Our oldest grandson Lucas is a real carnivore. The kid loves meat. And it tickles me that his favorite meat is venison. Only Lucas does not call it venison, he calls it what it is, deer meat. Our whole family was tickled when I came home from a Kansas bowhunt just before Christmas with the first big buck I have taken with my bow since the lymphoma interfered with my bowhunting (and a few other aspects of life) six seasons ago. Many of you still have a ton of venison in the freezer, so I thought that this might just be the perfect time to share some of my favorite venison recipes with you.
This one has been a favorite of ours for a long time and I have yet to serve it to anyone who has not thoroughly enjoyed it. I’ve made this one with elk, moose, caribou, antelope, deer, and bear and it is all delicious.
Trim all fat and sinew from the steaks and then pound until they are about one-half-inch thick. Put a cup of seasoned flour into a plastic bag, throw in the steaks and shake well. Brown the steaks on each side in hot butter. Remove the steaks from the pan and add a cup of water and a couple of beef bullion cubes. Stir until the cubes melt and then put the steaks back in the pan. Put a teaspoon of brown sugar and a pad of butter on each steak. Sprinkle chopped onions over the whole works and then squirt ketchup on top of the onions. Bake covered at 325 degrees for about a half-hour and then take the cover off for 15 minutes.
If you like, you can put squash and baking potatoes in the oven a half hour before the meat and the whole works will be done at the same time.
Backstrap on The Grill
The backstrap are the two strips of meat which lie on either side of the backbone. They are tender and tasty and if they are not, you are in for a lot of bad eating, because if the backstraps are not good the rest of the meat will be really bad!
Our favorite method of preparing backstrap is on the grill. When I butcher my deer, I don’t slice the backstrap into individual steaks (chops) but rather cut each backstrap into three or four chunks, each piece being 6- to 8 inches long. The night before I’m going to cook the meat, I marinate the meat in ginger ale, which just happens to be what I usually have on hand. Any carbonated soda, such as Coke, Pepsi, 7-Up or even beer will work just as good. Before putting the meat on the grill I take it out of the marinade, dry it off and then rub the meat with seasonings. Salt and pepper works just fine, but you can’t go wrong with a little Lowry’s seasoning salt either.
Over hot coals or medium heat on a gas grill, sear the back, which works just fine for my wife Nancy, Lucas and I. Lucas and I like our venison on the pink side, but Nancy insists on well-done, so Nancy gets the two ends and Lucas and I share the rest of it. Only two things to remember here, do not overcook and serve it hot. When I take the meat off the grill, I lay it on a wood cutting board and slice it into one-quarter inch sections. Then I put the cutting board full of meat right on the table. If you transfer the meat to a plate or serving tray the meat only cools off quicker and I repeat, venison must be served hot.
Melt-In-Your-Mouth Tender Roasts
Venison roasts have a bad reputation for being tough and dry. And if you attempt to prepare a venison roast as you would a beef or pork roast that is just what you will get — tough and dry. Venison has no marbling to keep it moist and juicy while cooking, so we have to help it out. The best way I have found to do this is to dissolve a cup of Kosher salt and a cup of brown sugar in a plastic ice cream bucket full of warm water. You can use cold water, but I’ll warn you, that the salt and sugar will not dissolve as well. Put the roast in the ice cream bucket, cover and put in the frig overnight. I don’t know how the salt and sugar work in combination, but I can assure you that they will help to keep any chunk of meat moist while cooking. I use the same concoction for wild turkey, ducks, geese, and pheasants, as well as big game other than deer.
After soaking overnight you can cook the roast however you like. I usually take the easy route and throw the seasoned roast into a crockpot with nothing more glamorous than a little cooking wine or ginger ale and a layer of sliced onions. Let it slow cook most of the day and odds are you won’t need a knife to cut the meat when you sit down to supper.
I hope you and your family have a chance to try some of these recipes.
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