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#2888689 - 07/28/12 12:49 PM Let's Talk about eating Venison
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Mud Dauber
16 Point


Registered: 07/28/10
Posts: 13464
Loc: Tennessee

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There are is a infinite amount of misinformation out there when it comes to the preparation and taste of venison. Let's have a comparative conversation about how venison tastes and what factors contribute to this taste.

True or False? Doe meat tastes better than buck meat.

I am of the opinion that this is a false statement. In addition to other information, I label all of my venison as male or female. Just this year, I have cooked and eaten everything from yearling doe tenderloins to a whole backstrap from a 200 lbs buck to large saddle roasts and tiny rump roasts. Male and female? I honestly cannot tell the difference. Now, obviously, a 4.5 year old buck is going to have heavier well formed muscles than a yearling doe, but does this actually effect the taste itself (not the tenderness, the taste)? I think not. Fact of the matter is, very few hunters are killing 4.5+ year old bucks and therefore very few hunters are eating mature bucks. A 3.5 year old buck, according to most, is just about to hit its prime. I hardly think that meat from a 3.5 year old buck is "musty" or "more gamey" than a yearling doe. The buck's glands may be musty, but proper field care can solve this problem. Now, a 6.5 year old buck might get into some areas of toughness, but the taste itself would not be any "worse" than a 6.5 year old doe. Truly old deer may require a different processing approach -more grinding, more stewing, but a old buck does not taste any different from an old doe.

Conclusion: Let's be perfectly honest here. I suspect the #1 reason why hunters claim that doe meat tastes better than buck meat is because, somewhere deep down in the male brain, we like the idea of eating females better then we like the idea of eating males. Additionally, bucks, especially big ones, tend to have more silver skin and fat and therefore require more skill to butcher. As a result of the lack of attention to butchering, big bucks often do not get butchered as well as young deer and therefore get a bad rap for being "more gamey" or "not as tasty." The only difference between the two is that, the larger to piece of meat, the thinner you should slice it when eating -but this rule applies to all cuts of meat.


Yearling Doe (funky shot, yes, but, worry not, it was over quick). Tasted Good.


"Big Roasts" Buck. Tasted just as good.

Backstraps vs Roasts

Just this morning, I started prepping to smoke some roasts for a party tomorrow afternoon. I have a new client and they called for a celebration at their house. I said "Great, I'll bring the meat!" Digging through my freezer to find enough meat for 8 to 10 people, I pulled out a medium size rump roast and two yearling rump roasts. At that moment I realized that I was out of roasts and that I still have numerous packages of back strap. I killed 5 deer last season and I finished off the roasts before the backstraps, actually, evaluating my freezer, I finished off the roasts well before the backstraps. This is the first time that this has happened, but I believe I have finally made the switch. While I no doubt enjoy backstraps and regularly cook them (medium rare, salt, pepper, flame), especially when I have guests over or in town who are expecting to be treated to game meat at a hunter's house, I believe that backstraps are the "mainstream" cuts of venison. Sure, they are great. Sure, they are popular. Sure, they taste good when cooked in a simple manner, in fact they taste better with simple preparation rather than complex, but roasts..... the one cut that usually ends up buried in the bottom of freezers everywhere, may well be the "true" cut. Roasts don't give themselves up easily: you have butcher them effectively, recognize pockets of fat in hard to get to places, remove layers of silver skin and recognize superficial layers of membrane that will cook off with no gamey residue. Neck roasts, saddle roasts, leg roasts.... these are great cuts of meat for stews and they smoke like a dream. A properly smoked venison BBQ sandwich is at least as good if not better than 80% of the pork BBQ sandwiches you'll have a restaurants and backyards all across America. Pull your roasts out, rub them down and smoke them and give me a reason why, as a hunter, you need to buy pork butts for your grill ever again.

Conclusion: Roasts are underrated and underused. Backstraps are easy, maybe too easy for the serious hunter (with meat in the freezer) to treat as the pinnacle deer hunter's cut. Treat your uninitiated friends, family and neighbors to backstraps. Treat yourselves to roasts.





Corned Venison Roast and Hash

Food sources and taste:

In addition to documenting male or female and harvest date, I also like to indicate where the deer was killed and, in my hunting journal, usually indicate the contents of that particular deer's stomach. As a result, I have spent some time comparing the taste of deer who consumed largely agricultural diets and deer that have largely browse based diets. I have killed and eaten deer with stomach contents of nothing more than soybeans and I have killed and eaten deer with stomach contents of acorns almost exclusively (even late in the season when acorns tends to be scarse). I have killed and eaten deer that live in areas with tens of thousands of acres of agriculture and I have killed and eaten deer that would have to travel miles to find more than a garden. I think there is a distinguishable difference in taste. Deer with browse based diets do have a slightly noticeable earthy tone to the meat, much the same way that grass fed cows have a more earthy taste then corn finished cows -obviously not as distinct, but still noticeable (and, for the record, I strongly prefer grass fed beef to corn finished).

Conclusion: As with all animals, the best tasting animal is the one eating the diet its body was intended to digest. In the case of deer, that would be browse and not agriculture. However, since I live in West TN, much of the deer I do eat do have agricultural diest of some extent. I suspect that the consistently best tasting deer in TN, might just be found in East TN, where their diets are most likely be to purely browse based. An interesting test, would be to compare deer from the two areas in a blind study with expert tasters.



Edited by Poser (07/28/12 01:22 PM)
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#2888694 - 07/28/12 12:58 PM Re: Let's Talk about eating Venison [Re: Poser]
cecil30-30
16 Point


Registered: 12/05/06
Posts: 14320
Loc: Morgan Co

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I never could tell the difference either.
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#2888706 - 07/28/12 01:18 PM Re: Let's Talk about eating Venison [Re: cecil30-30]
Pursuit Hunter
8 Point


Registered: 10/01/08
Posts: 2086
Loc: Way out there

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Those photos are making me hungry. Going to have to check the freezer to see what's left. I lost about 50 lbs of meat earlier this year when the freezer door got jammed open.

I've never been as detailed about keeping notes as you, but I believe there is very little difference between buck and does meat if they are both properly butchered and prepared.

Roasts vs backstrip - I like them both, but there's nothing that compares to tenderloins freshly removed and grilled the day of the kill.,
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#2888712 - 07/28/12 01:33 PM Re: Let's Talk about eating Venison [Re: cecil30-30]
BowGuy84
10 Point


Registered: 09/16/07
Posts: 4904
Loc: Nashville, TN and Louisville, ...

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Great post. I want to know more about how these roasts are smoked. I agree wiht almost all you said.

I dont get as intricate as Poser, but between me and my 3 closest hunting buddies we go through over 25 deer a year.

We get some summer sausage made, some bacon made. The rest we do ourselves.


The rest is cut into stew/taco meat, ground, ground and turned into breakfast sausage, and straps are frozen. Tenderloins don't ever make it to the freezer.

I love having wild game in the fridge, and venison is a staple in all of our diets year round. It all gets used and we cook lots of different dishes, but I am always looking for different ways.


If venison is taken care of in the processing process, I have never had any bad. Worst I had was a gut shot young doe on a hot day.

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#2888729 - 07/28/12 01:48 PM Re: Let's Talk about eating Venison [Re: BowGuy84]
Poser
Mud Dauber
16 Point


Registered: 07/28/10
Posts: 13464
Loc: Tennessee

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 Originally Posted By: BowGuy84
Great post. I want to know more about how these roasts are smoked. I agree wiht almost all you said.



Quite simply, put a rub on them, you can wrap them in bacon (though it is not entirely necessary), smoke them at 200 degrees until you hit an internal temperate of 150-160, pull them off and let them rest for half and hour. Slice thinly as possible, BBQ sauce is optional, but not necessary. This summer, we have been doing Cilantro based sauces with a Chili based rub. You'll be surprised how moist the meat is.

I saw this one on Instagram recently. -it says that it is a Blueberry rub on a venison roast (done without bacon). You can see the deep smoke ring and medium rare smoke job. -looks awesome.

_________________________
It doesn't have to be fun to be fun.

Wild & crazy, can't be stopped. Only the strong will survive.

Keep your knife sharp and your skillet greasy.

http://www.GoCarnivore.com

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#2888733 - 07/28/12 01:58 PM Re: Let's Talk about eating Venison [Re: ]
Poser
Mud Dauber
16 Point


Registered: 07/28/10
Posts: 13464
Loc: Tennessee

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 Originally Posted By: piffnmo
So now lets discuss the difference between backstraps and tenderloin since most dont know the difference.....lol


I think most hunters on this forum know the difference between backstraps and tenderloins. When there is confusion, it is because of the lexicon, not the cuts of meat themselves.

Loin (in butcher terms) = Backstraps (in hunters terms)
Tenderloin = Tenderloin

I think the confusion sometimes lies in people not making the distinction between loin and tenderloins. To avoid confusion may be be why hunters use the word "backstrap" instead of "loin." The only problem here is that some hunters only know a loin as a "back strap" and therefore think that a backstrap, a loin, and a tenderloin are three different cuts of meat instead of two.
_________________________
It doesn't have to be fun to be fun.

Wild & crazy, can't be stopped. Only the strong will survive.

Keep your knife sharp and your skillet greasy.

http://www.GoCarnivore.com

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#2888735 - 07/28/12 02:02 PM Re: Let's Talk about eating Venison [Re: Poser]
eightpointer
14 Point


Registered: 08/17/02
Posts: 8686
Loc: Birchwood, TN

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REal informative ..thanks for posting.
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#2888741 - 07/28/12 02:12 PM Re: Let's Talk about eating Venison [Re: Poser]
Snake
18 Point


Registered: 05/03/09
Posts: 20498
Loc: McMinn Co.Tennessee U.S.

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I agree but deer that die fairly quick verses those who take a long time to expire to me do taste different weather they be male of female . Well maybe not taste but the venison of the deer wounded and taking longer to expire seems to be tougher but heck maybe it's in my mind , so what do you think ? Not trying to hijack your thread Poser
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#2888747 - 07/28/12 02:23 PM Re: Let's Talk about eating Venison [Re: eightpointer]
Pursuit Hunter
8 Point


Registered: 10/01/08
Posts: 2086
Loc: Way out there

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Just in case someone doesn't know, the tenderloins are on the inside of the body cavity, along the back third or so of the spine. They are the most tender of all cuts of meat. When they are from a cow and sliced into steaks, they are called filet mignon.

The backstrips come from outside the body cavity and are along the length of the spine. They are called the loin in pork and beef. When beef backsrtips are cut into steaks, they are called New York strips.
_________________________
One does not hunt in order to kill; on the contrary, one kills in order to have hunted - Jose Ortega y Gasset

http://www.pursuithunting.com
http://www.pursuitland.com

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#2888757 - 07/28/12 02:44 PM Re: Let's Talk about eating Venison [Re: Snake]
Poser
Mud Dauber
16 Point


Registered: 07/28/10
Posts: 13464
Loc: Tennessee

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 Originally Posted By: Snake
I agree but deer that die fairly quick verses those who take a long time to expire to me do taste different weather they be male of female . Well maybe not taste but the venison of the deer wounded and taking longer to expire seems to be tougher but heck maybe it's in my mind , so what do you think ? Not trying to hijack your thread Poser


That is a good question -I should have brought that one up initially. What are the forum's thoughts on this? Honestly, the only deer I have ever lost are the ones that made it further than 40 yards, so I'm not sure if I have solid examples of meat to compare. The common knowledge on this matter is that the meat is pumped fully of adrenaline. The question I have is how much more adrenaline then the initial shock of having a arrow or bullet cut through you and immediately reacting and running.

Experience with meat tells me that aging the meat in cool air for 4 days should take care of most, if not all of the problems associated with adrenaline and tough meat, but, I may be wrong on this matter.

Fact or Myth? and, if true, will the aging process counter act the toughness?
_________________________
It doesn't have to be fun to be fun.

Wild & crazy, can't be stopped. Only the strong will survive.

Keep your knife sharp and your skillet greasy.

http://www.GoCarnivore.com

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