Venison is a healthy alternative to other red meat like beef and pork. It’s pure protein and is just as tasty as its competitors. Better yet, it’s available in your own backyard. Check out these tips for storing, cooking, and preserving your venison.
Storing After Harvest
It is very important to properly store your venison once you’ve made your harvest. Field dress your deer, separate the cuts of meat, seal your meat in freezer safe paper or bags, label the packages with the cut and the date, and store it in the freezer.
If you have the means, aging your meat can help the meat become more tender when it’s cooked. The process will break down the connective tissue, giving it tenderness, and dehydrate the meat, giving it a more impactful meat flavor. It is important to store your meat between 32 and 40 degrees while it’s aging. Anything below 32 degrees would freeze the meat and anything above 40 would start growing bacteria. You should only age your meat for roughly a week to maintain food safety. Deer age at different speeds depending on their size, so start with only a couple days until you find the right time frame for your taste.
One of the ways to age deer is wet aging. You can wet age your venison in a refrigerator. Seal the meat in air-tight bags and place them in the fridge. Once they’ve aged, you can move them to the freezer.
Dry aging venison is also a popular way to age meat, but it requires a little more space and is harder to regulate temperature. If you have a space that you can keep between 32 and 40 degrees, you can dry age your meat. You do not need to fully butcher the harvest before dry aging. You can leave the skin on or off, depending on preference, and suspend the deer.
Venison is more nutritious than beef and pork and can be even more flavorful. The most popular ways to prepare venison are grilling, broiling, sautéing, roasting, and braising.
Backstrap, tenderloin, and sirloin cuts are the most versatile and can be prepared by broiling, sautéing roasting, or grilling on direct heat. Ribs can be roasted, braised, or grilled on indirect heat. Sausage can be broiled, sautéed, or grilled on direct heat. Kabobs and patties can be broiled or grilled on direct heat. Cutlets and ground venison can be broiled or sautéed. Shanks are the least versatile cut and only cook well when braised.
A well-cooked cut of venison can add another level of flavor to any recipe. Take your favorite recipes that normally call for beef, pork, or chicken, substitute them with venison, and taste the difference. Once you learn how to cook venison, your family will have a book of recipes that will rival even the best burgers.
Storing After Cooking
Once cooked, venison can last for a couple days in the refrigerator. Large cuts of meat might last for three to five days, but other cuts might last one or two. Venison can last in the freezer for anywhere from three to twelve months, depending on how well it’s sealed.
Venison is a great alternative to the usual red meats and a single harvest could feed your family for months. Deer can be harvested in your own backyard, from the comfort of a Banks Outdoors Stump blind, for an ethically and locally sourced meal. It’s just as tasty as other meats and you control the process from field to fork.
What’s your favorite venison recipe? Let us know in the comments below!