Deboning meat

I read in "Elk Hunting Secrets" that if you debone meat before it has a chance to cool down it can be rubbery. Is this true? Do you debone your meat right away? What would be the period of time to wait before deboning?

Comments for Deboning meat

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Aug 09, 2011
married well
by: Jarrod

You certainly did marry well, Dave!

Aug 18, 2009
Deboning Elk
by: Dave

I wanted to make an additional comment about deboning in the field. Now that I have a Lo-Boy Transporter (game hauler), I can get it back in just about anywhere and am now just quartering elk to load them on the cart, instead of carrying the meat on my back. That keeps more meat in larger pieces to avoid evaporation. Again, it depends on how cool it is and how fast I can get it home. My wife usually has an elk that has been quartered wrapped and in the freezer in 4 to 6 hours after arrival home, if it's not too late in the day. I married well! :o)

If you're interested in a Lo-Boy Transporter click here The guy's number who makes them is there toward the bottom of the page.

Aug 17, 2009
De-boning Elk in the Field
by: Dave

Great question! The passage in Elk Hunting Secrets explains correctly that de-boning it in the field helps to cool your meat quickly, but the drawback is that it will also lose some moisture, through evaporation. The more moisture that is lost, the more potential for toughness (rubbery texture).

For that reason, I would recommend leaving the pieces as large as feasible to limit this moisture loss. Incidentally, double wrapping it will limit moisture loss in the freezer. One layer of butcher paper is not enough. Of course, if it is de-boned in the field, the idea is to get it cut and wrapped as soon as possible.

I prefer to get the elk carcass home whole, but sometimes that is not feasible. Obviously, sometimes it's much easier to carry out the meat when it is de-boned and cut into manageable pieces. Also, leaving it whole does not allow it to cool quickly. So, you have to balance the risks. Choose between the potential for some cuts being tougher, or for spoilage.

I can tell you that I have cut up many elk in the field and had very tasty and tender cuts come from it. The potentially tougher cuts of meat may be the ones that end up chewy while the tender cuts from the back roasts remain nice and tender, if handled quickly and properly. So, use moist cooking methods for tough cuts (stew, fry or pressure cook, etc.) regardless of how you process the carcass.

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