BIG DEER Recipe: Tapas Venison

Tapas venisonToday’s guest post from our great friend Flatlander, deer hunter, land manager and venison chef extraordinaire. What a meal for the weekend!

Hey Mike: It’s time to clean out the freezers again in preparation for the upcoming season and, hopefully, fresh meat. This is a fine way to use up what’s left of last season’s deer.

You normally associate venison with jerky, chili and maybe meatloaf, but how often have you  served it like some of the finer restaurants in America do? It’s easier than you think.

Tapas bars have become a big deal in the last decade–small portions or appetizers if you will of varying tastes and unique recipes beyond the everyday. Why not get a little more sophisticated with your wild game?

I’ve recently converted to eating much healthier, less sugar, more food straight from the ground–veggies, fruits and wild game. This doesn’t have to be a boring process; it utilizes the same game in your freezer in a way you’ve probably not considered before.

TAPAS VENISON INGREDIENTS

First, if you’ve never grilled venison summer sausage before you’re missing out. This is kind of a spin on the grilled spam that is popular in Hawaii, but even better with some summer sausage with some cheese in it. Just a slight char on the outside gives it amazing flavor.

Next, I take trimmings from a deer loin– after I cut the chops, I slice off leftover, paper-thin pieces next to the silver skin, almost like Sushi—and soak them in liquid Aminos, a low-sodium alternative to Soy Sauce.

Prep some veggies: onions sliced 3/8” thick; red, yellow or orange bell peppers cut to the same thickness; and an avocado cut into 4 slices.

Put all the meat and veggies in a large bowl and toss with olive oil and your favorite seasoning. I use Weavers Dutch Country Farm Dust seasoning, which has everything you need in one shaker.

HOW TO GRILL TAPAS

Grill, over medium, all the meat and veggies at the same time. Pull the thin venison strips off first (don’t overcook them!) and the avocado last.

Place all meat and veggies on a platter that has been wiped with olive oil and sea salt. Top with either Feta or blue cheese and drizzle with balsamic.

Serve tapas style with your favorite cold beverage. Enjoy and God bless.—Matt “Flatlander” Cheever

Venison Recipes: How to Grill Deer

venison cook 1Just in time for the weekend we post this guest blog from our friend Matt “Flatlander” Cheever who is not only a top-notch hunter but also a master griller of game meat:

Hey venison lovers, it is midway through the grilling season and the 2016 deer season is quickly approaching. You probably have some deer meat left in the freezer that you need to use up before you restock. Here’s how to grill a feast with it.

Everyone thinks the magic cure for making game meat tender and tasty is a secret marinade or recipe, but nothing could be further from the truth. Field care and proper butchering and handling of the meat in the field are the #1 key.

Just as important is properly thawing game meat in the refrigerator or sink. Never defrost venison in the microwave, which will cook the blood in the meat and give it a gamey taste.

Now that your cut of venison is thawed and ready, marinade it for 24 to 48 hours. Some people talk about all sorts of fancy marinades, but it really doesn’t matter what you use. Try something new, get creative.

I will say that mustard, mustard seed, wine, beer and vinegar like rice wine or apple cider vinegar will tenderize the meat. Add sea salt or seasoned salt, your favorite pepper and oil to coat all the meat evenly. Then give the meat time to marinade, a day or two.

Matt’s Slow Roast Deer Loin

Here’s one of my favorite ways to serve venison to a picky crowd.

Start with a deer loin, and slow roast it over indirect heat in a charcoal or gas grill or a smoker. Shoot for about 300 degrees for 20-30 minutes, depending on the size of loin and the type/heat of grill you use.

Sear the outside of the meat directly over the flame for about 30 seconds on each side just before you pull it off.

When the venison is done let it rest 10 minutes. Slice and serve with thinly sliced tomato and onion, and with a side potato of your choice. You can’t get any more simple yet elegant and tasteful than this!

MORE VENISON GRILLING TIPS FROM MATT

The key to grilling deer (or any red game meat) is to know when to say when and take it off–DO NOT OVERCOOK!

venison cook 2

A simple way of determining how done a cut of meat is without cutting it open is to use the thumb test.

Take your index finger and push it in to the fatty part of your thumb on the same hand. It will be squishy, like a RARE piece of meat to the touch.

Now use the middle finger and do the same thing; this is MEDIUM RARE to the touch, the perfection of all cuts!

Use the ring finger to push on the ball of the thumb and when you press the meat this would be MEDIUM WELL–you are flirting with disaster if your venison is any firmer than this!

Lastly your pinky will barely reach the fatty part of your thumb and a similar meat touch represents WELL DONE—NEVER on deer and only on bear meat.

Some folks might turn their eyes but not their nose away from the site of a medium rare piece of game meat if they haven’t had the courage to try it previously.

Here’s a great tip. Apply a drizzle of vinaigrette reduction to add a little flavor to the meat, and to color it slightly brown to look a little more appealing to your guests.

To make the reduction I used blueberry vinaigrette (use whatever kind you like), a spoon of honey and a splash of wine. Cook until bubbling and then reduce heat until it thickens. Drizzle over the meat lightly, it doesn’t take much.

This reduction will not take away from the wonderful tenderness and texture of a perfectly cooked and seasoned piece of the best-eating meat in North America! Serve this preparation of BIG DEER meat with your favorite cold beverage at your next gathering and watch the smiles form on your guests’ faces.

Until next time, God Bless and good eating and hunting.–Matt “Flatlander” Cheever