Essential Outdoor Skill: Keep Your Meat

We work too hard for our wild-game meat to lose it to freezer burn. Here's how to keep venison fresh for at least two years in a frost-free freezer:

Leave the fascia (aka "silver skin") intact. You'll trim it off when you thaw and prepare to cook the meat. And leave muscle groups (roasts, backstraps, etc.) intact. Never cut them into steaks or chops before freezing.

Wrap the meat in good-quality plastic wrap, making sure to squeeze out any air.

Next, wrap the meat in waxed freezer paper, ensuring that at least two layers of paper cover every side of the meat, and tape it thoroughly.

Place the packages in quality zip-top bags. Typically, I can fit two deer roasts in a gallon-size bag. You must use freezer bags, though, not storage bags. Zip the bag closed, leaving a one-inch slit. Using your mouth, suck excess air out of the bag while you close the zipper. The bag should shrink around its contents, just as if it were vacuum-sealed.