When my brothers and I were growing up we did not eat much of what we killed. I can’t really blame my mother for not being overly excited to cook the squirrels and possums we were killing, but one grilled possum a month isn’t too much to ask. Now that I have to cook for myself I eat a lot of game meat to save money. Getting your friends to eat your wild game is a good way to get others into hunting, and a good reason for you to shoot more deer. I wanted to share a few tips on how to eat more of your wild meat and how to get your friends and family to eat it with you.
- Get a meat grinder
I used to try to hand grind my meat or go to a friend’s house to grind my deer. But I started to eat game meat a lot more once I bought my own electric meat grinder. The Cabelas ninety dollar grinder that I use does the trick. Grinding your meat allows you to use it in many more ways. And in much more subtle ways. We buy beef tallow from our local locker for about three dollars and it is enough to mix in with an entire whitetail. Beef tallow is what meat lockers use to grind into their beef, so it is safe. You can also buy bacon from the store if you don’t have a meat locker nearby, but bacon is a bit more expensive. Just buy the fattiest bacon you can, it’s the fat you are after not the taste.
- Cut off all the silver skin
When you cut off meat from your animal you want to leave the silver skin on if you are going to freeze it. When it comes time to eat it take the time to cut off the silver skin. Sometimes it takes forever, but if you can remove as much non-meat as possible you will find it is a lot less stringy. If you are going to get your friends to eat game meat you really need to take the time to do this step because most people won’t come back for seconds if most of the meat gets stuck in their teeth.
- Sell wild game for its strengths, not its taste
If you only eat whitetail meat for a month or so you will start to forget what beef tastes like, and you’ll probably start liking venison a lot. But remember that the average person is going to like beef more. Beef has been bred for centuries to taste great and your wild game will never taste better than prime rib and that’s fine. If you want your family to eat more of the meat you kill don’t compare its taste, just make it a special occasion the first time, point out that it’s better for the environment, a healthier option, and you killed it. I usually talk down the taste of what I have killed and when people eat it they are surprised it if it tastes decent. So sell it for its strengths and most of your friends will be happy to eat it, but don’t try to pretend it is beef. Also if your friends like to cook ask them to cook it with you, this will make them a lot more excited to eat the final product.
- Take care
If you pay attention to the little things and make your meat care as professional as possible you will eat more of it. So don’t soak your meat in water and throw it in a grocery bag. Take the time to get hair off of it, wrap it in saran wrap and label everything. This way you can get the best cuts for your friends, and if it looks like it came from the grocery store they will be more happy to cook it for you. If it is cold enough to age your deer, leave it hanging in the cold for a while. Meat lockers hang beef for 10-14 days and biggamelogic.com recommends hanging deer for 5-7 days. The best deer we ate last year was a young doe that Stuart let hang for five days.
- Season the shit out of it
If you want to shoot older male animals because that is what fun and challenging you probably shouldn’t cook meals with that meat unseasoned. Max and I shot Tahr in New Zealand that were both 4 year old males. Imagine what a goat would taste like if you seasoned it with goat musk. It was some of the worst game meat I have eaten. But I was still able to live off it for a few weeks by seasoning it heavily. Curry, tacos and other heavily seasoned recipes don’t require high quality meat. Chili is another option that is great for all venison.
If you want to read more about how to prepare meat check out these blogs and videos: