Q: What is the recommended time to get a gralloched carcass into a refrigerator? What happens if you are a few minutes late; can you still eat the venison.
A: Welcome to the neurosis of the 21st century! If you listen to the Food Police you might reasonably wonder how the heck the human race has survived for around 2.5 million years. Refrigerators are a modern affectation and you will produce better venison for much of the year if you keep well away from them. But not for sale into the human food chain, of course, where there are rules and regulations.
Readers may remember my tale from years ago about a Fallow deer carcass hung in a garden shed and forgotten until the smell reminded us of its presence? The edges of the gralloching cut had turned green and had to be trimmed away (“Yummy,” said the dogs) and the inside of the carcass diluted vinegar. Throw up your hands in horror, if you will, but we had more compliments on the texture and flavour of that venison than on anything produced before or since.
The point of all this rambling is that meat needs to kept clean and hung in order to improve texture and flavour – hence all the advertising about, “Our beef is hung for 28 days.” The length of hanging depends on the temperature and on your own taste buds, as it does with pheasants
Please don’t be bullied into thinking that venison must be treated in such a way that it becomes as bland and tasteless as most of the other food now offered for sale; picked before it is ripe and then mummified to stop it going bad. If you go to a proper butcher and either grow your own or buy freshly picked veg at a farmers’ market, it may remind you what real food tasted like when we were kids. Here endeth the lesson!