FIRELANDS OUTDOOR NOTEBOOK - What's next with your deer?

Congratulations, you got one! A fine 12 point, maybe a fat forky, or a sleek doe, it doesn't matter because you're now smiling into a freezer loaded with good eating venison. Your wife might not be smiling, though, as she wonders how one fixes deer meat. Lots of answers to that question.
Norwalk Reflector Staff
Jul 25, 2010
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Congratulations, you got one! A fine 12 point, maybe a fat forky, or a sleek doe, it doesn’t matter because you’re now smiling into a freezer loaded with good eating venison. Your wife might not be smiling, though, as she wonders how one fixes deer meat.

Lots of answers to that question.

The vital point to keep in mind for house fraus or cooking bachelors is that deer meat when properly dressed and butchered is quite similar to beef. It has a slightly different “wild taste” that I like very much, as will you, and it’s a fine, healthy, low-fat meat unless you had the meat cutter fill your deer burger with beef suet. So, anything you can do with beef can be done with venison.

Lots of it is truly simple. For example, take a pound of venison burger, chop up a little onion in it, add a touch of Worcestershire sauce, then form into patties and fry. Add pickle, more onion, mustard and catsup on a hamburger bun, and eat. Sound familiar? Deerburger makes a fine sloppy joe. too, using either your own recipe or just frying some and adding sloppy joe mix from the supermarket. And don’t forget other hamburger recipes like chili, spaghetti and stuffed peppers. Venison works fine for these.

Barbecue always is good. Pressure cook a roast or even chops or steaks until nearly done and tender. Then add your favorite barbecue sauce, and let it simmer a little more. Ladle onto buns, and dig in. If you don’t tell the kids it’s deer meat, they’ll probably go for thirds.

A personal favorite that’s simple is to thaw out a few chops, dust them lightly on both sides with onion and garlic powder, then drop into a hot skillet coated with olive oil. A couple of minutes on each side and they’re done. Please don’t make the mistake of overcooking venison or anything else. I read in an old book the tongue-in-cheek recipe for deer steaks that said “Cook it till it’s done, then overdone, then fry the h-ll out of it.” Fried leather isn’t tasty.

You can vary the frying by dredging chops in flour, too, and using the drippings for gravy, or broiling over a charcoal fire with appropriate condiments. Lots of choices for venison. And never forget your ace in the hole for quick meals, ladies, venison and French onion soup. Toss a roast into the pressure cooker, add a can of soup, and cook till tender. It’s REALLY good.

From this point on, we can get exotic. Like stroganoff. Dice a large onion and sauté it in a half stick of butter. Then add a pound of venison cut in one inch cubes, a half pound of cut up mushrooms, and a sprinkle of seasoning salt. Brown lightly. Next, dissolve a couple of beef bouillon cubes in a cup of water, and add to the mix along with two cans of cream of mushroom soup, and a package (8 oz) of French onion dip. Cook over low heat until venison is thoroughly cooked, and serve over cooked noodles. Does that sound great?

There are lots of other recipes. Venison pot roast, meat loaf, oven roasts, appetizers, meatballs, corned venison, the list goes on. You’ll find that freezer full of meat will disappear fast in many tasty ways.

Dick Martin is a free-lance writer from Shelby. Reach him at richmart@neo.rr.com \n Steady rains hampered the efforts of Ohio hunters on opening day of deer season, but they still managed to bag 19,391 animals, a number just one third of last years first day kill of 39,629. Counties reporting the highest number of deer checked in Monday were Guernsey — 871, Tuscarawas — 833, and Harrison — 732. In our area, Huron County hunters killed 220, Richland — 201, Erie — 46, Seneca — 187 and Lorain — 120.

n The ODNR is offering some unusual gifts this year for relatives who seem to have everything. The Ohio State Parks, for example, has gift cards good for a variety of recreational activities, including golf, boat rentals and overnight stays. State park gift cards are available in any denomination at individual park offices or by calling (614) 265-6513 during regular business hours. The cards can be used for lodge and cabin stays, campgrounds and some park marinas.

n The leaves have fallen and many birds have migrated south. But some come, often from further north, to stay, and that includes pine siskins, the dark-eyed junco, and northern harriers, as well as chickadees and cardinals. Readers who like their bird watching are invited to join a nationwide bird survey called the Christmas Bird Count that helps keep track of the movements of birds during the winter. This years survey lasts from Dec. 14 to Jan. 5. For information on how to get involved, contact Audubon Ohio at (614) 265-3303.