Want to try some venison even though there is no rifle in the closet?
Alex Lease processes beef during most of the year, but switches to venison during November to help hunters, food pantries, and several other donation businesses.
Most deer leave the plant and go back to the hunter who brought the deer in, but sometimes the hunter has donated a registered deer to a private individual who either does not hunt or hunts and wants still more venison.
A number of folks who want venison don’t qualify to get venison from a food pantry, but would love to get a taste, or in some cases, an entire deer.
“If a person has, or can, made or make a connection with a hunter for an extra deer, I recommend the first processing be a simple, basic cut,” Lease said. “With that they can get everything ground into burger, mixed with pork or beef, or left as pure venison.”
Otherwise, Lease will bone out the back straps, make butterfly steaks, several roasts and some larger round steaks. The trimmings go into ground burger.
“By adding 10% beef to the ground venison, which is what I recommend to start, the true flavor of venison comes through and the meat isn’t super lean, which is what venison is.”
The hunter who gives up a nice healthy deer needs to register the animal, and arrange to get it tested for chronic wasting disease. Both are free endeavors. The system works the opposite way, too, with hunters letting it be known they have a registered deer to give up.
Most hunters would recommend the recipient remove the tenderloins immediately and before the animal is taken to the processer.
“That’s the best part, so take them out before you bring the deer to me,” Lease said. “This basic process costs about $175.”
Lease recommends cooking the steaks on medium-high heat, with quick medium rare being a good start. “Otherwise the meat might be tough,” he said.
You don’t have to be a hunter to try venison and if you’ve tried it and love it, this is a way to enjoy the wild game, maybe save a few dollars and experiment with other Wisconsin wild foods, too.
Wisconsin’s nine-day, gun deer season is Nov. 20-28. Reach out to Jerry Davis at email@example.com or 608-924-1112.