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Kat and Kevin Yares
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Cooking Deer (Venison) Meat
Like many people, I scour the Internet looking for new recipes to try. One meat I see so poorly treated in recipes in deer or venison. If some of these recipes are the way many people cook venison, it's no wonder why so many claim to hate deer meat. Venison, cooked properly, is a delicacy, so much so that many restaurants consider it a gourmet food and attach a high-end price tag to a small portion. If you, or someone in your family hunts, you know that venison is simple food - simple to cook and delicious to eat.
Grilling, Pan-Frying or Broiling Steaks
Overcooked venison is tough, chewy and tasteless. Overcooking is the main reason people don't like venison and even many hunter will turn the whole animal in hamburger or sausage. Cooked correctly, venison is a food lover's delight and they will leave the table wanting more.
The secret to great venison steaks is never cook them past medium rare. Use a meat thermometer if you must and pull those puppies from the grill, skillet or broiler pan the minute they hit 150 degrees internally. Because deer meat is so lean, ensure that you have a couple of tablespoons of vegetable oil either brushed on the steaks or in the pan before cooking. Season the steaks however you wish, our favorite is simply freshly ground pepper.
Your slower cooker is your friend when it comes to cooking a venison roast. Again, because the meat is so lean, you will need to add something to keep it from drying out. Our favorite is to wrap the roast in bacon slices. Add about 1 cup of water to the bottom of the cooker. Brown the roast in a skillet and cook all day in the slow cooker, until the meat falls from the bone, if you so desire. Even better would be to pull the roast when it hits between 150 and 160 degrees internally.
Words to the Wise
Yes, I know there are some areas of the country where the deer are sick with a disease similar to 'mad cow' in cattle. If this is a problem in your area, you shouldn't be hunting for deer anyway. No trophy or meat is worth the safety and health of your family.
Believe me when I tell you that the rarer you cook your venison steak, the more succulent and melt-in-your-mouth that steak will be.