Seasoning of choice
Tenderize meat (I use an LEM Hand Held Round Tenderizer).
Put eggs in bowl/pan and stir with fork.
Put flour in another bowl/pan and add seasoning of choice (I use Rotisserie Chicken or Kick’n Chicken seasoning).
Coat meat with egg/milk mixture, then coat with flour/seasoning mixture.
Pour oil into skillet or electric skillet until bottom is covered; heat to approximately 225 degrees (it must be fried at a low temperature!).
Cook on one side until you see blood come through, flip it and repeat.
Cook until crust is golden brown and meat is cooked completely.
Recipe by GrowingDeer Field Staff member Caleb Bettis, Arkansas. See Caleb cooking this recipe by clicking HERE.
At this time of year we frequently are asked questions related to how to handle a deer after harvest. Answering these questions can cause a bit of controversy because the way we process our deer after harvest is different from the way many hunters have traditionally been taught. Each region of the country has different methods on how they age and store their venison. What we do works for us, is simple, inexpensive, and provides good quality meat.
The basic answer to the “how long” and at “what temperature” questions is to remind hunters to use common sense. If you’re hunting in the southern portion of the United States on a warm day (70 degrees or higher) you don’t want to leave the deer in the heat and sunlight for very long. Hunters harvesting deer in colder climates will have a longer window before having to worry about getting the deer field dressed and in the cooler. In colder regions hunters have to worry that their deer might freeze in the field, which means the meat will not spoil but freezing may toughen it up.
We don’t field dress our deer. There are three reasons for this: we are close to our “skinning shed” so there is minimal time added for transport after harvest; cleanliness – this eliminates any concerns over the exposed meat getting dirt or debris on it in the field; and the need to collect “data” on the deer. After retrieving the deer we bring it back to the shop for weighing. We have a wench that pulls the deer up on a hanging scale. The weight of the deer is part of the data collection that is used to analyze the health of our local deer herd. (After all, Dr. Woods is a wildlife biologist. Gathering data is as critical to him as actually harvesting the deer!) To learn more about the data that Dr. Woods likes to have collected, click HERE.
After weighing the deer it is eviscerated using the technique shown in this video. There is a plastic tub (gut bucket) placed below the deer so that the innards can be cutaway and dropped cleanly into the tub. During this process it is important to pay attention to sanitation – keep your knife clean, try not to bust the rumen or intestines, etc.The next step is to skin the deer to get to the meat. Here’s a video where you can see the guys in the process of skinning one out.
If you’ve harvested a trophy buck and want to cape it out we have a good instructional segment that begins at the five minute mark in this video.
Removing the meat is the next step. We cut out each individual muscle which is very easy and makes for better tasting meat. Watch this video to see the step by step process.
After removal, we store the meat on ice in clean coolers for up to four days. The length of time to keep it on ice is arbitrary. We do not attempt to age the deer meat. It’s just not practical given that we do not have a walk-in cooler or second refrigerator. Nor do we think the meat is improved by aging. The Clemson University Extension explains it well: “Do not age any game carcass if it was shot during warm weather and not chilled rapidly, if the animal was severely stressed prior to the kill, if gunshot areas are extensive, or if the animal was under 1 year of age. Aging is not recommended for carcasses with little or no fat covering because they may dry out during aging, and are more susceptible to deterioration through microbial growth. If the meat will be ground into sausage, aging is unnecessary.”
Next, we bring the meat into the kitchen for further processing: removing the fat and connective tissue (the long streaks of white/silvery tissue running in and around the various muscle meat groups). The connective tissue is one of the primary culprits that make wild game tough or have an unpleasant “gamey” taste.
Once the connective tissue is removed, it’s easy to further process the meat into steaks or put it into the grinder. The final step is vacuum packaging the venison. Many years ago we wrapped the venison in butcher/freezer paper but found that it would often get freezer burn after 8 months. With vacuum packaging we rarely have any issues with freezer burn.
The Clemson University Cooperative Extension has produced a well thought out guide for hunters at this link. It is one of the best we’ve seen on the subject. I strongly encourage you to click through, read, and print it out for future reference.
No matter where you are or how you choose to process your deer meat, please make sure to follow basic sanitation and food safety practices. Remember, after the shot – it becomes meat for the table!
Growing (and eating) Deer,
2.5 lbs. wild turkey breast, cubed into nugget size pieces
Dash of paprika
Dash of cayenne pepper
4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup cornmeal
Oil, for frying
Fill a fryer or deep pot halfway with oil.
Heat to 350 degrees F.
Sprinkle the turkey nuggets liberally with salt, pepper, powdered garlic, and basil.
Next sprinkle the turkey nuggets with a dash of paprika and cayenne pepper.
In a gallon size Ziploc© bag combine the flour and the cornmeal.
Add the nuggets to the Ziploc© bag, close, then shake to cover the nuggets with the flour mixture.
Remove the nuggets from the bag.
Using a slotted spoon place the nuggets in the fryer.
Deep fry for approximately 8 to 10 minutes until done.
Drain on paper towels.
Serve with baked potato or corn on the cob and a fresh green salad!
- Marinate the turkey nuggets in your favorite BBQ sauce for a minimum of 30 minutes before breading (Grant likes a mustard base!).
- If you like a heavier breading, add 1 egg and ½ cup milk to the flour mixture (it should be roughly the consistency of pancake batter).
- Use this same batter recipe to cook fish, onion rings, mushrooms, etc. (And since you’ve tagged your turkey, what better reason to enjoy this beautiful spring weather than adding some fish to the menu!)
- If using it for cooking fish I recommend Old Bay or a cajun seasoning to replace the garlic and basil.
- 1 large venison loin/back strap, butterflied down the middle and seasoned with pepper and garlic salt
- 1 package of bacon (approx. 2 slices of bacon per 1 ½ inches of loin)
- 8 oz. bar of cream cheese
- 4 oz. can of chopped green chilies (or if you like it spicy: 1/3 lb jalapenos cleaned, chopped and diced)
- 1 tsp. chili powder
- Heavy duty aluminum foil
Mix together the cream cheese, chili powder and peppers in your mixer.
Roll out aluminum foil and cut an amount that will “wrap” the loin: the length of loin long and about 12 inches wide. Put the foil on top of a baking sheet then place the loin on top of the foil.
Lay open the seasoned loin/back strap and spread/pack the cream cheese mixture down the length of the loin. Fold the loin back together, then…
Wrap 1 slice of bacon going in one direction and the 2nd piece the other (so there is no back strap showing and the cream cheese does not come out). Stick tooth picks in to hold the bacon on while grilling.
Fold the foil around the loin leaving the top open. Transfer venison package onto hot charcoal or gas outdoor grill.
Grill until all the bacon is cooked.
Some side dish ideas:
Baked potatoes – use the left over cream cheese and jalapenos on top
Corn on the cob – with pepper cream cheese as a spread
Mashed potatoes – with pepper cream cheese sauce*
*Cream Cheese Sauce: Over low heat combine pepper cream cheese (left over) and sour cream in equal amounts. Salt and pepper to taste with ½ cup cooking wine, simmer. It should be a little thick. This is also a very good sauce to use for the back strap. If the sauce is too thin use corn starch to thicken, simply follow the directions on box.
Thanks to Jessica and Ally Wright for sharing this recipe! I’ve made some tweaks to fit my family and the way I cook.
- 2 venison ball roasts (remove white/silver connective tissue that surrounds the “ball”)
- 1 large bottle of your favorite BBQ sauce
- 32 oz. carton beef broth
- 12 oz. dark cola
Put all ingredients into the Crock-Pot and cook on low for 10 – 12 hours. (This recipe is so forgiving that longer cooking will only add more tenderness.)
Remove the meat to a cutting board and coarsely chop.
If you like “wet” BBQ slowly add and stir the cooking liquid into the chopped meat suitable to your preference.
If you like a stronger BBQ flavor, add bottled BBQ sauce to the chopped meat.
Easy bonus meal: Make a BBQ soup from the remaining “broth” in the Crock-Pot. Add whatever veggies you want to the base to make your own tasty soup! I usually add a bag of frozen mixed vegetables, 1/2 cup frozen diced onion, 2-3 14.5 oz. can broth, 2-3 can diced tomatoes, a 1/2 tsp of garlic powder and 1 cup chopped venison. Cook until the vegetables are tender.
- 1 (3 to 4 pounds) venison roast
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 cup thinly sliced onion wedges
- 3 cloves garlic, crushed
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 (10 3/4 ounce) can cream of mushroom soup
- 1/4 cup red wine
- 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 1 large carton beef or chicken broth
Place venison roast in lightly oiled slow cooker/crock pot. Add remaining ingredients. If there isn’t enough liquid to cover the roast, add water or additional broth. Cook on low for 8 to 10 hours.
Remove and discard the bay leaves before serving.
Note: You can easily add sliced carrots and potatoes on top of the roast to cook along with the meat. If you do this – drizzle a little olive oil on them along with a light sprinkle of salt, pepper, and very light sprinkle of garlic powder.
1. Dale’s Steak Sauce, ½ cup
2. Lemon Pepper Seasoning, 1 tsp.
3. Minced Garlic, 2 -3 heaping TBS
4. Basil, 1 TBS dried or ¼ cup fresh minced
5. Vegetable or Olive Oil, 1/3 cup
6. Lemon Juice, ½ cup
7. Oregano, 1 TBS
8. Salt (optional), ½ tsp.
9. Worcestershire Sauce (optional) 1 TBS
Marinate the meat for 24 to 36 hours in the refrigerator, turning the meat several times during the process.
Broil the marinated loin in the oven or grill it over a low flame.
Let the meat rest for five to ten minutes before slicing.
Note: This is a basic recipe. I have added things to it and taken some away over the years to arrive at the right combination. Do your own trial and error to see what you like.
Breast from a wild turkey
32 oz chicken broth (or enough to almost cover)
1 large can (28 oz) diced tomatoes (fire roasted or Rotel tomatoes to add an extra “zing”)
1 large can (29 oz) green chili enchilada sauce
1 4 oz can chopped green chilies
2 ½ tablespoons cumin
1 tablespoon chili powder (or to taste)
2 cloves finely diced garlic
2 teaspoons onion powder
1 medium onion and 1 medium green pepper chopped (can substitute a bag of frozen pepper/onion mix)
1 bag of frozen mixed vegetables (or 1 can corn, 1 can lima beans or green peas, 1 can green beans)
Cayenne or red pepper to taste
Cook for 6 to 8 hours on low in Crockpot.
For a little more southwestern flavor before serving add 1/4 cup lime juice and 1/2 cup chopped cilantro (cilantro is optional – some folks don’t care for it).
Serve with shredded Colby-Jack cheese and traditional taco or burrito toppings of shredded lettuce, fresh chopped tomatoes, onions, refried beans, salsa, tortillas and/or tortilla chips.
Note: One full turkey breast makes A LOT of food. We have it for several meals and also freeze portion sizes of it to have on hand for a quick future meal.
I really enjoy antlers. I think this is natural. The number of antlers painted on caves, cliffs, etc., around the world seems to support that man has always enjoyed antlers!
It’s important to remember that the meat and not the antlers is what sustained those folks that drew antlers on the caves and cliffs 1,000’s of years ago. My family consumes 10+ deer a year – mainly does. My entire family helps in the process of obtaining and preparing venison. Both of my daughters, Raleigh and Rae (ages 14 and 11) hunt. Tracy, my wife, helps process the venison.
We skin, debone, trim off all connective tissue, remove lymph nodes, etc., and then use a vacuum sealer to package the meat before placing it in the freezer.
IF you have any doubt about the quality of venison, the Mayo Clinic says…
“In general, wild game is leaner than domesticated animals, because animals in the wild are typically more active. In comparison to lean cuts of beef and pork, game meat has about one-third fewer calories (game birds have about half the calories) and quite a bit less saturated and total fat. Cholesterol for wild and domestic meat ranges from 50 to 75 milligrams for a 3-ounce serving — with wild game tending to be in the lower end of the range.”
I enjoy improving the habitat on my farm and helping others improve their wildlife habitat and hunting by sharing tips and techniques on GrowingDeer.tv. I really enjoy antlers and managing to allow bucks to live to maturity and express most of their antler growth potential.
Even during prime hunting I rarely pass a doe unless there’s plenty of venison in our freezer as the real reason I hunt is to provide for my family while enjoying and partaking in Creation through an activity that’s as old as the drawings on caves and cliffs around the world.
What’s in your freezer?
Growing Deer together,
2 15 to 16 ounce cans hominy, drained
3 10 ounce cans green enchilada sauce
2 15 ounce cans chicken broth
1 large onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 1/2 pound boneless venison roast
2 to 4 strips uncooked bacon
1 cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
Serve with: warm flour tortillas and salsa
Mix all ingredients except venison, bacon, cilantro, lime juice, tortillas and salsa in a 4 quart or larger slow cooker.
Add venison that has been wrapped in bacon strips; spoon hominy mixture over top.
Cover and cook on low 7 to 9 hours or until venison is tender.
Remove venison to a cutting board.
Stir cilantro and lime juice into mixture in slow cooker.
Shred venison in bite size pieces; return to slow cooker.
To serve: Ladle into soup bowls. Serve with or rolled up in, flour tortillas. Accompany with salsa.