Letter Re: Meat Prices Soar While Deer Populations Explode

Hugh,

Regarding the article on deer hunting and the taste of venison:

The taste of venison is highly dependent on field handling, competent processing of the meat, as well as cooking technique, as the writer noted. It is also dependent on the sex and age of the animal; younger is better, does (female) are better. It is also dependent on the diet; I have heard that sage in the diet worsens the taste.

Both mule deer does we have shot in the past several years were delicious and not at all gamey. Both were reasonably clean kills (no adrenalin pumped through meat due to wounded animal running away), field dressed (gutted) immediately, cavity and external body packed in ice within two hours, and deer was at the game processor within six hours. Ideally, they should have been skinned to cool the meat further, but if you are not skilled this can be difficult.

Both processors we have used have been great; we got nicely trimmed meat and no gristle in the burger. Ask other hunters who is good. We prefer 15% beef fat to 85% venison ground meat ratio; you can get 0%, 5%, or 10% also. Lower fat ratio is fine for chili/soups, but it is not that good for a hamburger, since venison is very lean. No salt water or other type of soaking has ever been needed for taste or tenderness purposes. Get a good game cookbook and do not overcook your steaks/roasts. (Ground meat in chili/soups and hamburger patty with fat added is fine to cook to well done.)

I would encourage giving deer hunting and venison a try. It does not have to taste gamey!

Thanks for all the great articles. – Colorado hunters

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