I’m not a fancy chef. I don’t even play one on TV. Like a lot of men, I like to cook, but I have only a few tried and true recipes that I stick with. True to my heritage I can whip you up some of the best beans and cornbread that you ever sunk a tooth into. I even went to another level and got away from doing pinto beans all the time. I now cook a big pot of white beans, usually Great Northern, and I always add a smoked ham hock to cook with them and I…..well I can’t tell you everything in my recipe.
I will readily admit that having the skill to do a pot of beans, the occasional skillet of fried potatoes, (in the spring with ramps, but we will talk about that some other time) and smoke a pork shoulder to get you some pulled pork barbeque does not exactly qualify me to compete on the Iron Chef America show.
I have however spent a few days in woods in and around hunting camps and have been associated with various and sundry deer hunters (some of it was good, some, not so much). My point being is that I have dined on deer meat, venison at times when I thought it was most exquisite and I contemplated maybe never eating beef again. I have also sat down to offerings of venison that I am not sure a starving wolverine wouldhave eaten (and in case you didn’t know wolverines don’t pass up much food wise, starving or not).
Most people who say they don’t like venison or really any wild game almost always say the same thing. Ready? Let’s say it all together class! “I don’t like that ol’ wild, gamey taste!” Hunters, especially deer hunters have heard this phase for years. As most deer hunters are men, they do what most men do when they hear something that they (A) don’t understand or (B) don’t want to hear. And what is that ladies? That’s right, they ignore it!
You can see how this becomes an endless cycle. If a hunter is doing something wrong or not doing something to best prepare his game animals for the table they need to fix that. Not taking the time to properly process and care for your deer leads to the result of Case’s Outdoor Theorem #17, which says a lot, and I mean a lot of venison taken every year eventually winds up in the dumpster.
So how can we end this vicious cycle of wild game abuse? How can we teach some hunters the protocol of delivering clean, savory, wild game to the homestead? No, the answer is not as one lady told me, she waited until her husband went to work and then delivered all of his deer rifles to the pawn shop. I personally do not recommend this approach as I am told it did not work out very well.
As usual your humble outdoor scribe is here to help. So, in no particular order here is a list of things to do (and not to do) that will have you cooking a lot more venison and throwing a lot less away. Following these simple tips will keep your venison from tasting like Goodyear steel belted radials.
Do not make the classic mistake many hunters make when they down a large buck. Often the deer is loaded on the truck and is then taken on tour, driving to every camp and buddy in the area too show off the deer. This can go on for hours. Don’t do it, dress and process the deer properly, take pictures and brag on Facebook if you want.
Well as usual I have gone on too long. The editor will be yelling at me but that is OK, I am getting ready to take off hunting again, my squirrel dog needs to run and I might even chase a bear. Good luck with your venison and I might share that bean recipe if some of you will help me with my cornbread, it just doesn’t seem to be up to snuff lately.