For many, the hunt is over and the best part of having a freezer full of venison is about to unfold! All those incredible edibles you can make. If you have never processed your own deer or done nothing more than had a freezer full of hamburger…this season you could be in for a treat! Deer meat, being of the healthiest protein sources in the Midwest is also incredibly tasty.
I have made entire deer into jerky. I think its flavor, although pretty good alone, balances greatly with the various spices and such you add with jerky. Of my favorites, the bourbon and brown sugar blend is the ultimate. You can do this the hard way (add each spice separately) or simply boost the flavor of a jerky seasong purchased at the store by adding brown sugar (1/2 C/10 lbs meat) and bourbon (1/4 C/10 lbs meat). Actually, I really believe that when mixing all the spices, brown sugar and bourbon into a marinade, it actually soaks into the meat better and tastes better. Allow the mix to soak into the meat overnight and voila! Want to add another dimension, dry the meat in your smoker and play with various wood flavors. Man you will be loved by your friends! But…I like jerky so I try to limit my friends…
Let’s face it. The back straps of deer, along with the tenderloins, are the ultimate for a meat treat! Tender, juicy and full of flavor, these just beg to become fused with a good rub and mated on the grill. For a quick marinade, the bourbon and brown sugar is hard to beat. Venison and cracked black pepper are also great together. Don’t like black pepper? Learn to as this one is great. There are various black pepper rubs available that add the basic salts, peppers, and other spices to the meat. Here is a trick that will infuse the meat with flavor…I use a Pampered Chef meat tenderizer (tell the guys at deer camp and I will deny it) to tenderize and actually tear the spices into the meat. Then, I let set for 24 hours before flash grilling over a flame. The key to venison is to NOT over cook it. Medium is done enough and your taste buds will worship you. Let it get to well done and they will never forgive you. My brother-in-law Dave and I have made it a tradition to have venison bourbon back straps every year at deer camp. Guess who forgot the steaks this season….?
The final key to awesome venison is how it is handled in the field. Once field dressed, take extra steps to keep the meat clean, cool and dry. Keep hair off the meat and package air tight before freezing. Take care of any game animal once harvested and all the effort will be repaid ten fold when it is sitting on the dinner table surrounded by potatoes! Don’t forget to take some to the office and share with friends. Most folks will be amazed at how delicious wild game can be. Of course, once you bring jerky in…they will expect it every year…something to think about.
Get Em’ Out There