I am sure most of you are feeling the effects of the Fall season coming in. The cooler nights, the change in meals, and of course the men missing for months at a time! They may be here in body but their minds are out scouting and hunting deer. That's right. Hunting Season is upon us, Ladies! I don't know about you, but I don't mind cooking with Venison.
I can hear you now. "Oh, I just can't eat the stuff. It's too gamey for me. I can taste the blood!" My answer to you is.... "You're not preparing your meat correctly then." Unlike his cousin, Beef, Venison has not had a Butcher's Hand taking care of things for us. When a Butcher is preparing the meat for you to purchase has already prepared our meats ready for us to get in the kitchen and start cooking. But with Venison, our husbands, more than likely, have just butchered the deer in the backyard and brought in the meat for us to do the much needed preparations from there. So if you are like me when I first got married to Paul, I knew very little about how to prepare, cook and recognize the certain cuts of meat that came into the kitchen after a blessed hunt. My first advice to you is get that meat in a cooler with a large bag of ice and a box of kosher salt stirred in the mixture. The salt is vital to removing the extra blood and that gamey taste you dislike. We let our Venison stay in the cooler for close to 24 hours. Keeping an eye on the ice to keep it cold. Once the Venison meat has set in the salt mixture it is time to store the meat. I cut the Venison into cuts that will be ready for my recipes that I have planned for them. Yes, I plan that far in advance. I know what my family likes to eat. so when I prepare my cuts accordingly. Of course, that requires you to know what the cuts of meat actually are and what they look like. So I have a chart here for you. Please feel free to right click and save to your device or computer.
Once you have your cuts prepared for a meal, then it's time to store them. Paul and I favor vacuum sealing our meats and then placing them in the freezer. Vacuum Sealing process is where you remove all the air and space from the food you want to preserve. By removing the air and not allowing new air to be introduced in the future you stop the rotting and breaking down process that happens to live ingredients after they have been killed. This process can preserve breads, cheeses, herbs, and all kinds of fish or meat. By vacuum sealing the Venison it seals the nutrients and prevents freezer burn form ruining our harvest. For the past several years we have bought a hand held vacuum sealer and Ziploc Vacuum bags. It does what is needed but of course we long for The Food Saver! I've done the research and it would be cost beneficial for anyone to vacuum seal there foods. Especially if you have a garden and your husband hunts as mine does. Do your own research. Please feel free to let me know if you find a better way to preserve your foods! If you're ready to purchase one, here is a link to purchase our favorite Food Saver Machine.
This Food Saver saves you time and money. But I know you'll hear all about the great promotions when you do your research. So I'll spare you! You're Welcome! :)
Once you have placed all the meat into the freezer, what to do with it when you're ready to eat it! Now the fun part! It has been said by many hunters that the older the deer is the courser and tougher the meat will be. If your husband killed a Bambi, in my experiences, the meat has been sweeter and softer when cooked. The older deer can tend to be tougher, but if you take that into your meal recipe and planning. You won't notice it as much. With most recipes I believe it could serve you well to soak the deer meat with homemade Buttermilk recipe. (Click Here for that Buttermilk Recipe.) I have looked into why Buttermilk takes the gamey taste away but all I can find online are contradicting opinions. So I will give you my opinion.
A deer's diet consists of fruits, wild berries, nuts and grasses. Common sense tells me that if the deer eats sweeter foods then their meat will be sweeter. If they eat a diet full of greens rich in iron then their meat will be higher in iron. A young deer will be more active and their muscles will be lean and taste great. An older deer's muscles aren't as active and so their meat will be tougher. So on and so forth. But I believe that the alkaline chemical make up that is carried in Buttermilk breaks down the acids and proteins in the blood that is in deer.
Once you have completed these few things, you are ready to cook your meal! I truly believe that you can use Venison in anything you would use Beef. However, you have to remember that deer meats consists of nearly NO FAT. So if you're making Beef Stroganoff or Lasagna, remember that fact. I have used half Venison and half Beef to make the recipes. I believe that if paired with a gravy, cheese, or breading your Venison then your meal is still amazing! I will have to admit my favorite Recipe is where the Venison is dredged in Buttermilk and egg then breaded in flour. Then fried in a Cast Iron Skillet. The meat is very tender and delicious! Please E-Mail me and let me know your favorite recipes!