Frozen meat

Pony Soldier

Well Known Rokslider
Joined
Dec 31, 2021
Messages
812
Location
Montana
This isn't new but I am curious. I got a cow last night in a god- awful place. We got her cleaned and got her off the cliff to heavy timber for the night but had to leave before we froze. We had 4 miles to get back to the truck and get home for dinner.

By the time we got back today she was well on her way to frozen. We got her quartered with an electric saw but struggled to even cut the hide. We got the quarters to the truck with horses. We loaded them into the truck where they froze to the box.

I couldn't skin and wash the meat because at 3 degrees they were well on the way to a brick.

After dinner I brought them into our heated mud room and hope they will thaw by morning.

Anybody got any other ideas for these circumstances. I have brought in frozen and cleaned quarters and thawed them in the bathtub so I could cut them up.
 

dieselchessy

Well Known Rokslider
Joined
Apr 21, 2015
Messages
797
We hang ours in a cooler at around 35 to 38 degrees and after a few days it’s ready to cut up. If you don’t have a cooler, sounds like your mud room may suffice.

I’ve also placed frozen meat in large 150qt coolers in the house with the lid cracked and the drain open so the air will slowly flow and thaw. I rotate the meat a few times a day.
 

JBrown1

Well Known Rokslider
Joined
Sep 8, 2021
Messages
138
I used to hunt caribou pretty regularly at -20. The quarters would freeze solid by the time we got them home.

I always used the mud room to bring them up to the point that they were beginning to thaw. Then it was on to the kitchen counter to separate the muscle groups and allow them to thaw a bit more.

Honestly, I took a few quarters straight to the kitchen counter while solidly frozen. I would monitor them and then begin cutting as soon as they had thawed enough to cut into them. It worked fine.

Mine were always skinned though....
 

Yellowknife

Well Known Rokslider
Joined
Apr 9, 2012
Messages
1,799
Location
Fishhook, Alaska
You might find the meat to be pretty tough due to “cold shortening” if it’s frozen during rigor. I’ve been down that road before.

If I can I go to some length to keep them from freezing for the first 24 hrs or so. If it’s that cold, I try to leave the hide on and the animal mostly intact when I can. Or if that’s not possible I’ve covered quarters in tarps and buried them in snow (acting as an insulator) overnight to good effect. If you get through the rigor stage before they freeze solid then it’s all fine.

Back to your question. When I have had solidly frozen quarters I’ve just hung in a cool place (garage) for several days and let them slowly defrost. It may drip quite a bit, so have something under it.
 

Nickofthewoods

Expert Meme Maker
Joined
Oct 5, 2018
Messages
1,537
Location
Colorado
Having the hide on is not a big deal once it's frozen. The first several elk hunts I ever went on were December cow elk hunts on a friend's property in Northern Colorado. We would just gut them and drag them out on snowmobiles and then use chain hoists on the property to hang them overnight. They were usually frozen solid by morning and we would back the truck under them and take them home and re-hang them in the garage for a few days where it usually stayed in the 40's. Even if they freeze quickly I think it's important for meat quality to get past that 48 hour rigor phase if you can find a place that stays above freezing but doesn't get above 50 during the day.
 

highcountrymuley

Well Known Rokslider
Joined
Oct 10, 2018
Messages
242
I very had problems with meat freezing in the rigor stage. Don't know how to make better if it does freeze too early..
 
OP
P

Pony Soldier

Well Known Rokslider
Joined
Dec 31, 2021
Messages
812
Location
Montana
We put all the quarters on the heated mud porch on a tarp. By morning they were thawed enough to allow them to be skinned, trimmed, and washed. There are always stray hair and things on the meat. Once they are cleaned, I wrap them in sheets and let them freeze. I can prolong cutting them until after season where I bring them in, let them thaw and cut and package them.
 

mxgsfmdpx

Well Known Rokslider
Joined
Oct 22, 2019
Messages
2,777
Location
Central Arizona
Frozen or not those electric saws suck at cutting hide depending on the blade you use. Defrost and get the hide off. We hang our minnesota deer whole for at least 5 days before butchering. Makes for great venison.

487B4643-5C32-4F23-B8FF-37B9858B16D2.jpeg
 
OP
P

Pony Soldier

Well Known Rokslider
Joined
Dec 31, 2021
Messages
812
Location
Montana
I use a coarse 10-11" blade on the reciprocating saw. It goes through the frozen legs quickly. We split the hide down the back with a knife and then split the spine quickly to ready the quarters for the horses. It cuts our process time to less than an hour.
 
Top