The question I get asked most often is without doubt whether or not I actually eat what I bag during hunting seasons. After I assure everyone that I most surely do and that it in fact comprises a large part of my diet, the next question always is: how do you cook wild meat?
Beef and venison recipes are interchangeable. However you like your beef cooked is the way to cook venison with one exception. Venison is not marbled with fat as is beef. Therefore, venison must NOT be cooked as long as beef. No doubt the biggest reason why people tell me their venison was tough is that it simply was overcooked.
The best venison jerky I've ever used was given to me years ago by John Olsen of Galeton.
3 pounds venison
1 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon each garlic and onion powder
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/3 cup Worcestershire sauce
1 cup soy sauce
3 tablespoons liquid smoke, Wright's preferred
1 teaspoon saltpeter
Cut meat in small strips about the size of a cigarette. Remove all fat and gristle. Marinate overnight in above seasonings. Stir several times so meat becomes all the same color.
Drain. Pat dry with paper towels. Spread on cake cooling racks in a shallow pan. Put in oven. Dry in very low heat, turning several times until dry. Dry until stiff. Store in a dry place in a covered jar. It keeps indefinitely.
This is my prepare-for-company recipe, given to me years ago by outdoor writer Charlie Burchfield.
CROCK POT VENISON
1 medium onion, thinly sliced, saute till limp.
1/4 cup butter
1 1/2 cups stewing beef or venison, add to onion, stir to cool
Put in crockpot.
1 bay leaf
1 to 2 teaspoons dried currents, cranberries or raisins
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1/4 cup burgundy wine or red cooking wine
1 tablespoon wine vinegar
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon cumin (optional)
1/8 teaspoon each of ground cloves and garlic powder
Stir and add to meat in crock-pot, cover and cook on low 7 to 9 hours or on high 3 to 4 hours. Stir to blend.
Twenty minutes before serving cover with 1/4 pound Monterey jack cheese, dried or grated or any cheddar cheese and 1/4 cup broken walnuts. Cook on low for 15 minutes more.
My hunting buddy Bob Beck of Duncansville gave me this recipe that is so easy and so good I make it for myself. It is also quite good in the crock-pot.
EASY VENISON STEAKS
2 mediumsized venison steaks
1 package onion soup mix
1 medium onion
2 green peppers, sliced
1 large can stewed tomatoes
12-15 mushrooms, sliced
Brown the steaks then add all the other ingredients. Add I cup water, cover and simmer slowly until meat is tender.
Venison is not some exotic fare that needs flouring, marinating and soaking to disguise some "wild taste." Venison's "wild taste" is mainly a figment of the imagination. The exception is that if a deer was not properly cared for after being harvested, it may indeed have a strange taste.
I repeat: do not overcook venison. When I'm frying a steak, for instance, or a hamburger and I get to the place in the cooking process where I think it needs just another minute or two, I remove it from the heat then. The additional minute you would give to beef will simply dry out the venison. If a venison steak is tough, you cooked it too long.
A friend once gave me this recipe for barbecued venison steak. You won't be sorry you tried it.
Barbecued venison steak
1 cup catsup
1/2 cup water
1 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped sweet pepper
1 1/2 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
2 tbs. brown sugar
1 tsp. salt,
4 pounds venison steak.
Combine all ingredients except steak and bring to a boil, then simmer 3 minutes. Pour over the steak, cover and bake at 350 degrees for 1 to 2 hours, depending on thickness of steak. So easy and so good.
For a savory roast or also with steak, mix 1 can of cream of mushroom soup and I can water, package dry onion soup mix, then pour over meat and cook until done.
Then there is everyone's favorite Bear recipe courtesy of Ed Figart of Claysburg. We simply call it Figart's Bear Stew. Here is how you put it together.
Begin with 2 pounds bear meat, cut into small pieces. Brown it in oil with a large onion. After meat is browned add a 32oz. can of beef broth to the meat and bring to a boil. When it boils, add one package of McCormick's Stew seasoning, turn the heat down and let the meat cook until it is tender. Set aside to cool. When cooled skim off any grease from the top and discard.
As the meat cooks, cut up six large potatoes into small pieces along with some carrots, celery and green pepper. When meat is nearly done, throw the vegetables into the pot with the meat along with a second package of stew seasoning and salt and pepper to taste. When the vegetables are almost done, add a package of frozen peas.
When stew is done stir in a mixture of flour/cornstarch and water for thickening until stew is consistency you desire. Let stand until it cools completely, during which all the flavors blend. Refrigerate it until next day, then reheat and serve.
Recipe notes: ?This stew can be made with beef or venison. If you want to make a larger batch, then double or triple ingredients.