When people want to eat a bit healthier, they usually turn to fish or chicken. However, most of you probably don’t know that venison is actually one of the healthiest meat options there is. Deer meat is very popular in the Western world because it has plenty of nutrients, vitamins, protein and it is low in fats. If you ever tried venison and you didn’t like the taste, it’s probably due to poor way of preparation. There are dozens of recipes online for cooking deer meat, but there are some universal rules that should be followed when preparing it.
Don’t Overcook It
The first mistake people usually make when preparing deer meat is that they overcook it. When it’s overcooked, the meat becomes hard to chew and rubbery. This is lean meat and it’s very low in fat, so it’s best to serve it medium rare. Also, if venison is cooking for too long, it will start losing its nutrients. Also, when preparing the essential cooking equipment which you can find here, use a pan and put the meat in it. However, don’t cover the pan, and make sure the venison is warmed up to room temperature before throwing it in the pan.
The Cut Determines the Cooking Method
The way you prepare your deer meat will ultimately depend on where the cut comes from. If the cut is a tenderloin or loin, you have more space for high-heat grilling and you can sear the meat and make it sizzle for a while. Another great cooking method for this part of the venison is smoking. If you’re short on time, try a vertical charcoal smoker instead. It cooks faster than other types and it doesn’t need as much fuel. On the other hand, if the cut is from some tougher areas, such as neck or shoulder, you will have to cook it slowly with braising or stewing. For example, you can make a great soup from such meat if you’re patient enough and have the time.
Remember, It’s Not Corn-Beef!
This is really important – venison is not the same as beef! So, don’t use it as a substitute in beef recipes. Deer meat has way less fat and marbling than corn-fed beef, so it’s not going to behave the same while cooking, nor the flavors are going to match. Deer forage grass, acorns, herbs and many other plants so their meat tastes significantly better, and a bit stronger. That is usually why the prices for venison in restaurants are higher than those of beef, but it’s totally worth it.
Tenderize the Meat
The key thing when preparing venison is tenderizing it because this meat can often be gamey and tough if you don’t prepare it well. For starters, pound the pieces with a meat mallet and then put them in a marinade for at least eight hours. There are great recipes for venison marinade online, or you can find some great ones at the store, but you want to include acidic ingredients into it, such as lemon juice in order to break down the fibers of the muscles to make the meat more tender. You can even rely on dry rubs with salt, coffee or ginger which will also make it soft and tender.
However, remember not to overdo it with the salt. Since venison steak is not the same as the regular steak and it’s leaner, it can easily dry out. So, if you put in too much salt it may turn into jerky right before your eyes. Also, don’t forget to take that little fat off the meat. You may think that if you leave it the meat won’t dry out. But in fact, deer fat tastes terrible and it can only ruin your meal.
Just like any other meat, venison will also require special treatment if you want to do it right. These tips above will make sure you do it right and prepare an amazing meal out of your venison, so make sure to be careful and patient with it.