A couple weeks ago, Connor shot his first deer in Northern Maine and we were able to take home about 110 pounds of meat! I’m so proud of him and thankful that we’re fortunate enough to be able to eat something directly from the wild. When purchasing meat from the grocery store, it’s difficult to know where it directly came from and what was added to preserve the meat, etc. Many people don’t have the opportunity to eat anything but meat that comes from a grocery store, so I’m especially grateful this year that we can eat something so fresh.
However, that comes with the challenge of never really cooking with venison. Last year, Connor’s friend gave us a roast from a deer that he had shot and not knowing what to do with it, I threw it in the crockpot and created a stew. I was so unimpressed with the meat, that I honestly just wrote it off that I didn’t like the flavor of venison. When Connor shot this deer, I was especially nervous because I knew we were going to have a massive amount of meat that I would need to cook. I was so skeptical, but the first thing Connor whipped up was deep-fried backstrap nuggets. I hesitantly tried them….and LOVED them. He was swatting my hand away because I kept trying to steal more! They were so tender and delicious, I enjoyed it more than a good beef steak. I then realized that maybe I shouldn’t have wrote off venison because I didn’t like that one thing I cooked. It wasn’t the meat, it was the way that I prepared it.
All last weekend I was determined to find unique recipes that I could substitute venison for, and they turned out even better than expected! I’ll post a few recipes on my blog, but in the meantime, I recently posted a recipe on my instagram (grilled venison served over egg noodles & steamed broccoli with a homemade cheese sauce). If you don’t have an instagram, no problem! Just scroll to the bottom of my website homepage and you should be able to click the instagram link to find the recipe.
I experiented with Venison Bolognese, Dry-Rubbed Backstrap Steaks, and Homemade Venison Meatballs for Meatball Subs. It was all so good! I can’t wait to share with you all. You could absolutely substitute the venison for any meat you prefer: beef, turkey, etc. Tonight I plan on making Venison Stroganoff: using my mom’s beef stroganoff recipe.
Since venison has less fat than beef, at first I thought it would be difficult to cook with. I’ve honestly been reading a lot of different recipes on how to prepare venison since I’ve never really cooked with it. Relying on other chef’s recipes has helped me become familiar with how to prepare different cuts of meat. I’ve realized that when cooking with venison, it’s important to either marinade or dry-rub the steaks before cooking with them because it helps to tenderize the meat and eliminate any gamey taste that could come through when cooking it. The other point that’s most important when cooking venison is that you need to make sure that you don’t overcook it because it can get tough, really really quick.
I’m really excited to see what other recipes I dream up, and how I can morph recipes that I have to include venison. The only thing that I can hope is that this meat holds us over until Connor could have the opportunity to shoot another!
If you have any recipes, or tips for me on cooking venison, send me an email in the ‘contact us’ form on my website! Enjoy!