Venison isn’t equal. At one point they can be consistently perfect for table fare. But with poor preparation and handling, eating venison could turn out to be a nightmare. A lot of people who refrain from eating venison have had very bad experiences with the improper way the meat was handled or prepared.
Additionally, a lot of factors might affect the quality of the meat, such as the deer species, the deer age, the stress of the deer prior to harvest, field dressing, cold storage contamination, aging of the carcass, contamination of meat, excessive moisture during storage, packaging, and butchering.
The best quality venison are mostly provided by a clean, quick kill of an unperturbed deer. The quality of the meat is decreased if the deer is stressed out from running extensively right after death. Newly-killed deer should be field-dressed right after it dies but it can be postponed for a few couple of hours during mild weather and much longer during cold weather.
The bullet or the arrow, and the field dressing, also-called evisceration is adequate enough to bleed a deer. This won’t need you then to cut the throat of a dead deer.
Additionally, contrary to what most people believed, it is no longer important to remove the metatarsal glands of the deer since they don’t really affect the quality of the meat after death. But keep in mind to refrain the glands from rubbing onto the meat. Also, avoid handling the glands to and from the meat without washing your hands very well.
After butchering and field dressing the deer, the quartered meat or the carcass should be cooled before stored at a room running from thirty-four to thirty-eight degrees Fahrenheit. After death, skin the carcass immediately but with proper storage and cooling method, you can postpone the process for a few more days. You can achieve a more tender meat when it is aged for at least a week at about 34-38 degrees Fahrenheit. Just make sure though that the meat is exposed in proper and good quality air circulation.
The air circulation around the exposed meat generally causes the meats surface to dry. Always see to it that you trim off those excess surfaces during butchering. To achieve more tenderness, continue processing the meat for another sixteen to twenty one days.
However, remember to avoid freezing the meet all throughout the whole aging process since it can inhibit aging while increasing the probability of spoiling right after thawing. But then, if you wish to freeze the meet during the aging process, you can still do so. Just make sure that the meat remains clean and dry throughout the field dressing, the aging, and the cold storage process. Additionally, excessive moisture and soiling also increases the risk of spoilage of the meat.
After the Aging Process
After the aging process, the cartilage, fat, bruised meat, as well as the dried outer meat and the non-muscle materials should be removed from the muscles. Use a sharp filet or a boning knife. Be sure to work on a clean and cool cutting surface. Fat is basically the main cause of off-flavor in venison.
Since different chemicals are stored in fat, venison fat normally leaves a less-palatable residue or aftertaste in the mouth, unlike chicken, pork, or beef fat. The toughness of the meat, furthermore, is due to the cartilage like the tendons, the ligaments, and the fascia.
Preparing for Venison Recipes
For venison recipes, it is advised to separate the muscle and the cut slices across the grain of the muscle. The best parts of the venison for roasting, grilling, or for frying include the muscles from the tenderloin, hindquarters, and the back straps. They also are great for sausages, smoked meat, stews, and hamburgers.
When frying, roasting, grilling, microwaving, or smoking venison, avoid overcooking or undercooking. Undercooked venison has proven to provide health risks, while the overcooked ones become tough and stiff.
Freeze your venison right after butchering them, not unless you will cook them fresh. Remember to place meal-sized quantities of the meat upon placing them into plastic bags. Remove the air of the bags before sealing them tightly. If meat is stored for longer period of days, wrap the plastic bags in freezer paper before sealing with a tape. Doing so can maintain a good quality venison that can last for years. Likewise, placing meat in vacuum-sealed bags is also very efficient.
Always remember that the key to having good quality venison starts from the butchering down to the right processing methods.