Treat Your Meat…Right


            “The last time I tried deer meat it just didn’t taste right”

            “I don’t like deer meat.”

            These are the two most common statements I here from people that I talk to about cooking venison. The second statement is almost always followed by “yeah I know I haven’t had your deer meat, that’s what everybody says” that is usually when I say “yeah but you haven’t had my deer meat”

            It really is true that good deer meat starts in the field. From the moment you kill the animal, be it by bow or rifle, how you treat the meat from there can affect the flavor. I know we all sit in our tree stand opening morning of bow season just hoping to shoot that first deer of the year. I’ve done it a couple times in my life and its always exciting. Now when that excitement wears off, the clock in my head starts to tick. Usually here in Oklahoma its pretty warm on October 1st so the work starts once I find that buck or doe.

            Now I’ve field dressed a lot of animals in my time and I’ve used lots of different knives. I’ve done the two fingers in and hope method and I’ve used gut hooks as well. These days there is only one tool I use to get the guts out and the skin off fast and efficient and that’s the Raptorazor Big Game skinning system. There really is nothing that works better in my opinion. I grew up old school where you gut the animal first then hang it and skin it but I have used the gutless method as well. Either way you are doing yourself and the meat a favor by using the Raptorazor knives.

            Here most people are done with the animal. They load it up and take it somewhere to be processed. Not me, I am the only one who touched the meat I harvest. In the 28 years that I’ve been killing whitetail deer I’ve never had a deer processed and I don’t think that’s gonna be changing anytime soon. Early season when its hot I go at it as soon as I get the animal hung up. Later in the fall you can let the animal hang for a day or two if the weather allows. While skinning I try my best to keep the meat clean of hair no matter what the temperature is. In a few more cuts I quarter the deer and get the meat cooling ASAP. From here I can take my time and de-bone the meat paying close attention to removing any excess fat and silver skin. Fat and tallow are bad when it comes to deer meat. I always remove the muscles individually and cut out the two glands in the hind quarter. Never ever saw threw the bone unless you’re removing the lower leg or the ribs. If you’ve ever sawn threw a buck’s head to remove the antlers you know that smell. That smell is something you don’t soon forget. Imagine that smell in your deer meat…

            My final few tips when it comes to good deer meat whether you process it yourself or have someone else dot it. Marinate your steaks in a quality marinade. Salty marinades penetrates the deer meat and taste amazing when cooked over an open oak fire. Finally drain your ground meat as it thaws. Blood can be your enemy when it comes to wild game. Soaking wild game over night in salt water can make a world of difference when it comes to flavor.

            I have personally turned more than a few people on to eating wild game and I hope to continue that streak.


         God bless