My first adventures in making venison consisted of making jerky. When we made it in the dehydrator, we used ground venison, mashed flat, cut into strips (you must use a cure when dehydrating raw meats). These were a HUGE hit. We added a small amount of the venison jerky to our “goodies gift baskets” at Christmas and folks loved it.
I received lots of warnings about using venison from people who said it smelled bad, tasted “gamey” or was too lean to use to cook. I was a little worried about using it for our every day meals, but once I learned the differences between venison and beef, I have not had any problems.
Venison is very lean, so when you prepare it, you need to add liquid or fat. I usually just mix it half and half with beef. If you do this, you can use it in any beef recipe where the meat is just mixed in, like tacos, spaghetti sauce, sloppy joes (use it with a can of Manwich), Hamburger Helper or casserole types of dishes.
If you use venison steaks, marinade them, or they may be hard or stringy. You can marinade them for 48 hours in the fridge. You can use any marinade you would use for beef, or research some online.
If you use venison roasts, this will be super easy.
Get a bottle of your favorite barbecue sauce. Put the roast in your crock pot. Cover it in your favorite barbecue sauce. Let it cook on low all day. At dinnertime, shred it apart with a fork, or cut it in small chunks to make a yummy barbecue. If you see any of the “Silver” in your meat, you may want to slice that off. It can be a little unpleasant.
To use it up quickly, make a huge batch of chili and use half beef, half venison and freeze it for future meals. Be sure you freeze it in family sized portions. You can also just brown a whole big batch of ground venison, cool it, then put it in a freezer bag. Every time you use beef, add a scoop of the ground venison to it. That will stretch your beef further and you will not waste all that good healthy meat!
One more thing I should have added is this: If your husband is hunter, he is doing exactly what God designed our husbands to do. He is providing real, valuable meat for your family’s table. Make sure your children (and you) honor and respect him for it. Teach them to be truly appreciative of Dad’s efforts in this area. Healthy, grass fed, hormone free, antibiotic free, processing free meat costs TONS these days at the grocery, and learning to use this cut of meat creatively will truly bless your family. GO ahead and use sauces and things if necessary to make it useful and palatable to your family, and work on every one’s hearts in the meantime to be sure you are showing your husband the utmost respect for his contributions to your freezer.
Do you use venison or other exotic meats (elk, etc) in your cooking?
Malia Russell is the blessed wife to Duncan, thankful mother to five children, ages newborn to 20 and an author, conference speaker and director of www.homemaking911.com and www.wheat-n-things.com. Visit her site for inspiration, encouragement and practical help in your roles as a godly wife, mother, homemaker or home educator.