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Thread: Cooking Game Meat

  1. #1
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    Cooking Game Meat

    I had a woman tell my wife and I yesterday that she no longer let her husband antelope hunt because she didn't like the taste and toughness. I've tried different approaches and many of them work well. Tonight I cooked some antelope that my son shot on Sunday and I'm not sure it tasted much different than most steak.

    I soaked it in Coke for about two hours and then used McCormick meat tenderizer.

    WHAT DO YOU USE?

    A funny bit:

    A controversy has long raged about the relative quality of venisonand beef as gourmet foods. Some people say that venison istough, with a strong “wild” taste. Others insist that venison is tender and that the flavor is delicate. To try and resolve this issue once and for all, a blind taste test was conducted by a certified research group to determine the truth of these conflicting assertions. First, a high-choice Holstein steer was selected and led into a swamp approximately a mile and a half from the nearest road. It was then shot several times in various locations throughout the carcass. After most of the entrails were removed, the carcass was dragged over rocks and logs, through mud and dust, thrown into the back of a pickup truck bed and transported through rain and snow approximately 100 milesbefore being hung in a tree for several days. During the aging period the temperature was maintained at between 25 and 60 degrees. Next the steer was dragged into the garage and skinned out on the floor.(PLEASE NOTE: Strict sanitary precautions were observed throughout the processing within the limitations of the butchering environment. For instance, dogs were allowed to sniff at the steer carcass, but were chased out of the garage if they attempted to lick the carcass or bite hunks out of it. Cats were allowed in the garage, but were always immediately removed from the cutting table.)Next, half a dozen inexperienced but enthusiastic individuals worked on the steer with meat saws, cleavers and dull knives. The result was 200pounds of scrap, 375 pounds of soup bones, four bushels of meat scrapsfor stew and hamburger, two roasts and a half a dozen steaks that werean inch and a half thick on one end and an eighth of an inch on the other.The steaks were then fried in a skillet with one pound of butter and threepounds of onions. After two hours of frying, the contents of the skillet wereserved to three blindfolded taste panel volunteers who were asked if theywere eating venison or beef.Every one of the panel members was sure they were eating venison. One of the volunteers even said it tasted exactly like the venison he had been eating at the hunting camp for the last 27 years.The results of this trial showed conclusively that there is no differencebetween the taste of beef and venison.Author Unknown

  2. #2
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    ha!
    I have shot deer around farms that had been feeding on corn, veggies, soy or apples that IMO were better than beef. these deer were promptly field dressed and hung in cool temps before butchering next day.
    one of my favorite tricks is to serve round steak of venison as breakfast steak in gravy to unsuspecting diners - many of whom were anti-hunting and/or anti-gun then after hearing their favorable comments regarding the meal tell them it was venison.
    swiss steak prepared with venison round/ham steak is another favorite of mine to feed the unaware. and swedish meatballs in stroganoff gravy over noodles.

  3. #3
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    If deer isn't aged, it won't be gamey or tough. Period.

    Game meat doesn't have fat within the meat so aging does not break down or tenderize anything. It only dries it out.

    So, stop hanging game meat. Cut it up at once so the blood can come out, package it and freeze it. If you cut up the meat when it's still warm, it will bleed out freely - and be a much easier task than wrestling with cooled meat.

    When you cook it, leave it pink in the middle - like beef. Overcooking only dries it out, again because there is no fat in the meat.

    If you hang it, it will taste "gamey" and tough, because it's become dry and permeated with blood coagulated within the meat.

  4. #4
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    it was explained to me years ago that long 'ageing' does'nt benefit game but that the carcass should be allowed to go through full rigor mortis in cool environment to allow some enzyme action and also to cut the legs near the 'ankle' to allow blood to run out as it hangs, also take off the head and clean the interior well by rinseing with fresh water if possible.
    and yes chops I cook over med-high heat until just 'done' too long isn't good.
    most of the rest of the meat I cook in a sauce except roasts which I pot roast them. or stew meat.

  5. #5
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    Low-fat meats can be "wet-aged": after hanging to drain the blood, cut the meat and vacuum-seal. The best cuts can be refrigerated for several days before cooking; the rest cooked sooner or frozen.

    Aging makes the meat more tender as enzymes released from the meat break down some of the connective tissue (autolysis). But without a lot of fat (to slow down moisture loss), dry aging will cause more problems than it solves.

  6. #6
    I'm not a hunter (working on it!) but with anything that is caught wild, be it fish, deer, or bird I would expect the quality to vary a lot. Depending on where the critter lives, what it eats, and how the weather has been.

    If you want consistency buy factory farm raised and processed food.

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    The age of the critter is probably more important than any other factor. I stopped shooting big bucks years ago just for that reason. I only shoot spikes/forks because they're relatively young.

    You can butcher a deer in minutes in the field once you become practiced. The hide practically falls off, the meat cuts like butter... Lay them on their side and open them from the spine and peel the hide down and essentially filet them, cutting the meat from the bones. Throw the chunks of meat on a clean bag to bleed. Flip the deer over and do the other side.

    Then, and only then, cut the belly to get the liver/heart inner straps and so on. By then your previously cut meat is well bled and ready to be put in your pack.

    Once a deer (or any critter) has cooled, much of the blood has coagulated within the meat. That, more than anything else, is responsible for strong tastes, gaminess, whatever you want to call it.

    It's similar with fish. If you cut the gills and let them bleed before throwing them on ice, they'll taste far better (less fishy) than if you don't bleed them.

  8. #8
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    Exactly right. In Ohio it's illegal to butcher a deer prior to tagging at a game check station, but gutting and letting them bleed out is important.

    I hang them from a gambrel and butcher with plenty of clean paper and sharp knives. Cooking with actual recipes, not "Uncle Billy's Famous Moose Burger" tricks.

    My favorites are chops done in a crock with mushrooms, roasts slow cooked with onions, garlic and veggies, and tenderloins butterflied and stuffed with cheese.
    I wish I believed in reincarnation. Where's Charles "The Hammer" Martel when you need him?

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    Like Freiheit, I'm not a hunter yet, but I'm hoping to go for the first time this year (I'll take any help I can get from folks in central Indiana). Anyway, a few years ago, in anticipation of me finally getting out in the field, the Mrs got me a copy of this:

    http://www.amazon.com/L-L-Bean-Game-...6582204&sr=1-1

    Lots of good looking recipes for any number of things in there.

    D
    There are a few people you should never trust;
    A skinny chef, a fat personal trainer, and anyone who says they can't stand beer.

  10. #10
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    "...age of the critter is probably more important than any other factor..." Nowhere near as important a show it's handled in the field. Or how quick the carcass gets cooled and into refrigeration. What the beastie has been eating matters too.

  11. #11
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    The deer I shot this past season (and am still enjoying, btw) was an old coot. Very grey around the face, very heavy neck and some pretty impressive antlers. Still looking for a recipe for antlers, though.

    Anyway, processing the animal quickly and taking care in handling and cooking goes pretty far in covering any "toughness" in older animals. Except groundhogs. Big ones are always tough.
    I wish I believed in reincarnation. Where's Charles "The Hammer" Martel when you need him?

    www.bagpipeforum.com
    yes, I play the bagpipes. No, I don't wear a skirt. It's called a kilt.

    Some of the smartest people I've known were "dumb hillbillies".

  12. #12
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    My last buck was a 4 1/2 year old buck. Quartered in a large cooler. Brine and vinegar and ice, changing the water/adding ice every 12 hours or so, for 72 hours.

    Processed within another 8 or so. Into the freezer, labled and ready to eat.

    Deliciousness!!!!
    "An armed man has the means for independence"- some gun nut from the past

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    I've butchered deer the same day as the kill, I've let them sit quartered in a 40 degree fridge for a week before I got to them. They have been old and young. What we do is get them gutted and cooled as soon as possible.

    I've never had a problem with gamey meat and I've introduced quite a few people to venison in the last several years.
    Yes, my daddy gave me my first gun when I was 12 and he bought me a lifetime hunting license for Minnesota.....

  14. #14
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    ted nugent kill it and grill it
    "It does not require a majority to prevail, but rather an irate, tireless minority keen to set brush fires in people's minds." --Sam Adams
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  15. #15
    I think what the problem is - is that there is no one solution that works in all 50 states - all the time.

    Since I mainly hunt Pennsylvania during the rifle season and since the rifle season is in December and sometimes it gets as low as zero at night - the best thing to do in my situation is to get the hide off the deer as soon as possible.

    I use a sawzall to quarter my game and the let it hang on the gambrel.

    To properly cut steaks - the meat has to be froze - because you cannot cut it when it is raw.
    If a person had a regular meat band saw and a meat grinder - they could probably cut up a whole deer in a hour or two.
    The hard part is to clean each piece of meat that you cut and make sure there is no hair in the meat and that there is no bone or gristle in the meat.
    Wrapping paper works if you are only going to keep the meat a couple of months. It takes a long time to use a food saver to package meat and it costs a lot of money for the bags or the bag kit - where you spend half your time making the bags.
    A friend of mine came to my house a couple of years ago and made swiss steak and it was the most delicious meat you ever ate.

    When I was growing up - my dad never made more then $24,000 in a year in his whole life and we ate lot's of deer meat. We had 8 in the family - 6 kids and my parents and it was hard for them to buy food in the grocery store and clothes and pay for the house and all the bills when I was growing up.
    We did without a lot of things that other people had, but we always had good food on the table when it was supper time.
    Mom was a good cook, and if anyone has a problem with eating deer meat - it is because they don't know how to cook it - not because there is anything wrong with it.

    They had a article in the Greensburg Tribune Review last year where the writer showed where there is people in this world that will pay $50+ per a plate - for a 2 lbs steak, deer meat in a restaurant.

    In my book, that would make deer meat more expensive then beef at that price!

  16. #16
    For venison steaks it's all in how you cook it. I like to cook it extremely fast and hot and leave it pink in the middle and then if someone likes it a little more well done I simply wrap it immediately in foil and let it rest for a few minutes.

    I've also become a big fan of pressure cookers for venison.

    As far as sausage and hamburg are concerned I usually throw in some wild hog fat into the mix because the deer is so lean.

  17. #17
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    I have always processed my own deer. Learned it from my dad. Gut it and Skin it and into the ice chest it goes with in an hour or so of being shot. As many have said it is very easy to over cook which makes it tough. We on the other hand eat a lot of Gound meat. I will buy a whole beef brisket and grind it with the deer at about 60% to 40% brisket. Pasta Meat Sause, Hamburgers, Chili, Meat Loaf and all. The brisket has enough fat to make it all good... Making me hungry just thinking about it.
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