbone to the genitals. Cut by lifting the skin and muscle together.
- Avoid cutting the abdomen and intestines; bacteria associated with foodborne illness may be found in these organs.
- Do not consume meat from this carcass if the organs smell offensive or exhibit greenish discharge, black blood, or blood clots in the muscle. Discard the carcass properly.
- Cut the diaphragm free from the rib cage.
- Cut the windpipe and gullet at the base of the throat.
- Pull out the lungs, heart, and entrails. Place a variety of meats in a plastic storage bag and store on ice or refrigerate as soon as possible.
Always trim away any silver skin or fat that protects the meat when choosing venison for dinner. These pieces are unpleasant to eat, so be sure to remove them. You’ll be able to taste the meat this way. Silver skin, sucklings, and deer fat will be absent from a nice venison steak. This is why some people refer to it as “gamey” in the first place.
Once you’ve opted to prepare the meat, keep in mind that it won’t be good if you have to wait too long for it to deteriorate. You’ve already spent so much time looking for it. Hopefully, you’ll find it enjoyable! You may be confident that it will taste better than when you cooked venison. If the deer is still alive, you should remove the horns to prevent the meat from decomposing further.
Drying venison is one of the oldest methods of food preservation, and it keeps venison in good shape for a long period without freezing. Venison carcasses should be hung in low-humidity environments, as high humidity and moisture encourage fungal and bacterial growth. Do not, however, wash the carcass and rub the meat with a salt-and-vinegar combination.