Five beginner tips for bagging, butchering, and devouring wild game from Meat Eater author Steven Rinella.
1) Hunt Whitetail Deer
“Because not only are they good, but also in the suburban landscape, there’s a huge abundance of them. You’d be helping out your state and city government. Whitetail are also cheap. Once you’ve got a hunting license from your state’s fish and game agency, it might cost $20 for a deer ‘tag,’ the permit to hunt them.”
2) Learn To Deal With A Meat “Windfall”
“The typical whitetail is 110 to 120 pounds, yielding 45% meat. Most people aren’t used to that much meat, but you can fit it all in a household freezer stacked like gold ingots. If packaged properly—vacuum sealed, if possible, or in wax freezer paper—you can still eat that meat two years later. When you’re ready to thaw, do it slowly, in the refrigerator, not the microwave.”
3) Cook the Entire Animal
“Here’s how I’d do it: The shanks, the legs from the knees down, are great for osso buco. The rear legs (knee-up) are good for steaks or roasts. The backstraps go on the grill. The ribs make BBQ short ribs. The front shoulders make great sausages or a bone-in roast. The neck makes a good pulled-porklike meat. Finally, the jowl meat is great for making street-style tacos with cilantro and salsa.”
4) Invest In A Proper Grinder
“You’ll use it all the time and it’ll sit on your counter like a blender. It’s good because deer meat is pretty tough. The grinders are great for sausage and burgers. I’ll often take deer meat and cut it down with about 10% pork fatback, for one hell of a burger. I recommend an electric grinder. Those hand-crankers are misery.”
5) Spice It Up Before Serving
“If you grill it, brush your grill in high-heat oil. It allows the deer meat to sear, and introduces some fat to it, which is good because deer meat is lean. For serving, I recommend using Tony Chachere’s Original Creole Seasoning—just dust it on like a dry rub. It’s not designed for deer, specifically-it’s just a personal preference of mine. It’s what we always had nearby when I was in college.”
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