3 Easy Steps to Great Venison

For your best venison meals, make the best shot possible, don’t push the deer and then work quickly to process the meat. Doing these things will help you have more delicious meat. (Photo: Getty Images)

Food doesn’t get more organic than free-ranging whitetail venison. But did you know the quality of your venison is a direct result of the care you take (or don’t) after the animal is down? 

It might sound trendy to “go green,” but deer hunters and venison lovers worldwide seem to be taking it to a whole new level.

While total consumption of food and beverages in North America and Western Europe is stagnating or merely reflecting population growth, organic food sales are growing at a rate of 20 percent annually.

Food doesn’t get more organic than free-ranging whitetail venison. But did you know the quality of your venison is a direct result of the care you take (or don’t) after the animal is down? Field care and processing procedures can literally make or break the quality of what ends up on your dinner plate.


WATCH: Fill Your Freezer With Venison This Season With These Tips

Here are three tips that will help improve the quality of your venison.

Be Efficient
Disciplining yourself to take only shots that cause quick, clean kills improves overall meat quality and reduces risks of spoilage and contamination with pathogens.

Poorly placed shots often stimulate a white-tailed deer’s adrenaline release mechanisms to generate energy from muscle glycogen, a process that produces lactic acid.

Don’t Push Them
Deer that are pushed hard before being harvested tend to produce less desirable venison. This is especially true when a deer runs long distances after being shot. The reasons behind this phenomenon have to do with sudden surges of adrenalin in the bloodstream.

According to research from Utah State University, adrenalin accelerates the deer’s heartbeat and constricts visceral blood vessels. The chemical-physiological chain reaction then floods the muscles with blood and leads to a build-up of lactic and pyruvic acids.

Work Fast
When the animal dies, the meat will be much less acidic, allowing for quick spoilage and bacterial growth. This also typically results in dark meat and unusual flavor and tenderness. Therefore, hunting ethics calling for quick kills have practical implications for meat quality.

Fire up the grill for some backstraps this weekend!

Great Grilled Backstraps
Submitted by Jacob Pollock

Venison backstraps, cut to 6” lengths
Milk
1/8 cup worcestershire sauce
Salt and pepper to taste
Onion
Garlic
1 stick butter

Place chunked backstraps in a large bowl. Fill halfway with milk, then add water until almost full. Add worcestershire sauce and desired amounts of onion, salt and pepper and garlic. Melt butter and add to mixture. Allow meat to marinate for at least 4 hours, puncturing often with a fork to allow the marinade to soak in. Remove and grill to desired doneness.

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