The Best Way To Age Venison At Home To Extend Its Shelf Life

The beginning of autumn brings with it the return of many seasonal ingredients. Freshly-harvested pumpkins and squash take over grocery store aisles while fragrant cranberries and apples are enjoyed in desserts. Fall meats, like turkey and venison, have also returned to our kitchen tables.

Whether you enjoy jerky, steaks, sausage, or venison fajitas, this meat makes tasty seasonal table fare. If you've never tried venison, it has a tough and gamey consistency, yet is smooth in texture. It also has a naturally rich and herby flavor (via Steaks and Game).

As deer season commences, you may find venison quickly piling up in your fridge. If you have a hunter in your family, or simply enjoy grabbing fresh game from your local butcher, you may planning to enjoy plenty of venison this fall. But before the preparation process can begin, knowing how to store venison properly can make all the difference.

Prior to packing your meat away in the freezer, try dry-aging it first.

Dry age your meat

According to Southern Living, dry-aging is a great at-home method to retain flavor and quality in your meat. It will also tenderize the meat since venison is naturally tough (via Bowhunters United). While this may sound intimidating, you don't necessarily need your own temperature-controlled room. You can just set aside space in your refrigerator. Southern Living says to "refrigerate the meat on a rack set over a pan at a steady temperature of 34 to 37 degrees" for at least seven days but up to two weeks. This simple process should take place before freezing the meat.

Bowhunters United also suggests dry-aging your meat for the best venison experience. The site writes, "Nothing tenderizes venison more naturally than aging it ... the aging process tenderizes venison and adds flavor as the meat dries and its connective tissues naturally break down."

Next time you have an abundance of venison in your house, try this method and see if you notice a difference.