Taking Care of The Harvest
I've heard people complain about deer, elk or antelope tasting gamy.
This is my way of taking care of the game I have harvested, works for me
and never have I had a gamy piece of venison. Elk or antelope,
except for a really old buck or bull, but more tough than anything.
Extra aging can help. The only exception is antelope I try to process them
within a few days, they get gamier the longer they age.
I always gut and bleed the game as soon as possible.
2. If I have to leave the game to get help I try to keep it in the shade and or off
the ground (if possible), also open up the chest and neck area if overnight.
Especially elk they can spoil overnight there hide around the neck is very
thick and retains the heat it needs to be opened up and the
wind pipe or air way removed it is the first area that will spoil.
Also I carry a can of black pepper to sprinkle on the open cavity,
neck and around nose & mouth to keep flies and small animals off.
3. In camp hang from the hind legs at the knees, and as soon as possible
skin the game. The quicker it cools out the better. Elk should be
quartered before hanging, This makes them much easier to handle.
(Remember to leave sex organ attached. (Check hunting regulations).
Out west we don't have either sex hunts, forked horn or better.
Except for a few special draws. Again see your regulations they
are different. And in some states spikes are legal but not in Calif.
4. After skinning get a towel and a bucket of cool water and wipe all
dirt, hair and blood off, also trim away all blood shot areas,
then put on a deer or elk bag(s) to keep flies and dirt off.
5. I always hang my game in the shade. Never in the sun.
6. I age deer about 6 to 10 days, elk about 10 to 14 days and antelope
1 to 3 days in a cooler before butchering. (Which I do my self )
7. I don't take my deer or any game to a locker. (Except for aging), They
just don't cut it the way I like and I never get as much meat back
or even my own animal for all I know. But there are exceptions.
It really is easy to butcher your own. It just takes practice.
You learn all the cuts as you go and its fun to do.
(PS: I bought a vacuum sealer, the best thing for
keeping your meat fresh and from freezer burn)
When returning to Calif., up to 1000 miles depending on which western state,
We always wrap our game up in moving blankets and tarps,
keeping them surprisingly ice cold after 10 to 18 hours of travel.
Only in extremely hot weather we pack the game with ice before wrapping.
Out west we have to cross the desert (Las Vegas) to get home to So.Calif.
But usually the weather is cooler at that time of the year.
1. Never over cook venison, elk or antelope (when barbecuing) it has no
fat, over cooking makes it tough and loose its flavor, keep it rare
it is a very firm meat. (Not like beef).
Only when cooking roasts in a crock pot or cooking bag
for certain recipes should it be fully cooked.
2. Barbecue- Try wrapping bacon around a venison back-strap. See recipe
bone out the back-strap and cut into 6 to 10 inch length's,
depending on how many people.
(Venison chops tend to dry out to much if over cooked)
The tenderloin is another cut located inside the chest cavity
between the ribs and the hind legs.
3. Hind legs, make roasts & little breakfast steaks & stew meat.
4. Front shoulders again make roasts & stew meat.
5. The neck roast makes into great taquito meat. (See recipe)
6. I save all the scrapes and trimming removing all the tallow (exterior fat),
and make salami or hamburger.
7. Venison jerky, make your own. Partially freeze a roast then cut into
quarter inch wide strips (see recipe).
8. Venison heart & liver is also very tasty (again don't over cook).
9. If you like beef Stroganoff try it with Venison or elk comes out great just
use your favorite recipe only don't forget when browning the
meat don't over cook it (again keep it on the rare side)
10. If you like steak & eggs Venison makes the best. Just use part of
a roast cut into quarter inch steaks pan fry in a little hot oil
it doesn't take long, add salt , pepper or garlic salt
serve with toast and hash browns.
Makes my mouth water just typing this.
Venison, Elk or Antelope Back-strap or Tenderloin
1. First sprinkle meat with pepper & garlic salt, then wrap with strips of bacon,
starting from one end and overlapping as you go around.
Use toothpicks to hold the bacon in place.
2. Barbecue for about 8 minutes a side (4 sides) on medium to high heat.
Keep watch while cooking and try not to burn the bacon.
The bacon helps seal in the juices while cooking and adds a little flavor
to your loin. Depending on how thick your loin is you should
very your cooking time, not to over cook.
(And average lion is about two and a half inches thick)
3. To serve slice into quarter inch wide medallions and top with sautéed mushrooms
if you like. Add a baked potato and a green salad and your set.
It doesn't get any better than this !!!
Venison sandwich or
1. Place a three to four pound roast in crock pot or cooking bag.
2. For a crock pot place roast in bottom and add about a cup of water, a
couple cloves of garlic, salt, pepper and 1(small) sliced onion. Place
lid on and let cook on low heat over night or about 6 to 7 hours.
3. Cooking bag works well also same ingredient's only cook in the oven
at 350 degrees for about 2 to 3 hours.
4. Remove roast, carve it against the grain in quarter inch thick slices.
5. Place in a sauce pan, add your favorite barbecue sauce (Masterpiece
is mine) in between every few slices and re-heat (on low) stirring
occasionally but not to often the meat should be very tender
at this point and you don't want to break it up to much.
6. Place 4 or 5 pieces on a toasted & buttered hamburger or onion bun. Serve with
your favorite potato, apple,or macaroni salad and baked beans. Enjoy.
Elk or wild pig taquitos
1. Use same recipe as above but after the meat is cooked shred it using
a fork (with the grain) and place in a bowl or plastic bag.
Do this while meat is still warm it shreds very easy at this time.
2. Use warmed corn tortillas (they won't crack when rolling) and place pieces of
meat lengthwise, then roll them up and use a toothpick to hold them closed.
One roast makes 2 or 3 dozen. I freeze them in one dozen packages.
3. Use a frying pan with about a eight inch of cooking oil (on medium high) and
fry taquitos till crispy or lightly browned. Then place on a stack of paper
towels (4 or 5) to soak up any extra oil. Also remove toothpicks.
As your cooking you might have to add more oil after each batch.
4. Serve with guacamole, Spanish rice and refried beans.
5. Guacamole take 4 or 5 ripe avocados remove skin & seed place in glass bowl
smash with fork, add garlic salt, pepper and Lawry's seasoning salt.
(Optional add some mild cheddar cheese 2 oz. (shredded),
1 med. diced tomato,and some salsa hot or mild,
Taste while adding not to over season.
or Elk Stew
Just use your favorite recipe and use Venison or Elk
(instead of beef) very good flavor and healthy.
or Elk Jerky
1. Use either 1 pound of front shoulder or hind roast.
2. Remove all tallow (fat) and place the meat in the freezer.
3. When the meat is semi-frozen it is easily cut into quarter inch strips,
(the thinner the slices the faster the drying time).
4. Meat cut with the grain will be chewy while the cuts against will be tender.
5. Marinate in this mixed sauce for about 1 hour.
4 tablespoons soy sauce
4 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon ketchup
1/4 teaspoon pepper (more pepper for hotter jerky)
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon onion salt
1/2 teaspoon salt
6. Marinate the meat for 1 hour, then drain in a colander. Place on trays to
dry. For fastest drying do not overlap the meat on the trays and
turn the meat over at least once during the drying period.
7. Dry at 145 degrees for 8 to 10 hours in the Oven, or use a
Food Dehydrator same temperature and time.
8. You should refrigerate for long storage ( But I don't think it will last that long).
Thank you for taking the time to read this and I hope you enjoy the recipes.
Remember wild game is not corn feed & farm raised. But it is a very healthy
meat that has no fat or marbling. It just takes a little extra care when cooking.