Although Hunting seemed to invite controversy in the last 25 years, we see a new trend in society becoming more “enlightened” to the benefits that Hunting programs around the country are yielding. The chart above shows the amount and kind of meat, from one of the most popular type of hunts, White tailed deer. For many families in the Continental USA, Venison is a big component of their diet. Venison harvested from local land or special ranch, provides a clean, free from antibiotics/chemicals/preservatives form of protein for nightly dinners.
Closely related but not quite the same is Elk meat. From (RMEF) the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, we have an Elk meat “cuts” chart and info. Shown below.
Many people make the mistake to say that since Elk and Deer are in the same family, they must taste the same. Most hunters will tell you that there is a hint of Venison (deer only) in the taste of Elk meat but more often people will compare Elk to the flavor of Beef, being a bit more mild and sweeter than Beef.
Culinary experimentation has grown so greatly in the last two decades, and the number of methods of cooking, available to the everyday Kitchen cook in your home, has also increased. Few homes are without a slow-cooker these days, also stovetop and outdoor smokers are the rage, Sous vide is now also an affordable way to moist/slow cook proteins. And there is always the gas grill……
The cooking method is very important and following the instructions carefully will yield the best results. Many wild game meats are quite lean, with little fat, meat cuts have to be marinated, immersed in liquid or cooked like a stew with plenty of liquid surrounding. The key to meats which have a bit more “gamey” flavor, often this is what is said about deer, is to use different herbs and flavors to marinade and develop flavor.
Before cooking and/or marinating, it is recommended to soak the Deer meat.
Prior to cooking, soak your venison steaks overnight in buttermilk. This will help pull the blood out of the meat and remove some of that gamy taste. Elk should not require the buttermilk soak. You can make buttermilk simply by adding vinegar to regular milk from the carton. Simple as that. The taste of Venison is improved by using herbs such as: Bay, Cardamom, chervil, chiles, chives, cinnamon, cloves, coriander, fennel, garlic, ginger, juniper, lemongrass, mustard, nutmeg, orange, parsley, pepper (black, green, white, szechuan), rosemary, sage, salt,and shallots. You can research what combos your family likes best. When using Lemongrass or ginger you will add a Thai influence, when using coriander, cloves, and nutmeg you will have an Indian flair. Try different ideas and have fun with the spices!
At Gage Outdoor we want to help you find the hunt, bring home your dinner and give you ideas for how to cook your harvest! We will be posting recipes, cooking methods, and videos about cooking Deer, Elk, Buffalo, Pheasant, Duck, Moose, and more! Check it out on our Special Recipes section of www.gageoutdoor.com