[Sca-cooks] Fwd: [PSG] Preservation & Preparation of Meat
phlip at 99main.com
Wed Sep 5 13:04:08 PDT 2007
Just picked this up from the primitive skills group. Thought it was a
very interesting take on aging meats.
HANGING/ AGING MEAT is something I have experimented with a lot but
still cannot give rules about... Books will tell about standard aging
of slaughtered dressed beef, wrapped in a wet sheet or plastic or
kept in high humidity, hanging for a week at least at 40 degrees,
basically refridgerator temp. This is certainly sound practice for
larger livestock. To begin with it lets the rigor mortis wear off the
meat before you freeze it, which makes a huge difference in the
However there are other forms of aging: In Europe hunters hang
pheasant, hare or other small game WITH THE GUTS STILL INSIDE until
the feathers start to fall off or the belly turns blue. Yes I l know
this sounds gross but I tell you when you cut that animal open tall
he guts come out in one package and the meat has the most heavenly
smell---- ! Enzymes inside the flesh of intact unskinned small game
are gradually digesting it as it ages, just like ripening fruit.
However, the drawback to this degree of aging is that enzyme
activity cannot be stopped by a freezer--- therefore once you age
meat like this you have to cook it within a few days of when it gets
good and "high" I have put a bunch of rabbits in the freezer, cut and
warpped after they had "aged" till their bellies turned blue, and
they contuned to "age" in the freezer and were pretty much purple six
months later and not tasty, not good, but like over- ripe fruit. The
enzymes basically "cook" it, break it down. This happens to some
degree even in standard aging as above. But I am a great believer in
hanging your fresh WHOLE kills in an old fridge for up to two weeks.
Try it and discover amazing flavors, like fine wine. No
Kidding. Hanging is an art and you have to use your own judgement
with it, like cooking.
A third alternative, which I have done a lot, is indeed to wait
for cooler weather and then let my sheep carcasses sit for up to two
weeks at 40- 50 degrees outside. Its okay if the weather creeps up
to 60 for a day or down below freezing. Yes they do get moldy, a thin
white layer just along the spine usually. I do indeed gut these
first, but I don't skin them, and I don't really bleed them out all
that carefully. They just lie around the garage until one by one I
get them all cut up and wrapped and frozen. If the legs get a little
purple and stinky where exposed to air, I cut that off. Everything
covered by skin will be perfect, sweet and tender.
Now there is a traditional Skandinavian way of building a windy
shed like a corn crib in which to keep carcasses all winter, and into
spring--- just shaving off the mold and eating the somewhat dry,
somewhat chilled meat as you need it. This aged lamb is called
"skerpigjot" but I have never found any info on it except a photo in
an old National Geographic about Norway !
Incidentally on the subject of LONG PIG ( human meat) there is a
HILARIOUS treatment of this subject in a short "true" story by Mark
Twain called "Cannibalism in the Cars." This is probably on Project
Gutenberg as a downloadable text file, but I recently listened to it
on my computer as an MP3 in a recording available free from Librivox,
a great resource for classic literature, read aloud. Here is a direct
link to that page:
Heat it up
Hit it hard
Repent as necessary.
It's the smith who makes the tools, not the tools which make the smith.
Denial of evidence is not refutation of evidence.
Blessed be the self-righteous, for they shall inherit themselves.
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