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Venison Cut Recommendations - Hunters please Help!

CaptainSpauldingCaptainSpaulding Posts: 368
edited 3:55PM in EggHead Forum

One of my wife's co-workers offered some venison from his hunt this year.

I know I'd like to have a few pounds of ground venison for chili, but what other cuts are reasonable to request for roasting and grilling?



  • 2Fategghead2Fategghead Posts: 9,623
    I have not deer hunted for several years but I know the loin is always good meat to do something with. :P That is if its not to much to ask from your friends. :side: Tim
  • I usually take several deer a year and have most of it ground for tacos, chili, spaghetti ect. I leave the tenderloins whole and make steaks out of them. I marinade and wrap with bacon, as it is a very lean meat. Some people make roasts or steaks out of other parts, but I don't much care for it that way. Of course the tenderloins are the prized part, and they may not want to part with them. I have smoked a few whole shoulders that turn out pretty good, but you need several folks that aren't scared of deer to come over and help you eat it lol. I'm sure you could make stew out of most any of the other parts. Oh, you could also make jerky out of it, as I love it that way.
  • thirdeyethirdeye Posts: 7,428


    Most folks wind up with a lot of ground meat, so be sure to ask for some of that. Quite frankly that is usually what they are trying to give away, and it is fantastic for burgers or meatloaf. I add chopped onion and garlic to provide some extra moisture during the cook.

    The shoulders and hams (or smaller roasts from either) will make excellent jerky. It's very lean so very healthy. With proper seasoning, you can keep as much or as little of the wild taste as you like. If you make some, be sure to give some back to your buddy.


    The backstrap (loin) and the tenderloins are the prizes. The tenderloins amount to only a few pounds at most, so consider them a treat if you get some.

    If they happen to offer a neck roast, take it. It is one of the finest roasts on the animal.
    Happy Trails

    Barbecue is not rocket surgery
  • We use mostly the whole deer except for the head, feet, and ribs, which don't have enough meat to bother with. We also hang our deer for at least five days, and no matter what the age of the animal it's always really tender. When we butcher it out we remove all the muscle groups from the bones; it takes up much less room in the freezer and is easier to cook. Anything less than prime, including trimmings, gets ground up for burgers or sausage, and the rest is packaged as steaks or roasts. Most of the roasts can double as steaks, and we slice them up, butterflying them where necessary to get a better-sized steak, and grill them with mushrooms and maybe a little red wine. They're also good with a shot of teriyaki sauce. I've never marinated them except maybe for a few minutes just prior to cooking; it's never been necessary. We serve steaks to people who "don't like venison" and they've always raved. I think hanging makes a huge difference, though.

    In other words, any part of the deer will be good; enjoy!
  • FidelFidel Posts: 10,172
    Thirdeye hit the nail on the head. Most hunters are not going to give away the tenderloins or backstraps. Most will be overrun with cube steak, ground meat, and sausage. A lot of times I will have a lot of summer sausage as well.

    I usually reserve on ham for jerky, the other I cut into 2 or 3 small roasts. The shoulders usually have to be ground or cubed.
  • FidelFidel Posts: 10,172
    I agree. I'll hang mine 10-14 days if the processor has room in the coolers. Makes for a much better product.
  • You're lucky you have a processor with coolers. We do our own butchering and hang ours in the barn. It means we have to watch the weather forecast very carefully if we get one too early in the season for consistently cool temperatures!
  • which would be aging! good man. many folks aren't aware that even commercial beef is hung for a while as well. needs to go through rigor mortis. can't get any decent quality by butchering soon after the slaughter
  • Venison steaks should be coated with olive oil and a pepper rub, then grilled hot and fast and served as rare as you can eat them. This is the way I like them best.
    Any roast can be cut for steaks. The whole roasts can be cooked long and slow with probably red wine or some type of light marinade to help break the roast down.
    Stew meat should be well cleaned of all fat and "white" connective tissue. I have a family favorite stew recipe taken from an Amy Vanderbilt cookbook that I can post if any one is curious.
    The backstrap is an excellent cut of meat which we like to save, cut thin, and fondue, accompanied by various sauces. Keep this on the rarer side too.
    The ground meat is great in chili and burritos.
    I've gotten away from hanging the whole deer. The weather is just not dependable enough and I don't have a meat locker. Instead I debone all the meat immediately and seal it in freezer bags. I place the bags of meat in a picnic cooler covering them with ice cubes while leaving the drain plug open on the cooler. I constantly replenish the cubes making sure the meat is surrounded by ice and not sitting in any water. They cure for 8 or more days and turn out excellent!
    You have some great meat. Grass fed, low fat, high quality. Enjoy!
  • Phil, we have been considering doing something similar with our deer. We have an extra refrigerator in the basement with all the shelves out, and we could debone and wrap and then place it all in there to age. I'm not sure whether there's something in the actual hanging that makes a difference in the tenderness, or if sitting in a refrigerator at about 40º will do the same thing. It sounds like you got good results, so that's encouraging.

    A friend of ours got a deer last year and hung it, and then the temps went up into the upper sixties. By the time we got around to cutting it up with him there was green mold on the ribs where the shot had gone in. We tossed the ribs and processed the rest. It was actually good eating. This friend is a retired veterinarian and you'd figure he'd know what he's doing, but he's a bit cavalier about some things.

    My husband is setting up for bowhunting, and he says there are still flies on the marauding squirrels that he shoots. So if he gets one we may use the refrigerator this year after maybe hanging the deer overnight.

    We used the same process with the cockerels we butchered this fall - we cut them up, I dry-brined them, and then we stuck them in that refrigerator for about five days. I made the first one the other day in a clay pot and it was fine. Same theory that you should let rigor mortis pass first before freezing.

    Please post that stew recipe. I'll bet that would work well in CI on the Egg.
  • Wow!

    I feel like I just got a semester's worth of credits in Venison 101.

    Here is the response from my wife's co-worker. I think I just hit the jackpot.

    Tell your husband I will shoot the deer and give him everything even the
    inner and outer tenderloins. I will cut the deer up and you will be
    responsible for processing the meat in whatever you want. IE Sausage, Hot
    Sticks etc.

    If he's going to cut it up before gifting it to us, I think I'll clean out the beer fridge and use it for aging per some of the recommendations given in the thread.

    Thanks to all of you fine eggheads out there for educating me.

  • Venison Stew recipe as requested:

    Swiss Venison Stew
    from: Amy Vanderbilt's Complete Cookbook 1961

    3 or 4 lbs. venison
    1/4 cup flour
    3 tablespoons drippings
    1 1/2 cups hot water
    1 cup red wine
    1 teaspoon thyme, marjoram, basil
    1 teaspoon dried parsley
    1 large onion, peeled and sliced
    1 1/2 teaspoons salt
    1/2 teaspoon pepper
    3 carrots scraped and quartered
    3 potatoes pared and quartered

    Cut sinews and bones from venison. Cut meat into bite-size pieces. There should be about 2 1/2 pounds meat. Roll meat in flour.l Brown in hot drippings in deep kettle. Add hot water, wine, herbs, onion,salt, and pepper. Cover pot. Bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer 2 hours. (I use a cast iron dutch oven in the oven or BGE at 350*) Add carrots and potatoes. Cover and simmer 1 hour, adding a little more hot water if needed. When meat is tender and vegetables done, serve hot. Makes 6 or more servings.

    Amy adds: This mountaineer's dish should be served with thickly sliced French bread. A good winter dish.

  • That's going into my recipe file, Phil. Thanks! It looks very good. I might add some mushrooms to it along with all the rest of the ingredients.

    Joe, you definitely hit the jackpot. I wonder why these people don't want the meat for themselves - or maybe they already have a freezer full of it. At least now you know what to do with it. By the way, we make Italian sausage with the trimmings and tougher pieces, since we eat a lot of that normally. We add pork and pork fat but it's still a lot leaner than the usual kind. It's really good, though. Ground meat is always handy to have, though, if you don't want to make sausage.
  • FidelFidel Posts: 10,172
    My recommendation is to ask him to field dress the deer and drop it at a deer processor (or "cooler" as we call them here). Have that processor skin and hang the deer for 10-14 days before doing anything.

    Then get the backstraps (the actual loin) one boneless and one with the upper back rib bones still attached - then half that roast and you will have two bone-in rack of venison and one boneless loin for steaks or additional roast(s). The tenderloins are very good - treat them similarly to a pork tenderloin.

    The rest of the meat can be done in a combination of stew meat, ground meat, and various sausages. The grand total for processing should be in the $60-70 range and a 200 pound hoof weight deer should yield about 50-60 pounds of meat depending on added pork and fat for sausages. All in all a good deal.
  • Rad,

    Y'all get some pretty small deer down there. Shooting Bambi are we?



    Caledon, ON


  • That's what I've been thinking, River Rat. Maybe he's the only vegan deer hunter in Michigan.

    I'm definitely not complaining and I've got another buddy who's really into charcuterie. I think I might hit him up and see if he's willing to make the sausage for a cut of the loot.

    I'm going to try doing some sausage, eventually, but would rather spend cash on another egg right now than all of the tools and supplies I would need to get started doing sausage.

    Thanks for all of the helpful knowledge.

  • Joe, sausage is really easy. We ended up getting a separate grinder, but the one on our old Mixmaster worked well, too. And then you just need to get some sausage casing and some spices. With the Egg you could smoke some great charcuterie. In fact there's a book out with that name; some of their recipes are kind of finicky for me but there are some great ideas in there. Anyway, sausage is not an expensive proposition at all. But with only the one deer and no more on the horizon it's probably not worth taking the time to learn to do it. You could reconsider if this looks like it's going to be an annual thing.

    Keep us posted on how it goes!
  • Rod,

    That's definitely what I'd like to do. I'm not sure why he would want to cut it up prior to hanging, yet, but I'll find out.

    A friend sent me a link to a processor's site and they won't process pre-skinned deer. Check out their site and let me know what you think.

    Thanks, again, for the tips.

  • fishlessmanfishlessman Posts: 19,742
    your only chance on that tenderloin is offer to have him over and cook it for him. B) other than burger, thats the only piece i really enjoy
  • Maybe the deer you've eaten wasn't hung long enough or cooked properly. To me any cut is as good as grass-fed beef, which we really like. Joe has some good eating in store!
  • fishlessmanfishlessman Posts: 19,742
    its strange for me, with beef i seek out the most flavorful cuts and avoid the tenderloin, with deer its the opposite, the tenderloin is the least gamey of the cuts so im all over it. i agree with the hanging, and if it died instantly seems to help, sometimes a road kill is top notch ;)
  • thirdeyethirdeye Posts: 7,428
    I agree about using a cold plant for aging the whole carcass. Not only is the temperature correct but the air circulation is too. Some processors claim 3 days is adequate, but I have always felt 7 days is the bare minimum. And favor 10 or 12 days.

    Depending on the size of the animal, I sometimes remove the tenderloins early to avoid loosing too much from drying.

    BrewandQue - Since it looks like you're getting the whole deer, make sure to get that neck roast.
    Happy Trails

    Barbecue is not rocket surgery
  • FidelFidel Posts: 10,172

    A 200# on hoof deer down here is a monster! Most deer harvested here are 140-180 on hoof.

    I grew up in the cornbelt where we used to almost kill ourselves pulling out deer that dressed at 225+. It's hard to get used to, but our limit is 12 deer so what we lack in size we make up for in quantity.
  • FidelFidel Posts: 10,172
    He may want to quarter it to make it easier to drag out of the woods - depending on where he is hunting.

    Usually processors want to do the skinning, which is fine. Just make sure it is field dressed properly and there should be no concerns. I usually put a bag or two of ice in the cavity of mine to cool the meat as quickly as I can when I dress a deer.

    As for the processor, give them a call and chat with them - keep in mind they're likely busy this time of year. But you can get a feel for their process with a few quick questions.
  • Rod,

    Yeah but look at the ammo cost :laugh: :laugh: :laugh:



    Caledon, ON


  • the food that the critter ate is very important to how the deer tastes.... where i live most guys only hunt in areas where the deer are corn fed.... it you get what we refer to as "mountain deer"( one that fed on rhododendrons and other bitter tasting food).... the meat is edible only as a survival situation.... i've shot a couple of those... gave the whole things away.... i think that's why some folks say they don't like venison.... i eat about five a year.... wouldn't touch one of those "woodsy" deer.... you can usually tell it by the smell and the really dark red color of the meat... a corn fed deer will be a nice light red color....i make pate' out of the liver.... the heart is excellent cooked slowly wrapped in bacon and covered in a thick layer of onions and cooked lo and slow till tender(good eaten cold too).... if your buddy gives you the tenderloins(aka backstraps).... he's a good pal very careful not to over cook the backstraps...i cook 'em in a hot cast iron pan with some butter( only about one minute per side).... i deglaze the pan with some red wine and add some heavy cream and quickly reduce... pour on's the best ! oh... a nice rump roast is excellent too...front shoulders are only good to be ground up...imho.... rr
  • That's interesting, Ray. The deer we get are browsers and there's laurel and other members of that family in our woods. I don't know if they eat those but I noticed recently that they like my hydrangeas. Except for the apples and chestnuts and potatoes my husband puts out by his deerstand, the deer we eat are on their own as to diet and they taste wonderful. He just got one tonight with his bow, coincidentally.

    And that's funny; I had just told him to save the liver for pâté! Got a good recipe?
  • JCinGAJCinGA Posts: 139
    The tenderloin is a great piece of meat. If you can get it cook it fast. That way you won't get the gamey taste.
  • It's in the refrigerator now. Deer never tastes gamey to us; I don't know why. But then, we really like lamb, too.

    The liver and heart are already in the freezer.
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