I was fortunate enough to get 3 beautiful bucks from a friend and i decided that would make a wonderful winter special, so i have hung them in a cold room, the springbucks are still happily hanging there, the funny thing about hanging meat is how much we have lost doing it!! i have been researching it and some 100 years ago, it was the norm to hang meat anything from 3 weeks to 3 months, and during this time that the meat is hanging, there are little enzymes at work breaking down the connective tissue and collagen, these are the 2 protein structures that give meat its toughness, after around 1 to 3 hours of being killed rigors mortis sets in and then the muscles of the animal contract and stiffen, after 12-24 hours of being dead the enzymes that break it down start to work and the longer they are left the more is broken down. Furthermore if it was a healthy animal there are no microbes/pathogens in the animal to cause it to go rancid, therefore the only place on the animal that would start showing signs of spoilage are those that have been exposed to air, i.e the surface of the meat, and in my studies of this matter I have realized that all you need to do is trim away these rancid pieces of surface rot, as it will not affect the meat internally. i have notice that there is some mould developing on the surface of the meat but i have wipe it a solution made up of sodium nitrate and salt which is used in the curing of meat and hams as it inhibits the growth of unwanted microbes/pathogens.
I have also learnt in my 1 year of cheese making now that certain surface moulds are beneficial and are not of a concern (if you know which ones) however i am not willing to take to make risks when it comes to this hence the nitrate wash. over the past 2 weeks there has been a serious change in the colour of the meat as it loses moisture and the meat becomes more intensified, it is amazing to watch, it has gone from a dark red colour in the beginning to a deep dark purple now.
I have still not tasted any of it yet except for the blesbok that i cut up to make sausage from which is really really tasty i have made a spicy smoked sausage from them, if you would like to taste be sure not to miss our winter warmer special at the end of this month the 29th June 2012.