Backstraps, hams, and trimmings for chili meat and sausage are all part of the reward for time well-spent hunting with friends. To assure you of the best yield and quality for your money and time, here are a few tips:
• After taking, skinning, and field dressing your deer, when the temperature is in the low 40s or below, hang it high enough to keep it away from animals, at least 3-1/2 to 4 feet or higher overnight for two to three days.
Put a game bag around the meat to protect it from dust or critters. If you have a walk-in cooler, there should be no problem with the thermostat set between 34 and 38 degrees.
• While quartering your deer, cut away any heavily bloodied areas of meat. Surround the individual cuts of meat with at least 1-1/2 inches of ice. If the meat is not adequately cooled before placing it in the ice chest, the ice will melt quicker. That could increase the possibility of spoilage, especially during lengthy transports.
Upon arriving home, place the cooler where it can be drained of water and add enough finely chopped ice to aid in the bleeding process.
• If a deer or other game animal you’ve shot traveled some distance before expiring, the muscles hold hormones that contribute to a wild or “gamey” taste.
To remove these hormones and blood from the meat, place the quarters or sections of meat in melting ice in a chest with the plug open, allowing it to drain as it melts. Replenish the ice when necessary to effectively remove or minimize the presence of these unsavory hormones. When the meat is ready for quartering, the water and ice should be clear.
You’ll find many good places throughout Texas where you can take your game for processing. If you plan to have the meat processed, here are a few more helpful tips:
• Include the head, along with the filled-out tag secured to a hindquarter or shoulder.
• Check out the processor, either by recommendation of trusted friends or by the number of years in business, as well as the cleanliness of the facility.
• Choose a variety of products that will be enjoyed by everyone, and be realistic about the wait for processing (six weeks or longer).
• use your processed product before beginning your next hunting season (six to nine months for sausage, larger cuts slightly longer).
• have all processed meats vacuum-sealed if possible, then wrapped with butcher paper. This will provide maximum protection from freezer burn and light exposure. If not possible, make sure meat is tightly wrapped in waxed butcher paper.
• For larger cuts, such as hams, i recommend using a cling style plastic wrap and creating a cocoon effect with several layers until the meat is sealed, with no open areas. Then wrap butcher paper around the ham and properly label it with the date
When you are ready to prepare your venison, we have supplied you with a couple of recipes from our virtual cookbook on the Texas Gourmet website, TexasGourmet.com Our products can be ordered online, or check the site for stores that carry them.
1 loin venison backstrap (you may substitute with pork tenderloin or filet mignon)
14-16 slices thin bacon
1 large purple onion, peeled and quartered lengthwise, then halved lengthwise again
6-8 large fresh jalapenos, seeded and quartered lengthwise
1 pound pepper jack cheese, sliced in
1/8 x 2 x 1/2 wide slices
1 box round toothpicks (place picks in water)
1 tbs sesame seeds
3 tbs texas gourmet jalapeno jelly
2 tbs soy sauce
2 tbs olive oil
1 tbs coarse mustard
1 cup merlot or other dry red wine
2 cloves of garlic
2 tbs black pepper
Heat basting ingredients until well blended and remove from heat. Remove all sheath, membrane, or skin from the backstrap. Cut into 12 or so 3/4-inch thick steaks. Place each steak one at a time on a cutting board. Cover with saran wrap and lightly tenderize, using the shallow side of the tenderizing mallet. The meat should be 1/4-inch thick after tenderizing. Be careful not to put holes in the steaks. Spray with olive oil or pam spray, then set aside. Separate the onion into
1- to 2-piece sections. Take one slice of tenderized meat in one hand, and lay one onion slice in the center, inside up. Place a slice of cheese on the onion and lay one jalapeno piece on the cheese, face down. Carefully roll the meat around the veggies and cheese. Wrap a slice of bacon around the wrap from one end, stretching the bacon as you wrap. Carefully fold in and seal the ends with a toothpick.
Grill over mesquite charcoal or gas fire set to medium high heat. Place the wraps indirectly over the heat. Baste liberally, cook covered for 3-5 minutes per side. Baste when turning. When bacon is done, place wraps on plate and remove the toothpicks. Rest wraparounds before serving. Serve with Texas Gourmet quick dirty rice and black bean pico de gallo.
Email Bryan Slaven at
See more recipies at thetexasgourmet.com
Email Bryan Slaven at [email protected]