Venison can be very delicious if prepared properly. Since it is red game meat, it can be a bit of a challenge unless you know how to handle it. Here are a few basics when dealing with white-tail deer meat:
- Allow the meat to rest before butchering. If you can let the field-dressed deer hang for a few days before skinning and butchering, the flavor and texture will be greatly improved.
- Brine or marinate. A soak overnight in salt water or a quick soak in salt, water, lemon juice, and garlic will make your meat far easier to deal with.
- Remove connective tissue. Silver skin, tendons, etc. are not tasty and no cooking technique will make them edible.
- Add fat. Venison is notoriously lean, and fat = flavor. Adding fat to a venison dish will make it a real palate pleaser!
The last time I prepared a venison backstrap (tenderloin in the beef/pork worlds), I noticed that its strong iron flavor was similar to a calf's liver. So, as an experiment, I prepared it similarly to the way Mr. Farmer prepares liver.
1 pound venison backstrap
1 large onion
1/2 pound bacon
Salt & Pepper
White or Yellow Rice (I used a mix)
Frozen Green Beans
To make everything finish at the same time, start the rice first. I find that yellow saffron rice takes longer than the package recommends, but that may be due to my altitude. Boil the water, add the rice, stir, cover, and reduce the heat to low.
Cut the bacon into small pieces. I used what I call the ugly ends of a homemade bacon (the point end or where the skewer was inserted for hanging during the smoke process), but store bacon would be OK, too. Fry the bacon until good and crisp.
While the bacon fries, cut the onion into strings by cutting it in quarters, then into thin slices. Once the bacon is crispy, add the onions and cook in the bacon grease.
Remove all connective tissue and "silver skin" from the backstrap. Cut into medallions by slicing at a slight angle to make nice thin rounds. Add to pan and cook until just done. Be careful not to overcook! It will get tough!
Remove the pan from the heat, cover, and allow to rest. About 5-7 minutes before you expect your rice to be finished (about 15 minutes into simmering), stir the frozen green beans into the rice, recover, and return to the heat.
When you are satisfied with the doneness of the beans and the rice, transfer to a serving dish and top with your meat and onions. Young Master Farmer called this "Pure Comfort Food"!