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Venison


snowangel
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This weekend was the deer (gun, not bow) opener in MN. Apparently, according to our local paper, this puts millions (to the tune of $250 million) into our state economy. It is big business. Church this morning was very female and juvenile and there are traffic reports on the news. The woods are full of people with guns and blaze orange. Who'd have thunk that sitting outside in almost zero temps, not even able to smoke or drink coffee (scent) would be so popular? My husband goes every year, considering it an almost zen-like experience -- the cold, sitting still, trying not to nod off. I'll go grouse and pheasant hunting, but the deer hunting seems a bit lacking in creature comforts (and this from a woman who loves her cabin with no running water, no electricity and an outdoor biffy). Anyway...

One dead deer (according to DNR guy a prime buck, probably about 180 lbs) will arrive at my house tomorrow, courtesy of Paul. It will go to the butcher (a great one) for processing. When I talked to Paul a few minutes ago, he said "go on that eGullet thing and find out what we want and how to cook it." After almost 40 years of hunting, this is his first, and he is excited. The kids are already fighting about where the antlers will be mounted (in the garage, I suggested).

Question asked, advice sought.

Edited by snowangel (log)
Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"
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Have the butcher carve out the whole backstrap. We always roast this in one glorious piece and pig out. Then we have the legs and shoulders for roasts or maybe cut up later for chile. The rest goes into venison sausage.

We don't do a whole lot of marinating and all that stuff to "get rid of the wild taste". If it is properly killed, field dressed and butchered, there is no "wild taste". My nephew's venison never has that or I wouldn't even go in the house when it is cooking. That musky smell (and that is it what it is, musk) makes me gag. What you have is wonderful, sweet meat that you don't want to cover up with too much of anything, even in a chile or stew. We keep the chile really simple and not highly seasoned so the flavor of the meat comes through.

If I can reach him, I will get some more specific cooking tips for you. He is the game cook.

Edited by fifi (log)

Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

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Have the butcher carve out the whole backstrap. We always roast this in one glorious piece and pig out. Then we have the legs and shoulders for roasts or maybe cut up later for chile. The rest goes into venison sausage.

yeah, what fifi said

the roasts can be used for sauerbrauten; the sausage used with chicken for jambalaya

i am soooooo envious

ps - the antlers can be mounted on a headband for halloween next year :laugh:

Nothing is better than frying in lard.

Nothing.  Do not quote me on this.

 

Linda Ellerbee

Take Big Bites

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i've been fortunate enough to get fresh venison from western pa. for the last three years. my supplier (who happens to be my best girfriend, a veterinarian, and a great cook) takes the whole deer to a local amish farmer for butchering, but her boyfriend field dresses his catch quickly and this seems to make a huge difference with the"gamey" flavor. i'm the beneficiary of steaks, sausage, ground deer, and stew meat. i don't marinate anything. i make burgers and chili with the ground meat-usually cut both with some pork since the deer is so lean. i make a stew with green chilies and wild shrooms- just dredge the meat in flour/salt/pepper then brown. add to sauteed chilies (anaheim, pablano) and sweet onions. reduce with whatever liquid suits your fancy. cover with broth/stock (can use the broth from reconstituted dried shrooms) you can crock this for a few hours. i add a little canned tomato at the finish to cut out extra heat. season to taste (i like fresh thyme) i think this would be great with fresh chanterelles, but those are tough to find in my neck of the woods. hope you enjoy your buck (save the antlers - clicking them together out in the wild is a deer magnet!)

"Ham isn't heroin..." Morgan Spurlock from "Supersize Me"

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See if your butcher will make some smoked sausage, it's divine. As for the remaining meat, the backstrap is good cut into medallions and lightly sauteed as you would any steak, or breaded as in Chicken fried steak. The ham steaks are a bit gamey, but I have used them successfully for swiss steak and other braised dishes. We don't get roasts - too gamey. Just have that made into sausage. My best recomendation is to eat it up as quickly as possible. Even properly field-dressed, processed and freezer wrapped, the gamey-ness increases after about 3-4 months in the deep freeze.

I agree about the lack of comforts related to deer hunting. I always need to go to the bathroom just about the time the deer start moving. - again , the scent in addition to the movement. It's just boring.

Stop Family Violence

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Cut the fillet into bite-size pieces and stir-fry with some sliced ginger, garlic and scalllions. Or marinate with soy sauce, oyster sauce, salt, sugar, lots of black pepper and a touch of mirin and stir-fry with garlic.

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shiewie's recommendations is usually how it's done in a chinese restaurant. should be easy to prepare at home.

hmmm... haven't had deer meat in a long time.

my mum in the US accidently knocked down a deer while driving back home. she called her handyman and his wife to help lug the deer back home. then, they cooked it! :huh:

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I like the gamey taste...I hope you have a big freezer.

Two points:

On a whole animal most of the meat is stewing or sausage or hamburger. It is only really the backstraps that are tender enough for steaks. Well, maybe the legs, but they have lots of tendons.

Venison is a very dry meat, with very little fat. You will need to lard or add fatty pork to the hamburger or sausage.

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my mum in the US accidently knocked down a deer while driving back home. she called her handyman and his wife to help lug the deer back home. then, they cooked it!  :huh:

EEEEEEWWWW!!!!! :shock:

Yeah... EEEEWWW! I'll bet that was some gamey hunk of venison.

jackal10... You are one of the few that I know of that like the gamey taste. To me, it just means ill-treated venison. It is so bad, that is why there are all of those recipes out there for marinades to try to kill it. Of course, you do enough to cover up the musk (thinking you really can) and you can't tell it is venison anymore.

Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

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Fifi is right on. the gamey smell is associated with incorrectly gutted, cooled and cut up venison. If you are sloppy or ignorant of the efforts needed then you are in trouble. You need to keep the feces in the rectum, urine in the bladder and other things intact while gutting. A gut shot deer is just that, gut shot and you are behind the 8 ball. Properly shot in th heart/lung area, there is just blood pooled in the chest cavity and with dilegence in gutting you are on your way.

We do not make any sausage or ground venison. It is all compleletly cut up and boned. I cut for muscle groups rather than the conventional cuts such as round steak. For my steaks, we marinate in Dale's which is a soy/ginger commecrcail product from the south. For roasts, juniper berries among other seasonings and either smoke on the 'Q' or braise slowly. Enjoy! -Dick

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Here in the northeast a "gamey" flavor usually comes from poor summer eating and the deer browsing on hemlock boughs.

The "backstrap" or tenderloin is so good that it's a shame to eat it all at once. Slice it about 3/8" thick and quickly fry in butter. Makes for great breakfasts. The hind quarters have lots of great meat if you cut them up right. Lay one on a table and with a sharp knive follow your instincts as to how to cut it up (this assumes some knowledge of what makes a good cut of meat.) Quite a bit of the meat from a well cut-up hind quarter is every bit as good as the tenderloin. Most of the rest is excellent in chili's, stews, braises, etc. As others have noted above, lay off the heavy seasoning so you get the taste of the deer meat.

I like deer "hamburger" more than sausage. There's too much opportunity to over-season sausage and lose the deer flavor. When making the hamburger add some pork to provide fat.

Edited by Nick (log)
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Here in the northeast a "gamey" flavor usually comes from poor summer eating and the deer browsing on hemlock boughs.

I like deer "hamburger" more than sausage. There's too much opportunity to over-season sausage and lose the deer flavor. When making the hamburger add some pork to provide fat.

The bow hunters from our neck of the woods (they've been hunting for a couple of weeks now) report the tastiest deer they've had in years, and they also think the taste and gaminess has a lot to do with what they ate in the summer. That's not to say that proper field dressing doesn't have something to do with it, either.

I'm with you on not too much sausage.

Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"
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The only thing I've discovered to be careful of is that sometimes the smoked venison sausage will have too much smokiness. When it is over smoked, it is also too dry.

The gamey taste can be removed from a cut piece of meat by brining it. It does dull the flavor of the meat somewhat, but if you don't like the gaminess, it would otherwise be inedible, then wasted.

It just boils down to: know your supply, know your hunter, know your butcher, and know how to care for it. Those who hunt well, have a good supply, and butcher fill up their freezers, and the freezers of friends and family. The day they start selling deer meat in Winn Dixie is the day I just stick to the pork chops.

Screw it. It's a Butterball.
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This is all terribly fascinating for me -- as a native Californian, we don't get much fresh game meat other than the birds (pheasant, ducks, quail, etc). However, I have a friend who hunts in Nebraska and sends me shipments. I never knew why some of the meat was better than others, especially when it was all labeled "steaks," "roasts," or "ground."

I am curious why sometimes it tastes fishy - is that the gaminess people speak of?

And when it comes to sausage, I make my own! Grinding up the ground with pork fat, I add cognac-soaked dried cherries and a variety of herbs into the casings.

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"Gaminess" comes from improper handling of the carcass, either in the shot, in the field dressing, or in the butcher shop, period. Fishiness is probably a good analogy but is not quite bad enough. I really don't think that brining, marinading or any other process can adequately remove the flavor. We have tried it on various "gifts" of improperly handled deer, elk or whatever. We ended up thowing it out. If it isn't done right, it will never be right.

My nephew goes for a neck or head shot (and he is a crack marksman) then field dresses with precision, always in cold weather. His venison is sublime.

Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

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My nephew goes for a neck or head shot (and he is a crack marksman) then field dresses with precision, always in cold weather. His venison is sublime.

Neck shot, it was 6 degrees outside.

There are two different tastes I think we are talking about, Carolyn. One is that fishy, off taste from poor field dressing. The other is the flavor of the meat itself which can vary, depending on what the summer has been like, local habitat, etc. Some falls, the meat just doesn't taste as "good" as other summers.

Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"
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snowangel, you are absolutely right. Some years are better than others. We went through some times here in Texas where the deer herds were overrunning their habitat and the meat wasn't as good and sweet. My nephew has the advantage of being invited to hunt and cook on some large ranches where they are actively trying to manage the resource within the dept of wildlife guidelines. I think we are getting better at managing the resource.

Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

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My aunt would always put out a crockpot of BBQ venison on Sunday during football season. Made for some mighty fine "sammiches". When we were little, we thought it was just Sloppy Joes...turned out it was Sloppy Does (okay, "Bucks", but then it doesn't rhyme). :smile:

 

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Brian: Peter, those are Cheerios.”

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Tim Oliver

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This is all terribly fascinating for me

Me too. Could anyone elaborate a bit more on "field dressing".

(Edited for grammer.)

Field dressing: take the musk glands off the rear legs at the knee. Cut off genitals. Slit belly to breast bone; innards fall out. Go back and cut out the anus, cut pelvic bone to remove lower guts. Cut windpipe, cut breast plate and open it up to remove heart, lungs, liver. It's bloody. But necessary. It's not much fun deer hunting when it's really cold, but it's much better to kill and dress when it's really cold.

Then, you drag the deer out of the woods, and at least in MN, take it to the nearest DNR (dept. of Natural Resources) station (they are all over the place) to "register" the deer. The license has many parts and they take some, tag the deer.

When you take it to a butcher for processing, you are required to show your license when you drop off the deer and when you pick up the white packages.

Deer population this year is very high, so a license entitled a hunter either a buck or a doe. In leaner years, they limit doe permits via the lottery system.

Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"
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Thanks, snowangel... You provided the details much better than I could have. All I know is that if all of that is done properly, you have some excellent meat.

Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

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You know, having been through the whole field dressing things a few times, there is a point during it that I just have to pause and say "Sorry, dude". Apologizing for cutting off the genitalia of a very dead animal is part of the ritual for me.

See, hunters can be a little sensitive too....

Screw it. It's a Butterball.
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