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July 23 • 08:41 PM
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Disagree with “Deer for Dinner”


Dear Woods-N-Water News:

George Rowe writes very well, his articles are pleasant and easy to read, but regarding his article "Deer for Dinner" in the December issue of Woods-N-Water News I disagree with his statement and offer the following views:

"Deer fed on acorns taste bad!" In Spain they raise select pigs on acorns and the meat is great tasting, very expensive, considered a delicacy. Our squirrels also taste great.

Fat deer is more tender than lean deer, not because of the fat, but because of minimal exercise.

Deer are almost always dragged through dirt and leaves. That does not mean the dirt got inside the cavity. If the cavity is dirt free, it should NOT be washed.

"Deer should be skinned in a timely way." In my case, that is just before you butcher it, not before aging.

"There is a considerable debate about skinning and hanging time" Among whom, the hunters who generally lack any proper knowledge or experts?

"Hanging deer for two weeks does not occur very often" I do it with several deer every year, from late October to end of December! This year the temperature went up to 600 F and I had them hanging in my garage. Smeared with hot oil, no flies dared to land on it.

"Concerned about mold and fungus." The mold on dry aged beef and ends of a prime rib could be one inch thick. What about the white stuff covering sticks of salami hanging in butcher shops? The cavity of an aged deer will be covered with mold, which is a natural occurrence of aging and nothing to worry about. Most of it is on the ribs, which will be discarded.

Three or four days of hanging will barely get the deer out of rigor mortis, not tenderize it.

For freezing, the silver skin should be left ON, as it protects the meat from freezer burn and keeps juices in.

Pronghorn antelope does not taste like goat. It is very strong, due to diet of sage.

"Generally, venison cannot be cooked successfully on the grill, unless it is sliced thin!" Well, perhaps if it is not aged properly. I grill thick venison steaks every Sunday from spring to fall and they are as tender as the best prime tenderloin! Much of that venison is from the hind legs: top round, top and bottom butt. Cooking these cuts slowly to tender will assure you of dry, unpleasant to eat meat. For stewing and pot roasts, the shoulders, bottom round, neck and shanks are by far the best, as they contain sinews consisting of collagen which becomes gelatinous in long, slow cooking, resulting in moist finish.

Just because I have built a (slightly crooked) doghouse, does that make me a home building expert?

Sincerely

Chef Milos Cihelka

Chef Milos Cihelka
December 23, 2009

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