bacon, Christmas, cooking, deer, deer season, fry, gravy, Hunting, iron skillet, marinade, meat loaf, mushrooms, New Year, pressure cook, recipes, season, squirrel, steaks, tenderize, venison, wild game
By David Lohr
Taxidermist for Kosh Trading Post
We normally are talking about hunting, fishing or trapping, but today I want to talk about some of my favorite ways to prepare some of the fruits of our harvest.
A lot of people love squirrel meat and there are several ways to prepare it, but the way that has always been my favorite is fried. The only problem is that unless you get a young squirrel you have to figure out how to tenderize it. Mom and dad would always fry, then pressure cook (as I do), but talking with some friends that also like fried squirrel, they say that if you pressure first you will keep more of the flavor. Another told me that he likes to use acidic juice like lemon as a marinade, but that will affect taste. Or you can soak the meat in milk in the fridge a couple days, change to fresh milk for a couple more days, and that will do the same without the change in taste (could be worth trying, but seems like a lot of work for a little squirrel, doesn’t it?).
Let’s go on to the larger meat supply.
When I think about eating wild game, I think about venison. I have one of the best recipes for meat loaf that I have ever eaten, and I would love to share it with you. To start with, I have to say that when I speak of ground meat and venison in the same sentence I am talking about ground lean deer meat with no fat added. Take about 2 lbs. ground venison, 1 egg, 1 cup chopped onion, 1 cup cracker crumbs, 1 cup milk, and 1/3 cup green bell pepper. Mix very well, and salt and pepper to your taste (I keep forgetting this part, but you can do this as served and pretend that you did it on purpose so each person can season to their personal taste). Preheat the oven to 350, and the last step before placing the meat loaf in oven is to give it the delicious glaze, which is made up of 2 tablespoons of mustard, 2 tablespoons brown sugar, and 1/3 cup ketchup mixed well and covering the top of the entire meat loaf. Place in the preheated oven for 1 hour, and you will have the best meatloaf you have ever eaten. I much prefer this to any I have ever eaten using ground beef, although you can substitute ground beef for the venison, and it will still be a treat.
Around our house we always look forward to deer season and for that first meal after harvesting a deer. When I harvest venison, I do not like to hang it to age or soak it; I like to skin and process as soon as possible. I keep out what we are going to eat for the next few days, and the rest goes to the freezer. What never makes it to the freezer is the best of all. I always debone and cut a couple roasts, then as many steaks as I can, and I grind the rest.
I like the day the I harvest the meat; I will remove either the back strap or the largest muscle in the ham and cut several steaks about 3/8 inch thick, salt, pepper, role them in flour and put a little lard in an iron skillet and when the oil gets hot start frying the meat slowly under a lid, turning often. While it is cooking I will bake some potatoes (nuke them). When they are done I will butter them, salt and pepper them well, cover them with mild cheddar cheese dip (Frito brand), and then sprinkle them with chopped smoked honey loaf. Then I fry several slices of bacon (soft cooked), break them into small pieces and then put a can of green beans/shelly beans (Bush cans them that way and it is the perfect combination) over the bacon and bacon grease and bring to a good boil. If you like the beans a little drier, you can pour some of the juice off the beans before putting them over the bacon. You normally don’t need to add salt as both ingredients normally have plenty of seasoning. I then will fix some corn on the cob, and will cook a little more bacon (for the grease) and will use that instead of butter on the corn (that will be the best corn you ever ate). By now you will have turned the meat for the last time, so now it is time to slice some yellow onion very thin and place the slices over the steaks. Be very careful to keep the onion on the steaks and out of the grease as this will keep it very sweet and juicy. As your steaks are finishing I will make either white gravy or a brown with mushrooms. If I choose the brown mushroom gravy (and I use a mix and since I am not versed in which mushrooms are not poison I get them at the store), I will take the gravy and add the mushrooms and cook until the mushrooms shrivel up being careful not to scorch the gravy. I now take out the steaks (keeping the onions on them and cover with either the white or brown/mushroom gravy and with the sides and either rolls or toast I am reader for one of the best meals you can have.
I would love to add more, but I’m getting hungry, so I am going to cut this short. I hope everybody has a great Christmas and a very good and prosperous New Year. We have enjoyed writing these articles for you this year and hope you have also enjoyed them as well. This will be the last one this year, and I hope I can come up with some topics that will be of interest for the New Year.