This Saturday was the start of deer season in NY State. So my husband, the hunter, was out doing just that on Saturday and Sunday. The good news is he got one! Yea! It was just just a small button buck, but a buck nonetheless. It's actually the third buck he has gotten in about three weeks, but the first two he hit with his truck so I guess they don't count. Though he did stop and cut the antlers off one of them. Am I married to a redneck or what?! LOL! Despite these crazy things he does, I do love that man!
Anyway, to save a little money he decided to butcher the deer himself. Now it sounds really messy. And actually the first time he decided to do it, I wouldn't let him do it in my kitchen and made him go to his moms house. But after seeing him butcher that first one I realized that it's not all that messy. It's not like he is bringing the whole dead thing into my house, which is what I had pictured. He guts the deer in the woods, then he hangs it in a tree to drain the blood, then he skins it and cuts it into pieces, so he is just bring in one big leg at a time. He uses trays to try to keep some of the leftover blood and stuff off my table which I appreciate. Then he cuts out the muscles one by one. Actually, in some ways it is rather fascinating. Seeing the muscles and tendons and ligaments on the bone. It's a mini lesson in anatomy.
I'd like to say that I help, but really I don't. Letting him use my kitchen is as close as I'll come to actually butchering it myself. It's just kinda slimy and yucky. I do sit with him and keep him company while he does it. It usually takes him 2 to 3 hours. I get him anything he needs, and then I help put the cut up and cleaned meat into freezer bags and cart it down to our freezer. And of course I take care of doing the dishes and clean-up with some good bleach water to make sure no nasty germs are left behind.
For 65.00, which is the cost of the hunting license, we now have about 25 lbs of organic lean red meat. Venison is healthy for you, and it does taste great (when cooked right anyway). The best venison cookbook that I have found is called The Complete Venison Cookbook From Field to Table by Jim & Ann Casada.
Here is my favorite recipe from this cookbook:
4 venison steaks
1/2 cup plain, dry bread crumbs
2 cups spaghetti or pasta sauce
4 ounces mozzarella cheese
Place each venison steak between two pieces of plastic wrap. Pound gently to flatten each piece to 1/4 inch thickness. Beat egg with one tablespoon water. Place bread crumbs on flat plate. Dip each steak in egg and then in the bread crumbs to coat. Spray a non-stick skillet with vegetable cooking spray and heat to medium-high heat. Cook steaks, turning once, until browned (five to seven minutes). Do not have heat too high because bread crumbs will burn before steaks cook. Spread spaghetti sauce over bottom of baking dish. Place steaks on sauce. Top with mozzarella cheese. Sprinkle with parmasean cheese. Bake until hot and bubbly and the cheese is melted (about ten to fifteen minutes). Serve with pasta.
11 months ago