Product Review: KoolerGel™
The thermometer read 106 degrees last weekend and we were dead smack in the middle of archery bear season. If I was fortunate enough to kill a bear I was going to be pressed for time to get it cooled down. When you hunt and kill an animal, you have to get it cooled as quickly as possible and you also want to keep moisture off of the meat. I'll bet you didn't know that second part, did you? That's an interesting bit of information I got from Steve Glass, Owner of Trophy Bag Kooler, LLC.
We’ve all heard it a thousand times, “Wild Meat Tastes Gamey”. Not if you use a little common sense it won’t! Follow a couple of basic guidelines and you will never have a problem with “Wild” or “Gamey” tasting meat. Gamey tasting meat is the direct result of poor handling.
Steve explains "The Silent Secret" in detail on his website, but I'll give you the short version. I still recommend you check out the full version.
Heat, moisture, bacteria and flies all contribute to the meat deteriorating and rotting. That's what makes it taste gamey. You need to cool it down, but you should NOT clean it with water! I spray my venison with Game Fresh Spray which kills all surface bacteria. Cover it up and do all of these things quickly.
Now, I am a firm believer in what Steve says, as I have had some gamey meat. Steve sent me some samples of the KoolerGel and the Game Fresh Spray, and I put them to the test over the past year. The KoolerGel 'set-up' process is extremely easy to follow. Check out the video at the bottom of this page.KoolerGel™ is an innovative new product that replaces using conventional ice in your Trophy Bag Kooler™, food coolers or any ice chest! Great for picnics too! Stays colder, longer than ice.
Mix one packet with water in a recycled 2-liter soda bottle, watch it turn to a gel, then freeze! Lasts 30-40% longer than conventional ice and doesn't turn back to water, stays a gel. Plus, it's re-useable many times, less waste and very economical; one 6-pack makes enough KoolerGel™ for six 2-liter bottles.
- Use on your next fishing trip to keep your catch fresh
- Use in any ice chest or food cooler
- Lasts 30-40% longer than ice
- Helps to keep waste out of landfills by recycling soda bottles
- Use to keep your groceries cold until you get home
- Great for camping and picnic
One individual packet makes a 2-liter bottle of KoolerGel™.
Admittedly, I was a skeptic and wasn't sure of what to expect. Allow me to say that this is a stellar product. The bottles will sweat, a little, but not as much as you'd think. Not like conventional ice. There is hardly any condensation build-up! Plus, these last for days. Inside a cooler they will last up to 5 days. I tested mine in the 90+ degree hear out here in California and they lasted 3 days before starting to get soft, but they still remained cold. Steve did make a recommendation that if you want the 2-liter bottles to last longer. He said to put a bag of ice over them at the start of a hunting trip and by the end the bottles should still be frozen solid. Excellent tip, Steve!
I tested these out last year on a friends mule deer and believe it or not, you can use these to age your meat, too, even if it is only for a few days. I had the meat in the cooler for two days. None of it got wet, which is very important. You want your meat to be dry on the outside to keep the bacteria from multiplying at a rapid rate - thus, the gamey flavor of the meat.
I know plenty of hunters who will swing by the Gas-N-Go, pick up a big bag of ice and just dump it in the cooler or over their meat. To be honest, I used to do the same thing years ago! I spoke with a few of my hunting friends and they told me that ice would work just as well as this KoolerGel stuff I had. Trust me, KoolerGel is no gimmick and it works better than ice!
They also said ALL venison or wild pork was gamey... that is until I busted out some mule deer steaks from my friends kill last year. I was the one who butchered the meat and used Steve's products. These guys ate the meat and declared it was THE best tasting venison they had ever had and I used no spices or salt. Interesting, no? I shared my secret and they were dumbfounded. Ok, it's truly not a secret, just information that I am happy to share via Steve Glass. Spray your meat with Game Fresh Spray and then get your meat cooled down using KoolerGel. If you have any questions, contact Steve. He's a wealth of knowledge and is super willing to help any hunter. He and I spoke several times and each time I learned something new.
You can buy Kooler Gel directly from Trophy Bag Kooler, LLC, or from one of the retailers listed on the TBK website. For under $10 you get a six pack. Trust me, it's a sound investment. Each bag of ice at the grocery store costs $2-5 depending on the bag size these days. Just think, you save money, help the environment by recycling some 2-liter bottles and you have convenient, reusable cooling for your picnics or hunts. Not only do I recommend KoolerGel, but I use it exclusively on all my hunts now, and even a couple times on family picnics, too. It works great!