Friday, December 27, 2013

Tasting the Woods: Fried Deer Steaks

When visiting my friend Allan in New Jersey this Sunday, I received an unexpected Christmas gift. Allan handed me a heavily wrapped plastic bag with something hard and cold in it.

"What's this?" I said.

"Deer."

"I've never had deer before. How do I cook it."

"Just fry it in a pan with a little butter, pepper, and salt. Don't cook it long. If you do you might as well eat shoe leather."

I thanked Allan for the gift while wondering if I was up to the challenge of cooking venison. Or eating it, for that matter, as images of Bambi crossed my mind. I would soon find out, as the temperatures in New Jersey and Pennsylvania were an unseasonable 70 degrees F, and the deer was largely thawed when I reached home. I stuck it in the fridge while I searched the Internet for recipes for deer.

There appeared to be two ways to serve the beast: either marinate the heck out of it and then drown it in a sauce, or fry it. Not having the time or patience to marinate deer meat for twelve hours led me to frying, and an extremely easy recipe. Here is the link: http://www.food.com/recipe/easy-venison-steaks-56523
I made my own version, eyeballing measurements, as follows.

I took a large cast iron pan, and melted butter at medium heat. I mixed flour, minced onion, some steak seasoning, and a salt-free garlic and herb seasoning mix, and then coated each steak with it. (I later replaced the steak seasoning mix with red pepper to give a little more kick, and that seemed to work well.) Into the pan they went. The steaks were cut thin, and I cooked them only a couple of minutes on each side. I kept adding butter to the pan as I added another set of steaks - deer has next to no fat so you need to add some, and Paula Deen would be proud of the amount of butter I used.

I don't eat rare meat, so some people might argue I overcooked the deer, but they still had a red color in the center and they weren't chewy, so I think they were OK. I served them with pasta and mixed vegetables.

However, after all that effort I discovered I don't really care for venison, or at least that much venison. After a day of eating the leftovers I got rid of it. Perhaps I did overcook the meat? Would marinating have been better? I'm not sure. However much I enjoyed cooking and eating deer, other meat carries less mental baggage - that night I dreamed I told my young nieces that Christmas was cancelled because I'd eaten Prancer.


1 Comments:

At December 27, 2013 at 8:48 AM , Blogger Sayre said...

Marinating helps for two reasons. For one thing, the meat is very lean and needs a little tenderization. A marinade with acid or vinegar should do the trick. It will also help with the "gamey" flavor of the meat. Bear hearts are much the same way. But if marinated and then sauteed nice and slow, they can be quite good.

 

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Tasting the Woods: Fried Deer Steaks