Monday, November 18, 2013

Venison Jerky & Canned Stew Meat

Venison going into the dehydrator...
 As I mentioned previously, to my extreme excitement a neighbor recently gave us a whole deer.

I spent all day Sunday butchering the deer into either roasts, steaks, stew meat chunks, or ground venison.  I ended up with just 3 pounds of ground venison because I only ground the meat that for one reason or another I couldn't leave as another cut.  I kinda figured that I can always turn stew meat chucks INTO ground meat if I need to, but the reverse won't work.

Now that the venison has been broken down, I spent today on various venison-projects.  I made venison jerky, and also pressure canned 8 pints of venison stew meat.

Venison jerky coming out of the dehydrator!
We have a standard fridge-with-tiny-freezer-on-top, so I knew there was no way I was going to be able to fit all the deer into our freezer.  So canning some of the stew meat meant I didn't have to cram it ALL into our tiny freezer, which certainly helped!

The other reason I wanted to can some venison is to see what difference it makes to the texture of the meat.  I haven't cooked a whole lot with venison thus far, and we're more used to eating beef so venison often seems to have a 'chewy' texture to us.

Since pressure canning really tenderizes meat, my theory is that pressure canning will make it's texture more like beef.  If so, we'll have a winter of tasty venison stews and stroganoff ahead of us!

For the venison jerky, I cut one of the roasts into thin slices and then marinaded it overnight in Alton Brown's jerky recipe:

2/3 cup Worcestershire sauce
2/3 cup soy sauce
2 teaspoons ground black pepper
2 teaspoons onion powder
1 teaspoon liquid smoke
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon honey

I made jerky last year and let it run overnight, which dried out the jerky TOO much - it was like leather!  So this year I cut it a little thicker and am checking it regularly.  It smells SO good while it's in the dehydrator!  Mm'mm.....

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