Venison is one of the most traditional and widely-eaten varieties of wild game. In Europe, venison was once considered to be a status symbol. Early Americans depended on it as a source of protein throughout the cold winter months.
During hunting season, fresh caught deer meat feeds many families. While it’s not widely sold, it’s available in some specialty food stores and fine restaurants that feature natural meats. Hunters agree that when properly prepared, fresh venison can be much more delicious than beef. A healthier option as well…Venison is leaner than beef with less calories.
After the hunt, a deer will yield approximately 40% of its weight in meat, which is a lot less than other animals. A Black Angus by comparison, will yield 73%. Venison cuts can be used for steaks, chops, roasts, hamburger, stew meat and sausage.
Using fresh venison is always recommended because the longer you wait, the tougher the meat will become. Deer meat should be cut by an experienced butcher and refrigerated immediately for the best freshness and taste. Aging the meat for up to two weeks will eliminate some of the gaminess.
Because venison is leaner than beef, it needs to be prepared with an alternate source of fat like butter, oil or bacon. Like other meats, different cuts are used for certain preparations. When cooking with venison, home cooks and chefs alike can always benefit from a little guidance. We found great resources in, “Gut It. Cut It. Cook It,” by Erich Fromm and Al Cambronne; “The Hunting Widow’s Guide to Great Venison Cooking,” by Susan Rose; and “The Art of Cooking Venison,” by Certified Executive Chef Albert Wutsch. After a great hunt, enjoy a wonderful feast.
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