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Well, you asked for it. Here, Smoky answers the most commonly asked questions. He is direct, honest and offers an insite into the time proven techniques to preparing great barbecue that is unavailable elsewhere. If you are unable to locate the exact answer you are seeking, feel free to contact him directly and ask!
He returns all questions . . . . . . .

Topic: Venison done right!
From: Earl,
Subject: Re: Lip Smacking Delicious Venison

Dear Smoky,

Read the venison FAQ. I agree with you, and next to cleanliness, the equally important step is aging. Here's how I take care of my deer meat:

The carcass must be cooled down as soon as possible. So if the animal is not skinned and cut up within the hour, and it's warm weather, a bag of ice should be placed in the chest cavity. If someone has never eaten aged venison, they are in for a pleasant surprise when they do eat some that's been properly taken care of.

Skin the deer as soon as possible. If it is hung by its hind legs, remove the head and front legs above the musk glans, then skin. Remove the front legs from the shoulders and leave whole. Then sever the neck in one piece where it meets the backbone. Next, using a meat cutters saw or hacksaw, cut the ribs off and make sure you don't cut into the back strap. Remove the tenderloin from the backbone and place in a gallon ZipLoc bag. Next, leaving the back strap whole, sever it where it meets the hindquarters. Then to separate the hindquarters, saw down the center of the backbone between the hams and leave whole.

Have a large ice chest ready with a bag of ice scattered in the bottom. Then stacking the meat as best it will fit, you may have to cut the backbone in half, intersperse ice as you pack the meat. Then cover with at least two bags of ice. Open drain hole, so melted ice drains. The warm meat will melt the ice quickly at first, so every few hours, check it. Now, don't drop your eye teeth, but leave in the cooler for ten to twelve days. I usually start processing the back strap and front shoulders at ten days, taking my time over a couple of days, and end with the hindquarters. When I'm through, the only parts with bone in them are the neck and ribs. I sure do have a happy Labrador. ;-) If you don't tell folks, they'll never know it from beef. I've done dozens of deer this way, it works. There's only two ways to cook venison for proper edibility, quick and barely rare, or long and slow.

BTW, if folks can't aim well enough to keep from gut shooting a deer, they need to stay outta the wood.

I'd rather be shot than turn over my deer to one of those places that ages, butchers, and wraps.

The next piece of *properly aged* backstrap you get try this: Slice off some 1/4 inch pieces, pound flat, until it's about ready to break through, season with salt and pepper, dip in beaten egg, then in cracker crumbs. Then fry in hot oil for a couple of minutes on each side. Or if you happen upon a flat roast off the hindquarter, butterfly it, pound the inside cut with a large meat pounder, have ready some crumbled fried bacon, chopped onion, garlic, carrot, roasted green and red pepper, and sprinkle over meat. Roll up, tie with string, and drape smoked bacon on top. Cook on high temp for thirty minutes, then turn oven down to low and let cook until tender. I've never cooked this rolled roast on the grill, but I'll bet it would make for some bloody tongues.

Sorry for being so long winded.

Have a good one,
Earl (who knows just enough to be dangerous) Cadenhead

Hi Earl,

I believe that you "have been there, done that." We think exactly alike on handling venison and other game.

You didn't say, but I suspect that you want the esophagus to be removed along the with the guts. Lot's of people just cut it off and don't understand that can quickly contaminate meat. Also, I didn't see anything about saving the liver, heart and tongue. All of these are exceptional when handled and prepared properly.

And I suggest to you that there is another way of cooking venison. Coarse grond, it makes some of the finest chili you will ever put in your mouth.

I have never had anyone turn down venison no matter how I cooked it. But, to do that, I have, at times, spent hours just to reclaim a mismanaged section to turn it into eminently edible.

I did an elk roast on my little grill with no cover, a couple of weeks ago. Had to turn it often, but that was no chore. It ended up like a 4" thick steak - tender, delicious without any gamey taste. Didn't put it in a marinade either.

Apparently we both enjoy game. In my book, I recommend that there be a law that anyone who shoots a deer has to clean and eat a portion of it. I think that would slow down some of the sloppy shooting and excrecrable cleaning.


The Barbecue Store

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Get all of Smoky Hale's wisdom and become the best cook around. Learn to do it right!

Get all of Smoky Hale's wisdom and become the best cook around. Learn to do it right!

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