How to Package Venison
How to Package Venison – Overview
Packaging or wrapping venison is a process that when done properly, will help you maintain the taste and quality of the meat for several months. After proper field dressing, it is important to take the necessary steps in order to preserve your meat to be enjoyed anytime of the year. In order to help you with this, we have compiled the following how-to which will teach you all there is to know about properly packaging your deer meat!
Items you will need to Package Venison
- Meat saw
- Set of sharp kitchen knives
- Freezer wrap freezer tape OR zippered freezer bags
Before Wrapping & Storing your Venison
First you will need to cut the venison meat up into manageable portions. Cut steaks from the upper hind legs to the desired thickness. Cut your roasts from the upper front legs, either bone-in by sawing off the piece you want, or boneless by cutting the various muscles away from the bone. The ribs should be cut into serving-size portions, using the meat saw. The loin can be cut into medallions. It is important to trim away all visible fat, as it is the fat that gives venison its “gamey” taste and smell.
Any remaining meat can be cut into cubes for stew or ground into hamburger. You don’t need to grind the hamburger right away, but refrigerate it and grind it with a few days to ensure freshness.
When your venison is neatly cut-up, gather enough for one meal preparation, for example, two-four steaks, one pound of cubes for stew, one three-pound roast, etc. When layering several steaks together it is helpful to place waxed paper between each piece. Place each meal-sized portion in a freezer bag, force out as much air as possible and seal, or you may wrap them in freezer paper this way.
Wrapping & Packaging Venison
For a tight seal, snugly wrap the cuts first in a layer of plastic wrap. Place the meat in the center of a generous piece of air-and-moisture-proof freezer paper. Bring two opposite edges together and fold down twice, tightly over the meat. Smooth the folded edges over the meat to force out the air, then fold the two remaining ends into triangles. Double fold the triangles, then fold them under the package and seal with freezer tape.
Take care to remove as much air as possible during wrapping because air is the cause of freezer burn. Freezer burn is not a safety risk but it dries out the meat and makes it inedible. If your thawed meat has burned areas, it is fine just to remove the affected part and prepare as usual.
Whether you use freezer bags or freezer paper it is important to label each package with the following information:
- The cut
- The weight and/or number of servings
- The date
Storing your Packaged Venison
The cuts will freeze faster if they are distributed throughout your freezer rather than piled up together. Quick-frozen deer meat will taste better! Frozen ground venison will store up to five months and steaks will store up to 12 months.