It's highly likely that a good many Huron County area readers will have venison in the freezer by the end of deer gun season, and more will take a buck or doe during the muzzleloader season or the last of the archery hunt. In fact, some are likely to have two, even three or (dare I say it?) more by the end of the various hunts.
Which is great if you have 10 kids and a number of relatives, but for many hunters and their wives a single deer or two will put a strain on freezer facilities. And first timers and their help mates might not know what to do with so much meat. Luckily, there are lots of choices.
Some of these depend on just what you killed. I once bagged an old buck, old enough to have grey on his muzzle, and knew instantly that he was going to be tough eating. So, I sorted out a few pounds for jerky, and turned the rest of the animal into trail bologna, summer sausage, and deerburger. I can heartily recommend all three if you have a butcher, processor, or meat cutter who knows how to make the first two. If you're not sure, ask to sample a bite before deciding.
The old buck produced a surprising amount of sausage and bologna, and since I shot it well before Christmas I gave a good bit to friends and relatives for Christmas presents. They liked it fine. The rest I enjoyed on other hunts, ice fishing trips, and just sitting in front of the tv set with meat, crackers, spicy mustard and an appropriate beverage.
The deerburger? I allowed very little or no beef tallow in mine, preferring to add a little olive oil or canola oil when necessary, but otherwise used it anywhere I needed hamburger. I made an excellent chili, producing a flavor that was slightly "wild,” but very tasty, and used more in Sloppy Joes which even my kids liked. It went well in spaghetti, stuffed peppers, hamburger helper and other recipes. Or even just plain hamburgers, frying a pound or so in patties with a little onion in it, and a touch of Worcestershire sauce. Then put the patties on buns with pickle, onion, tomatoes, lettuce and mustard. Very tasty.
Then we go to even simpler recipes. A favorite is to thaw out a few chops from a tender young animal, dust them with onion and garlic powder, then drop into a hot skillet greased with olive oil. It's almost a sin to overcook venison, so for best results, just give the pieces a couple of minutes on each side, then dig in. You might like to dredge the chops in flour, and use the drippings for gravy, or take them out to the patio and grill them over charcoal.
Don't forget to try some meat in things like Stroganoff, or other recipes that require beef, but here's one I really like. Take a couple of strips of venison on your next hunt or fishing trip. Build a hatful of fire, and roast the strips over low flames. Daniel Boone and Lou Wetzel knew that deer meat and fire like each other fine you will, too.
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Hooks & bullets
• Most people never see a coyote since they're nocturnal hunters and very shy around people most times. But there are more and more of them out there aided by large litters and low mortality of the young and adults, and sightings are sure to increase. So, what do you do if you see a coyote? The Division of Wildlife recommends that you remove all pet food and other possible food items that might attract them.
• You should keep small dogs and cats inside too, since they're possible food items for coyotes. If one does stay put and watches you curiously, make noise. Clap your hands, stomp your feet, and shout. If that doesn't work, throw rocks or use a noise maker. If it does not respond to harassment techniques, call a licensed nuisance trapper. Phone numbers are available at 1-800-WILDLIFE.
• BoatUS has produced a good selection of videos that might make interesting watching this winter. They include subjects from “How to drop and retrieve your anchor” and “How to dock a twin-engine outboard in a really tight slip” to “Outboard maintenance jobs” and “Tips for using a VHF radio.” To subscribe to the videos, go to www.YouTube.com/BoatUS.
Dick Martin is a free-lance writer from Shelby. Reach him at [email protected] You also can visit his blog at outdoorswithmartin.com.