Savoring Venison

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Published on: Sep. 2, 2004

Last revision: Nov. 16, 2010

Even though deer meat is healthy and nutritious, a lot of families don't savor the thought of dad filling their freezer with venison. That's probably because they've never experienced venison at its best.

Many hunters have most of their venison made into jerky and sausage, even though this greatly increases the cost for processing. Often they end up with more jerky and sausage than they can stomach and end up giving some of it away. Also, such meat products are salty and high in fat.

To get the most nutritional and economic value from your deer, have it processed into cuts that are easiest to prepare.

Treat the tenderloins as something special. They are the strips from inside the lower back. (My butcher calls them catfish because of their shape.) These two pieces can be sliced into small, 1-inch thick medallions and cooked like tiny steaks. They are so tender that marinating is unnecessary. If you want to impress someone with how good deer can taste, serve them venison tenderloins.

Loin chops are another choice cut. Our family likes chops grilled 5 to 7 minutes per side, or pan fried. However, you must fillet them from the bone, and also trim away most of the fat and gristle to eliminate gaminess. Some chops will end up as several smaller pieces as you trim away all white tissue. Marinating chops usually isn't necessary if they came from a young deer.

Every cut of deer will taste better if you trim away all white tissue, including bone, fat, cartilage and tendons before cooking.

Marinades usually enhance the flavor of venison, Marinating also makes the meat juicier and more tender. You can purchase prepared marinades, or just mix up a concoction with whatever is in the refrigerator. Some good marinades consist of one or more of these:

  • Italian salad dressing (oil & vinegar)
  • Teriyaki or Worcestershire sauce
  • Wine
  • Lemon juice
  • Ginger ale
  • Fruit juice
  • Soy sauce

Exploit the spice rack. Add salt, pepper, garlic, whatever sounds good. Marinate your meat from 30 minutes to 24 hours.

Round steaks from the rear legs are lean, tasty and easy to cook. They are a little less tender than chops, so we always marinate them. We then fry them as we would chops. Sometimes we slice them into thin strips for oriental stir-fry dishes, or use them to make stroganoff.

Have the rest of the deer ground up, as lean as possible. Two-pound packages of lean, ground venison are perfect for preparing lasagna,

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