PDA

View Full Version : Need Advice! Recommendations on meat storage in the field


globemaster3
December 30, 2008, 09:49 PM
I need some advice on meat storage in the field and am looking for advice from those with experience. Here's my situation.

I got an incredible opportunity to take my 12yo out to a ranch to cull some does and kill off some of the feral hog population in TX. I am driving there and back and staying in a sparsely stocked house on the ranch. 4-day trip, the first and last days are travel. Temps are highs in the 60s, lows in the 30s, so I cannot let it hang.

My concern is the meat. I have not stored meat this long in coolers and want to ensure I don't ruin it. I plan to bring heavy duty plastic bags to pack the quarters into and as a water barrier in the coolers to prevent the melted ice water from soaking the meat. I planned to use just regular ice, but should I consider dry ice? Would it freeze the meat and cause problems later? I plan to deliver it to a processor where I live now when I return.

Thanks for the help.

Swampghost
December 30, 2008, 10:04 PM
Down here we gut and pack the cavity with ice bags to get the cooling process started, you don't get much time when the temps are 70-80*s.

I use a big (fish box) size cooler and contractors (3 Mil) bags. Dry ice will burn the meat if in direct contact, about 3/8" of newspaper is enough between the two to prevent it. I've never had a problem with regular ice and a decent cooler.

armedtotheteeth
December 30, 2008, 10:25 PM
I leave hogs in a big cooler on the porch for up to a week before trimming the meat off the bone and freezing. Done probably 50 or so in the last 2 years. I just happen to live in West Texas too.

globemaster3
December 30, 2008, 11:50 PM
Thanks for the info.

Swampy, I know where you're coming from. Did the same thing down there (I'm a FL native). But, we always broke the meat down and froze it, same day, so long term wasn't a concern. Not sure where you're at, but I learned to deer/hog hunt in Bull Creek WMA.

And thanks ATTT for the info. What you're suggesting is exactly what I was planning to do!

Gbro
December 31, 2008, 12:22 AM
My freezer and generator go west with me.
It works well in both directions. The steaks are frozen and put into a cooler that is then put into the freezer. :cool:

globemaster3
December 31, 2008, 12:28 AM
Wow, that's something I would not have thought of but would work great. Unforrtunately, not an option for me this trip d2 limited space to haul my upright. I might consider that in the future if I could find a smaller one!

texfar
December 31, 2008, 06:13 AM
I have gone for up to a week and more easy and take those huge marine coolers on my trailer. My opinion is chipped ice is the best if you can find it. I leave the drain open on the cooler, putting a small board to keep it tipped toward the drain and made kinda like a short pallet thing for the bottom to keep anything out of the water, should there be any build up. I check it every day and top off ice as required and add meat as required. One of the coolers is for getting the meat down in temp quick then is transferred to the cold meat coolers. Never had a problem with deer and hogs. By the way, when full of meat and Ice, don't try and pick it up or you can/did break the handles and seperated the side on one. HEAVY!!! Have fun. OH!!!!check out the price of dry ice and how much you would need for large coolers = fortune! At least where I live.
Ken

Bitmap
December 31, 2008, 10:17 AM
Anyone try dry ice for this?

Use a number of big, portable coolers. Quarter the animal and put some dry ice in each cooler. You wouldn't need much dry ice in each cooler. Too much in a cooler would freeze the meat before you processed it, but when/where it's really cold during hunting season I'd think you would have the same issue.

I use dry ice to keep mine frozen for the trip home after the meat is processed, but at that point the meat is already frozen solid and I'm trying to keep it that way.

simonkenton
December 31, 2008, 03:50 PM
You can do what I do at my own house. My deer stand is 100 yards from my front porch.
I quarter the deer and put the meat in a big cooler on the porch. Then I put in 10 pounds of ice. When that melts, 10 more pounds. That much ice will take care of a big deer, still be plenty of ice left.
No need to separate the meat from the water with plastic. In fact I have added a gallon of water, and put a half cup of salt in it, to help draw blood from the meat. It does not harm the meat to soak it in water for 5 or 6 days.
On other occasions I just use ice and do not add water, works about as well either way.
I routinely keep deer this way for 4 or 5 days before I process them.
Once kept one for a week, no problem.
I mean that deer on ice is going to be about 33 to 35 degrees, lots colder than a refrigerator. After all, high quality beef is "aged" in a refrigerator for a month prior to processing.

I would not mess with dry ice, it is so cold it is liable to freeze the meat, plus, expensive.

crowbeaner
December 31, 2008, 07:26 PM
Why not rent a small U-Haul trailer to carry a small freezer and generator? The freezer can be purchased at Wally World for about $150. If you have access to a portable generator you can freeze the quarters and bring them back to your favorite butcher when you come home. Just make sure you park where you can see the rig, and don't all leave the rig unattended when you take the potty breaks. You'd be surprised how much meat it takes to fill a small freezer if it's boned out.

Gbro
December 31, 2008, 07:26 PM
Some other benefits of taking the freezer.

1. give incentive to use up everything in it or give it away before season.
2. need not bother with ice, after packing out to the trailhead, a pull of the rope and you are in business. and if the party puts one down early its easy to manage the meat.
3. If you come home without a kill, no big deal.
My chest freezer has 10 trips on it and no problems;)
We had it prearranged with local family of friends in vicinity to plug into their current bush, as ours needed watering much to often:D

simonkenton
December 31, 2008, 09:27 PM
UHaul trailer, and a generator, vs. 5 big cooler full of ice.
He may not own a generator.
UHaul costs money, slows travel time, drops mpg of vehicle.
Generators running all day and night are noisy.
Big cans of gasoline for the generator are dangerous.

I would say, 5 big coolers full of ice, keep it simple. It is only a 2 day hunt.
High of 65, low of 35, the ice will work fine.

texfar
January 2, 2009, 08:41 AM
My cooler, a big new fridge, keeps perfect at 33-34. During off season it's a beverage fridge in the utility room. Looking into putting together a proper walk in cooler. My A/C man is helping me source all needed parts and equipment for an affordable price.

hogdogs
January 2, 2009, 10:12 AM
texfar, I know a feller who built a walk in using a medium size window A/C unit. His A/C man disconnected the internal thermostat and hooked up the exterior commercial cooler parts to it. In heat of summer it will still chill to 40. That was a couple years ago and he may have added more insulation since...
Brent

davlandrum
January 2, 2009, 11:12 AM
My buddy and I drove to Texas for a hog hunt. Sligthly different, in that we had access to a freezer at the site, so we were hauling frozen pork. Got some dry ice close to departure site, got some more in Vegas. In a big marine cooler, it stayed absolutly frozen solid.

I would trust it to keep the meat cool as well, even unfrozen.

hogdogs
January 2, 2009, 11:33 AM
Use CAUTION with dry ice... If you carry it in an SUV or such, you MUST keep the windows cracked open at least. Don't wanna pass out at 70 mph...
Brent

texfar
January 2, 2009, 02:42 PM
Hogdogs, that is where I am headed dude.
Ken

davlandrum
January 2, 2009, 02:46 PM
Brent - Big +1 to the dangers of dry ice CO2

We were in my truck, so wasn't an issue for us.

ZeroJunk
January 2, 2009, 03:45 PM
I'm not sure why you think the water would hurt the meat. I routinely cut the hams, loins, and shoulders off of a deer and keep it in a cooler for at least a week or ten days covered with ice and water before I process it. Not because I couldn't easily put it straight in the freezer, but because it makes the meat better.

globemaster3
January 4, 2009, 09:24 PM
Hey Guys, thanks for all the inputs. I'll post results in a new thread. But before I do that, just to tie up the loose ends:

With the short-notice nature of the trip and my funds tied up in gas and camo for the 12yo (she outgrew all of last seasons stuff), I didn't have the assets needed to acquire a trailer and generator before going. I've got a 16cu' upright in the garage that is exclusively for game/fish.

I've done waterlogged meat before and prefer not soaking it if possible. That's why I wanted a good water barrier.

Wound up being a mute point in the end as the hunting shack had a dedicated fridge all the quarters went into until I packed to go home.

Again, thanks for all the suggestions. Look for the new thread with results!

publius
January 4, 2009, 11:04 PM
Get a few good 120qt coolers. Quarter the animal and put in cooler and fill it completely with ice. drain the water every day (at least every couple of days) and add ice. Your meat will be fine for well over a week like this.

thallub
January 5, 2009, 05:43 PM
Down here we gut and pack the cavity with ice bags to get the cooling process started, you don't get much time when the temps are 70-80*s.

Good post.

When the temperature is 80 degrees one has about four hours to get a hog on ice or in a cooler.

fisherman66
January 5, 2009, 06:14 PM
Why not rent a small U-Haul trailer to carry a small freezer and generator? The freezer can be purchased at Wally World for about $150. If you have access to a portable generator you can freeze the quarters and bring them back to your favorite butcher when you come home. J

I do my best to NOT freeze my meat until rigor has "un"-set. I usually age mine for as long as I can in a freezer. Once the ice has melted I butcher. Try to keep the game off the water.

armedtotheteeth
January 5, 2009, 11:38 PM
The main problem with water.. When you make sausage with water soaked meat, it tends to get squished out of the sausage grinder in these really kinda "fart episodes" that the grinder goes through with wet meat and ends up on your wifes kitchen curtains.

ZeroJunk
January 6, 2009, 07:21 AM
The main problem with water.. When you make sausage with water soaked meat, it tends to get squished out of the sausage grinder in these really kinda "fart episodes" that the grinder goes through with wet meat and ends up on your wifes kitchen curtains

LOL, That would be a problem. I never tried to make sausage out of it. I just covered it with ice and water and put a touch of vinegar in it. The meat would turn almost white on the outside for maybe 1/4 inch. I never saw water get in it. There is no doubt that deer hung in a cooler at 40 degrees or so for a couple of weeks is much more tender and has less "wild taste". If you go to a restaurant and buy a high dollar steak you can bet it's aged. I haven't forked over the money yet for a walk in cooler so I just keep mine on ice for a while.
On the other hand elk is good if you put it on the grill the day you killed it, and I suspect hogs are too.

Dr. Strangelove
January 7, 2009, 11:24 PM
I see this is an older thread, I've been away a while, and I'm not going to debate the water/non-water stuff, but to keep the water/ice/frozen stuff separate, in my huge igloo marine cooler, I put some "honeycomb" material years ago. I got it from Home Depot, the kind you use for drop ceilings and fluorescent fixtures. It's cheap, cut it to fit, slide to the bottom, then leave the drain open. Replace ice as needed and it keeps water off whatever is in the cooler if that is what you need.