Ethical hunting also implies utilization of animals you harvest. While we receive recreational benefit from hunting, using these animals to supplement the protein needs of our family has always been foundational to our pursuit. Through time we have discovered that wild game offers different challenges to the cook. Few game animals have fat marbled flesh that enhances the flavor of the meat like a beef. Often the fat has an off-putting flavor or a waxy characteristic that you do not want to consume. Therefore, the first step in recipe selection is to stick with those specifically for that animal, at least until you are comfortable preparing it. While ducks, geese and raccoons have layers of fat that aid in keeping the meat moist during cooking; venison, squirrel, rabbits and many others are very lean, dry out quickly and must be prepared with that in mind.
BBQ Squirrel – Keith Krantz, Elkins WV
Take a mess (1-2 per person) of thoroughly cleaned squirrels and put them in a pressure cooker with an appropriate amount of salted water. Bring the pressure cooker up to temperature and cook for 25 minutes at 15 pounds of pressure, remove from heat.
After the pressure releases, remove the cooled squirrels, debone and shred the meat. Apply your favorite BBQ sauce and mix to coat. Spread out on a cookie sheet and broil until the sauce begins to char. Serve either on hamburger buns or by itself with mashed potatoes.
Oven Venison Goulash – Keith Krantz, Elkins WV
1lbs. of venison cut in 1-inch cubes
2 Tb. oil
1 tsp. salt
2 cups water
¼ tsp. pepper
1Tb. Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp. seasoned salt
1 clove garlic
1 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. dry mustard
¼ cup flour
1 tsp. caraway seeds
1 Tb. white vinegar
Combine left column ingredients and dredge venison chunks through it. Bring oil in a large skillet to medium high heat, add a third to a half of the coated meat and brown all sides. Repeat with the remainder, brown it, don’t cook it.
In a 2-quart casserole dish, add the remaining ingredients plus leftover flour mixture and stir. Add browned venison, cover and bake at 350o for 2 hours. Serve over egg noodles. Yields 4-6 servings, depending on portion.
Quick Fajita Venison – Keith Krantz, Elkins WV
Cut deer steaks cross grain in thin strips and place in a shallow baking dish with your favorite jar of picante sauce, stir to coat. Cover with aluminum foil and bake at 350 degrees for an hour. While that is baking, slice your green peppers and onions, add some cracked black pepper and sauté in olive oil. Shred cheddar cheese and open a container of sour cream. Warm up flour tortillas. After the meat is done, remove from pan and construct fajitas, top with cheese, a blob of sour cream and a dash of paprika.
Grilled Birds – Keith Krantz, Elkins WV
These small birds are fun to shoot, but many don’t like eating them because they taste like liver when overcooked. None of these birds should be cooked and served at an internal temperature more than medium rare to barely medium. Wrap each breast in a thin strip of bacon secured with a toothpick, salt and pepper to taste. Because the bacon grease will flare up, it helps to have them a little distance above the low rack on the grill. Place the breasts on a hot grill and cook for 4 minutes on their backs and 3 minutes on their fronts. Remove from the grill. The breasts will be medium rare to medium and taste similar to sirloin if done properly. The thin bacon will likely be improperly cooked, either discard it or throw it in a microwave to finish it.
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