20 Dec DEER DINNER TIME!!!
Now that you have filled your tag and have processed your deer, it is time to eat!
For most true hunters, the end of a successful hunt is about the food. We all enjoy the antlers, mounts, and stories, but the primary purpose of the kill or “harvest” is dinner. If you don’t eat it, why shoot it?
Some folks just donate or give their venison away. What a waste. They are missing out on the best and most rewarding part of the hunt. As hunters and gatherers, we pride ourselves on feeding our friends and family. Knowing where our meals come from is so important. Wild game is “Organic”, “Free Range”, and healthy. If you process it yourself, you are guaranteed to serve clean, healthy, and tasty meals. That means that even your wife will eat it!
The average processed deer will provide a variety of cuts, sausage, jerky, steaks, roasts, chops, and grind. Double wrapping or vacuum sealing the meat will allow you to freeze it for a year or more. Great recipes help you use the venison much more quickly.
The Tenderloins are the most tender cut of a deer. These round ropes of meat are found along the back of the deer. You also need to remove the “Fish”, or inner loins, as soon as you hang the deer. These inner cuts are smaller but even tastier. They can be cut into Filet Mignons, Butterfly Chops, or left whole to use with this recipe.
The large tenderloin needs to be trimmed of all silver skin and fat. You can also marinate the meat using the marinade recipe from this article.
Fry diced mushrooms, bacon, and garlic, and place in a bowl. Now slice the loin like a sandwich roll. Coat the interior with cream cheese, then add the fried mushrooms, bacon, and garlic. Sprinkle with bread crumbs and olive oil. Tie together with a string and season with some Montreal Steak Seasoning. Grill until medium rare. Remember that deer meat is darker than other meats. It is easy to overcook and ruin the recipe. Remove the string and carve 1-1 1/2 in. angular slices. Place on a plate and serve warm. You can prepare a sauce if you want, but the flavor is already amazing.
Make this recipe your own by adding other flavors. Wrapping the loin in bacon is often an addition that most cooks try. Cook slowly and evenly so you get crispy, cooked bacon but not an overcooked loin.
Simple is always best when cooking. Try this marinade with beef or venison. Use equal parts Red Wine and Olive Oil seasoned with Montreal Steak Seasoning blend. Allow the meat to marinate in a glass covered bowl or a sealed plastic bag. Usually an hour is fine, but I have allowed the meat to soak for up to a week with perfect results. The oil helps the meat from sticking to a grill or pan. The wine tenderizes and helps to add flavor, along with the spices.
Remember that venison gets tough and chewy when overcooked. Medium rare is best. Push on the cooked meat to feel the texture. It should feel like the fatty part of the base of your thumb, on your open hand. The meat will continue to cook even after it is removed from the grill. Less is more. Deer meat is darker in color than beef, so you will not see a pink interior.
Ground deer is awesome for a variety of meals. Burgers are something that everyone is willing to try. When I process my venison, I grind it with pork shoulder. Grind the deer first, then add pieces of cut up pork for the second grind. This fattier meat is like adding bacon to the burger. The fat also helps the meat form into a patty or meat loaf. Make the hamburgers before you freeze them and separate them with a piece of wax paper. This helps them to separate when you need them. The thinner patty will cook quickly, so do not overcook. Use a pair of burgers to build the BIG Buck Burger.
The key to a great burger starts with a decent bun. Try a sesame bun or a pretzel style bun. You want the bun to be toasted or grilled with some butter, so it will be sturdier and tasty. Once the burger is built, a long toothpick or twig will help hold it together.
Create a “Secret Sauce” to highlight the sandwich. Use 1 cup of Miracle Whip, 1/3 cup of sweet relish, ¼ cup of French Dressing, 1 teaspoon of pepper, 1 tablespoon of sugar, and some dried onion. McCormick spice company also makes a variety of great spice blends especially for burgers. Stir the ingredients together.
No one likes a soggy bun, so lay some lettuce or a slice of cheese on the bun first as a shield. Now, lay the first patty covered with a slice of cheese. Add some special sauce and then the second patty. Place some sliced pickles, tomato, and onion on top. The stack should be even and manageable. Now add a final slice of cheese, topped off with the bun.
A warm, toasty, juicy burger is always best. Here is a trick to enhance the BUCK BURGER. Place the finished sandwich into a foil tray or pan away from the grill’s direct heat for about 5 minutes. This indirect heat will melt the cheese and blend the flavors of your special sandwich. The melted cheese will help to hold the sandwich together.
Creating your own version of the BIG BUCK BURGER is always fun. Fried onion rings, Bleu Cheese Crumbles, or other sauces will kick your version up another notch!
Presentation is so important when serving any meal. If you serve the meal in a dog food bowl, don’t be surprised if no one enjoys it. Try to present your meal in an appetizing manner. One year at hunting camp, I served these burgers on top of thinly cut log wheels. My buddies are still talking about it. A nice platter, plate, or decoration will enhance the meal you prepared.
Great chefs enjoy hearing compliments, not complaints.
Enjoy your Deer Dinner!
For more Montana Grant, visit his website at www.montanagrantfishing.com