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Old 12-12-2006, 09:56 PM   #1
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Confused about deer parts...

My father's hunting group shot a couple of young does and he brought one home. It was properly prepared and dressed in the woods. It was shot in the chest, so rib parts were useless. He skinned it and butchered it himself, even though this was his first try (the man is a retired surgeon afterall!). He brought meat inside and I bagged it, labeled it and put it in the freezer, smiling in anticipation.

I am fairly new to cooking game, but I also want to get the most out of this wonderful animal. So I started reading about different preparation methods, and noticed it was compared to beef in terminology. But my pieces of deer did not look like any roasts or steaks of beef I've ever seen! They looked more like lamb. And now I am confused: What to do with front quarters, which he left whole (from elbow joint up, with shoulder blades)? Can I braise them like I would a lamb's leg? What to do with neck and spine parts (they have a decent amount of meat on)? Hind quarters he deboned and I already have ideas about preparations (maybe a hearty "daube"). Tenderloins are beautifully separated and waiting a culinary muse to visit.

I'd appreciate any advice on this.


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Old 12-12-2006, 10:35 PM   #2
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I'm not an expert... hubby brought home his first deer this year too. I think you've made a mistake though leaving the bone in the leg from, all that I've heard that makes the meat taste bad.

For the boneless pieces if they are small enoungh we've just been frying them up in either a little olive oil or butter adding salt, pepper and or a little garlic. Roasts I believe can be cooked just like you do beef. Did he save the heart and liver? Those are really good too.

Good luck!

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Old 12-12-2006, 10:58 PM   #3
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I am going to defrost the front leg and try it out - if it tastes bad, I'll know for next time! And, no, he didn't save the heart and the liver - where we come from game includes pheasants, quail, rabbits and occasional wild boar, but no deer. So, he had no idea, and I was of no help.

Thanks, pdswife!
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Old 12-13-2006, 12:12 AM   #4
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Although venison cuts may be similar to a dressed beef in name (if properly processed) - they will appear more like a lamb due to their size ... especially for a doe. And yes - they generally need the "low and slow" treatment.

Here are some recipes from your home state's division of Natural Resources - and here are some other venison recipes you might find usefull.
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Old 12-13-2006, 12:21 AM   #5
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Years ago a group of husbands went Deer hunting in North Florida..one Saturday one of the wives and I drove up to their camp..They had a Deer already field dressed so Lou and I brought him home...As we looked at him on her kitchen table we decided " this couldn't be any harder than cutting up a chicken..just two more legs and no wings" so cut and saw away we did..she cut, I washed and wrapped it up. That was our first and last attempt to get one ready for the freezer...:):)
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Old 12-13-2006, 05:25 AM   #6
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The venison we get now is not nearly as tough as what my father used to get--lazy deer!! 'o)
The tenderloin can be seared and finished in the oven. Cook to only medium rare or it will be very tough. Martha had Jean Georges on her show a while ago and he made a wild mushroom rub to put on it. Whizzed dried wild mushrooms in a coffee grinder or FP.
Sauerbraten is a great use for the roasts. A rich ragout with red wine and mushrooms is great.
Grind some of the neck roast, etc. for burger and make great chili and spagetti sauce.
What Michael said about size is a good observation.
I have found venison to be much more tender than expected--just VERY lean and it will dry out if overdone, even in a stew.
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Old 12-13-2006, 07:00 AM   #7
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I bone most shoulders out for "grind"...they do make excellent roast for braising as well. The loin and tender loin are excellent for "flash" searing in a hot pan. The hind quarters depending on the muscle are great for frying and/or roasting/braising. Ribs I bone out for grind also.
Like someone said it is either "low and slow" or "fast and furious" depending on the cut.
If you are not to keen on the taste of deer...try juniper berries in with your roast..they kinda take the edge off.
Lastly neck roast braised is delicious.
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Old 12-13-2006, 07:32 AM   #8
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I am going to have to get a neck roast. We have land that we let folks hunt on in exchange for venison. I have heard a LOT about neck roasts of many animals--lamb, in particular.
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Old 12-13-2006, 10:04 AM   #9
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The bone-in shoulder roast will be delicious--the bone will not make it taste bad. (Speaking from experience--the only thing I miss about my ex is the wild game he used to bring home. One year, between the ex and my older son, I butchered 4 deer.)

I would probably brown it on all sides, then half cover with liquid--beer is nice, or broth, or just water. Lots of onions and garlic, some rosemary and thyme. Cook on top of the stove or in oven, slow and low, covered.
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Old 12-13-2006, 10:10 AM   #10
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sparrowgrass is right about the bone not making the meat taste bad. Also about the cooking of the shoulder roast.

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