search
top

FAQ

How long should I hang my meat?

How long can you hang my meat in your cooler?

How much meat should I expect to get back?

How soon do we need to pick up our meat?

Getting the meat home?

Donations

Can I have somebody else haul my carcass / finished meat?

Glossary


How long should I hang my meat?

The first 24 hours after an animal is shot is the worst time to cut it. During this time rigor mortis sets in and runs its cycle; this rarely goes beyond a day. Beyond that, wild game ages much like a beef but requires certain environmental conditions to be done properly.

The main goal of meat aging is to have natural enzymes break down the collagen that connects meat tissue together, which is more abundant in older animals. There are two types of aging: dry and wet. For either to occur, the meat should be kept under 41 degrees F and above freezing. Any warmer than this and bacterial growth on the carcass is likely and is essentially a form of rot. The enzyme activity of aging does create a different flavor that many people enjoy and is different from the undesirable flavor created by bacteria.

The most common form of aging is dry, which is when the carcass is left to hang in a refrigerated environment. The benefit of this method is that it effects the whole body. The drawback is that dehydration occurs. This is usually heightened with wild game as they don’t have the fat cover that is typical of beef or pork and are usually quartered which exposes more area to the environment. If you are processing the animal on your own, it is my opinion that as long as the animal can be adequately cooled to prevent spoiling, the carcass should be whole with the skin left on. If these conditions are not possible then the duration of aging should be limited.

Wet aging is usually done by taking a finished cut of meat and packaging it in its own juices (often by vacuum sealing) and then letting the enzymes work at ideal conditions in a place such as your refrigerator. The main benefits to this method are the retention of moisture and the ability to age cuts for a couple of weeks without worrying about bacterial growth. The drawbacks are that it is not as convenient for big shops and restaurants as every package must be handled separately, plus the added expense. Hog Island Meats currently vacuum seals all cuts and roasts of meat.  This gives you the added benefit of wet aging on your own after you bring your meat home. Pull out your meat and let it rest in the sealed package in your refrigerator for a week or so (some have reported up to 18 days with success). Remove it from packaging and prepare as you normally would.

Aging tends to work better on larger animals and often doesn’t benefit smaller animals such as antelope, sheep or smaller deer.

References:

http://gf.state.wy.us/support/faq/index.asp?faqid=2#4  “How long should an antelope carcass be aged before butchering?”

http://www.fieldandstream.com/articles/other/recipes/2006/01/deer-hang-time

http://www.rmef.org/Hunting/Kitchen/Recipes/DryAging.htm

How long can you hang my meat in your cooler?

We are flexible. Often, we can provide a rush order for your convenience or we can hang your carcass for a week or two. It all depends on the current work load. If you know what you want, just ask. We do provide a hang/ cool only service if there is room in our cooler. Priority space goes to what we process.

How much meat should I expect to get back?

How substantial is your carcass? Did you harvest a bison or a pronghorn? Has your kill been living on grass and foliage or has it been a dry year and has sage brush been the primary green? Did the shot go through both shoulders or even a hind quarter? Were you able to pack out the neck or rib cage? There are a lot of contributing factors. We know the meat you bring in will be something you eat. We are very careful and keep all that we can and only what is quality meat.

Bison invest a lot into their infrastructure from a  very young age. They are designed to pack on a lot of weight so they are building the structure that will carry their weight when they are young. Generally speaking, the younger the bison the lesser the yield and vise versa. For a de-boned 2 yr old bison (all boneless cuts – all bones are not included in the final weight) we expect a 50-60% yield from the carcass weight. Out of the finished meat, one third would make up the premium cuts of steaks and roasts. The other two thirds makes up the trim meat.

Random list of bison carcass weights from cut sheets November 2014: 485, 255, 310, 180, 750

Moose, Elk, Deer, Pronghorn and Sheep are lighter and not built to carry a ton of weight. That actually is a great service to you the hunter because their meat yield to skeletal structure is much higher. We typically see 50-70% yield from carcass weight.For example, a 300 pound hanging elk carcass would expect to yield 150 to 210 pounds of de-boned meat; 50 to 60 pounds of the finished meat would make up the steaks and roasts and the remaining would be trim meat that can be used for burger, fresh sausage, or most smoked meats.

We are commonly asked what is the average carcass weight of an elk or bison. We have received elk from 80-500+ pounds. It honestly depends on what you hunt. Cows can be bigger than bulls. Some carcasses just don’t have the muscle mass packed onto the bone surface area one would expect.

Random list of elk carcass weights from cut sheets November 2014: 120, 252, 311, 155, 290, 299, 286, 405

http://gf.state.wy.us/support/faq/index.asp?faqid=2#4 “How much meat can I get from a deer?”; “How much meat can I expect from my antelope?”

How soon do we need to pick up our meat?

Freezer management is always a concern with any meat processing place. We appreciate prompt pick ups, but allow for a five day, penalty free time period to pick up your meat once it has been placed in the freezer. After five days, a $10 per day fee will begin to accrue. Whatever your schedule, please let us know when we call to coordinate so it is easier to manage our freezer space. If you will not be available to pick up meat after 5 days and you know this ahead of time, please let us know. We will try to accommodate you as best we can without penalty.

Longer term storage is available if arranged at the time of drop off. This arrangement includes the following stipulations.

  • Frozen meat will be placed in our shipping boxes ($8 per each) and placed in the overflow freezer.
  • A $2 per day per box fee will be applied after the five day grace period ends.
  • A credit card number and signature is needed at the time of drop off.

How can we get our processed meat home?

  • Haul it back with you. Bring your coolers and borrow your neighbors for a couple weeks. We carry dry ice and shipping boxes if needed to help ensure that your meat arrives home safely. If a tight schedule is an issue, talk to us to see if we can rush your order.We can almost always do an overnight rush for an additional fee. Whether you are driving back or flying, we can council you with the different options.
  • Ship it. We have several shipping options available to you.
    • FED-EX. Your meat is packed in our double insulated boxes and dry ice. It is shipped with a tracking number and delivered directly to your door. You will be able to see when it will be arriving and follow its progress via the email updates you receive. We are able to insure the meat for its actual value to replace so if something were to happen, we could replace it for you. FedEx is the most expensive way to ship that we provide and we receive deep discounts because of the frequent shipping we do with FedEx. We can use your own FedEx number on request. Expect to pay $6-$8 per pound for shipping with FedEx.
    •  Private Frozen Trucking Company. A private courier can be hired and picks up periodically during the wild game season here in Jackson. He can be reached by cell phone while in transit and they are very good about answering and staying in communication. This is only our second year working with him and we haven’t had any complaints. The base price varies some by State but generally the 2014 charges came out to about $575 per animal. To have him transport the hide and the mount one would need to add an additional $150. If you are hunting with a buddy, he would have to pay the same amount for his harvest as well even if going to the same location.
    • Frozen Freight Trucking. The Frozen courier that ships by the pallet is kind of a necessary evil.  We have had trouble because they ship by the pallet so they are not accustomed to working with people but more the commercial side of things.  Admittedly, they’re customer service is hit and miss and depends on the driver. They’re communication with you about when and where they will be arriving is spotty: some clients have had zero problems and some have had several. The great part about Frozen Freight is that if you and your buddy have come out to hunt and you harvest several animals, you can ship them all at the same time and on the same pallet (each box will be labeled individually- of course) and you will pay a flat fee for just the one pallet :$550. The down-sides include: you cannot ship your hide or your antlers/mount on this pallet (its food only), we can only insure your product for up to $2/lb (your wild game is worth much more than that), your experience will highly depend on your driver which varies widely, you will likely have to meet the truck and driver at a commercial location (often times a local grocery store parking lot) and not your house as they are driving long trailers and cannot navigate residential streets.
  • Fly It. If you are flying home and want to take the meat with you, keep in mind that the meat is frozen solid and if it stays in the underbelly of the plane and put directly into your freezer at home, your product should be just fine. It costs much less to ship clothes and gear home slowly than meat that must be shipped quickly and is heavy.  Contact your airlines for more details on weight limits and extra baggage fees.

Can I donate some or all of my meat?

You can donate your meat to whomever you choose. Sometimes hunters will donate the meat to their guide or neighbor. Processing costs of donated meat is still the responsibility of the hunter. Sometimes hunters will donate the meat through us and it is given to local families, charities and organizations. We have our own list or you can also coordinate through the Game and Fish Department. Most people who are on either list do not have the funds budgeted to pay for processing. We often times do not charge needy families on these lists or hunters fail to contribute which leaves us covering the cost of several. We expect the hunter to complete his donation by covering the cost of a standard cut.  If you would like to donate your meat unharvested, please contact the Wyoming Game and Fish so they can pull people from their list who may want to process it themselves.

Why the name, Hog Island Meats?

The area approximately 6 miles South of Jackson Hole is called Hog Island. Old Henry’s Road runs parallel to the Snake River and served as the main road from the Hoback end of the valley by the old Horse Creek Station to the South Park side by Game Creek.  On the opposite side of the river, where our shop now sits, the land had no public access . It was recalled to me by our neighbors, the kids remember being drawn by a horse sleigh over the snow to the shallow part of the snake that had frozen solid so they could walk across the ice and catch the bus. The Robertson Family, long time residents of this area raised pigs and allowed them to roam free using the Snake River as a natural fence on this land peninsula or island. Thus was born the term “Hog Island.”

 

Glossary of Terms (always under construction)

European mount: Skull with Antlers / Horns

live weight: the weight of your harvest standing alive (with all of its parts and pieces)

hanging or carcass weight: the weight of the harvest after its has been gutted, head removed, hide removed and hooves removed. Sometimes it is referred to as the rail weight because it is the weight of your animal on the rail that actually enters the cooler.  We do not weigh what we do not process.

We cannot guarantee the quality of the meat you provide.

We do not test or eat your meat before it leaves our facility. We provide a service and can guarantee the quality of the processing, the care it receives in our facility and the condition it leaves. We are very mindful of the expense and investment hunting can be. If we are concerned about your meat in any way, you will be informed. 

What can I do if the meat is too tough?

Most hunters are very careful with their harvest and recognize that they will be consuming the bulk of what they see and treat it with respect and care. Many things contribute to the flavor of meat: the age of the animal, the animal’s primary diet, time laps before cooling (has the meat been tainted in the harvesting process), time lapse before processing (dry aging the meat) and general inconsistencies of nature itself. Here are some suggestions if your meat is less than ideal. We do not test or eat your meat before it leaves our facility.  We provide a service and can guarantee the quality of the processing, the care it receives in our facility and the condition it leaves.

Wet age it in your refrigerator

Tenderize the meat

Slow cook

Grind as burger or make into sausage

 

What can I do if the meat is too gamey?

We’ve heard ketchup helps but we don’t think so.

1. Have it ground into sausage. The suet adds flavor and the seasonings often hide the original taste.

2. Season it heavily with Taco or Italian seasoning while cooking and use primarily as “filler” meat (spaghetti) and not as the main flavor base (burgers).

 

Glossary of Terms (always under construction)

European mount: Skull with Antlers / Horns

live weight: the weight of your harvest standing alive (with all of its parts and pieces)

hanging or carcass weight: the weight of the harvest after its has been gutted, head removed, hide removed and hooves removed. Sometimes it is referred to as the rail weight because it is the weight of your animal on the rail that actually enters the cooler.  We do not weigh what we do not process.

 

top