I received a comment that I thought deserved a post of it’s own. The answer was too long for the comment sections. The question was about hunting deer and using the meat. Those of you who have no interest in hunting and deer meat, feel free to skip this post. But you may find it at least a little interesting. And it is deer season in most parts of the country so maybe someone else will be interested. Although, I am far from an expert on this subject here is what I remember from growing up and what we do now.
Here is the question : I read in your “about me” section that your husband hunts, does he hunt deer? I was wondering if you have any venison recipes. It’s deer season here in Kentucky and I have a whole freezer full of venison and to be honest I don’t have a single “tried and true” recipe.
I grew up eating deer and elk. My dad hunted because we needed the meat. It was not just for pleasure we needed the meat for food to eat over the winter. We would do all the processing by ourselves or with a friend of ours. I clearly remember watching them cut up the meat and helping wrap it up to be frozen. I hated this process. It is messy and gross in my opinion, but it had to be done and we did it. There was no money to pay someone to process it for us.
I remember once or twice my parents grinding the meat for hamburger, but we mainly used it as roasts and steak. My dad did usually make jerky with some of the meat. I remember the jerky being really good. I remember my mom cooking a lot of the meat like you would round steak. She would cook it like you would swiss steak or she would coat it with flour and fry it and then serve it with a gravy. She also slow cooked it in things like stew. Venison tends to be tough so the slow cooking I think was the best.
My husband has the privilege of hunting out his back door. Not quite, he has to go down a hill and across a field. We live on 43 acres and most of it is perfect for hunting. It is very convenient and my husband really enjoys it. So, even though we don’t need the meat, he hunts. Last year he shot two deer, so we had lots of deer meat. We do not process the meat ourselves though. We have found a place that processes it and they do a really good job for a good price. As far as I am concerned, it is worth the price to have someone else do the cutting and wrapping of it.
As I said above, I grew up on deer and elk, and to be honest it is not my favorite type of meat. But my husband enjoys hunting, so I am learning to use and eat it. I think the main reason I do not like it, is because it is tough and gamey tasting. I am learning how to cook it in ways to avoid that. The best way I have found is to have it ground. We have the majority of our meat ground. I know that there are avid hunters that think this is terrible, you should use the best cuts as steaks and roasts, but we haven’t done that yet. My husband wants to do more steaks and roasts this year, so I will probably have a few done that way to try. But we will still have the majority ground.
From what I have read, slow cooking it in things like stews is one of the best ways to cook venison. I have also read that soaking the meat in milk before using it helps tenderize it and also helps with the gamey taste. I have not tried this, but I will, if we get more steaks and roasts this year. I do this when I cook liver, yes my husband loves beef liver, so I cook it. Soaking the liver in milk for a few hours really helps tenderize the meat and helps it not be so strong, so I am sure it would also help with the venison.
We do have some of the meat made into hot links and summer sausage. These have both been really good. We also have some of the meat sliced for jerky. We love the jerky. If you want the recipe I use, you can email me and I will get it to you. We bought a food dehydrator for this purpose a few years ago.
I do enjoy the ground venison the best though. When we have it processed we have some fat added to the ground meat. This really helps and I think most places will do this for you. The ground meat, mixed with ground beef, makes the best hamburgers. I mix it either 1/2 and 1/2 or 2/3 beef and 1/3 venison. I have had many people comment on how good my hamburgers are and my secret ingredient is the deer. It also makes great chili. It gives it really good flavor. I almost always use it in chili. This week chili is on the menu and it will have venison in it. Sometimes I make it using 1/2 beef, but most of the time I use all venison in chili. I also use the ground in things like taco meat but I mix it with beef. Mixed with beef it also makes great meatloaf, again you can make it 1/2 and 1/2 or 2/3 beef and 1/3 deer.
Do any of you hunt or have husband’s that hunt? How do you use the meat? Like I said I am not an expert on this subject and I would love to hear from any of you that may have suggestions.