Thursday, September 16, 2010

Hey Babe, Take A Walk On The WIld Side....

Tonight the air temperature is 60 degrees with very low humidity. Just the way I like it. We dodged some rainfall today. Again. It’s a cloudy and windy evening and perfect for some comfort food.

But I want some steak!

Our days are shorter. The windows are open when we sleep. This is by far my favorite time of year.

It’s time to get outdoors again without dripping with sweat. It’s time to enjoy a crisp evening motorcycle ride wearing layers and leather. Maybe a long day trip in the country riding in a clean shiny roadster, the top is down as the first dry fallen leaves blow buy in my wake. Time to go and get some fresh picked apples at a local country orchard. It’s time again to fish for big bass and pike in the shallows.

Best of all, its time to get the guns oiled and ready for another season of chasing birds in the field or sitting in a wet blind calling in those migrating mallards.

It’s time to start filling the freezer with late season caught fish and early season game. This is the best time of year for lovers of the outdoors and conservationists like me.

One thing that happens this time of year is friends with excess game in their freezers tend to empty them out. Friend and neighbor is no different. He bags the legal limit of five deer each year with his crossbow. Last month he brought over a grocery sack loaded with venison cuts of all kinds to help make room in his garage freezer for this year’s upcoming conquest. Since it was all marked and sealed in Food Saver vacuum bags it is as good as the day it was shot, thank you very much.

I have cooked, fried, grilled and braised all cuts of venison and game birds for years. I am often asked by those who are not as blessed, “how do you cook wild game?”

The answer is simple.

Cook wild game as you would cook anything you buy from the grocer. Simply substitute beef or chicken with venison, elk, moose, quail, partridge, pheasant, duck or goose.

Tougher cuts should be stewed or braised (my favorite). Lean and tender cuts such as backstrap, tenderloins or steaks should be grilled just as you would beef. It is most important to remove all fat, silverskin and bone since this is where that ‘gamey’ taste comes from. And don’t forget to rinse off any band saw residue from processed venison, which contains bits-o-bone and marrow.

About marinades.

For grilling, tender venison cuts need nothing but brushing with oil, a dust of garlic granules, salt and pepper in a very hot grill. That is all that’s necessary. If you like additional flavor and seasoning then marinades are fine. I prefer mine all natural so the real flavor comes through.

Wrapping smaller venison cuts in bacon around the edge and secured with toothpicks works well when grilling, it adds some protection from the heat, some fatty moisture, and the charred bacon is damn good. Just lookie over here.

Tonight’s feast (in the photo) is venison backstrap brushed with vegetable oil (it chars faster than olive oil and has little flavor), garlic, salt and pepper. It was seared on the Weber gas grill over very high heat, five minutes on each side with the grill uncovered. It gets wrapped in foil and allowed to sit for at least five minutes.

No potatoes, no corn, no bread, just 100% pure wild game natural protein lusciousness. It’s just what I needed tonight.

The flavor is not beefy. It’s lean. It’s healthy. It’s indescribable. Ted calls wild game the original fast food. I agree.

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