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hoosiercheetah's Profile

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Poll: Would you eat a dog

Dogs are yummy.

Cat is yummy too, but kind of scrawny. You have to whack three or four to make it worth it, like squirrels.

Jan 20, 2012
hoosiercheetah in General Topics

Hunted Deer

I realize that some of this info may be coming too late to help the original poster, but this question is very near to my heart, and I hope this will be helpful to someone down the road.

I wanted to first echo what's already been said - deer fat tastes nasty. The good news is that there isn't a lot of it on a deer - something about an animal that spends it's life running from coyotes and hunters and fighting for the right to breed, versus one that spends it's life shuffling back and forth between the feed trough and the manure pile. But I digress.

The bad news is most processors don't take the time to trim all of the fat and tallow and sinew from the deer before it's frozen. After several years of getting disappointing results from processors who are too busy to do a good job, and charge a hundred dollars or more for it, I started butchering my own deer. It is a pretty big job, but not as big or messy as I thought it would be. And the results are vastly superior to anything I've ever eaten that came from a processor.

For anyone who gets brave and decides to butcher their own deer, there is a wealth of information about it online. I want to add one piece of advice that I learned on my own and have not seen anywhere else. Along with trimming the fat, the silvery connective membranes between the muscles should also be removed, as much as possible. Taking the time to do this will greatly improve the flavor of the final product. One more note on home butchering - I have attempted to make stock from deer bones, and so far the results are totally inedible. Same problem as with deer "bacon" or ribs. Unlike pork and beef, where the fat and connective tissue carry a lot of good flavor, deer fat and tissue tastes awful. I do not recommend it.

Also, a note for the submitter and anyone else cooking venison from a processor: use the roasts first, then the steaks, and save the ground for when the rest of the meat is gone. The reason for this is that the longer the meat sits in the freezer, the more the gamey taste moves from the fat into the meat. This will be most noticeable in roasts, which are likely to be slow-cooked without being able to trim all of the fat out, and least noticable in ground meat, which is more often used in things like chili and marinara, where the heavy seasoning of the sauce will mask the offensive flavors of the fat.

When cooking venison, as everyone else has mentioned, the leanness of the meat is the primary consideration. Venison steaks from being undercooked to being shoe leather in about 2.5 seconds. The easiest, most consistent way I've found to deal with them is the following method:

1. Since you're using venison steaks cut by a processor, plan on having to do some trimming before you cook them. Let them thaw in the refrigerator for a full 24 hours. Depending on how the processor cut them, the steaks will probably want to fall apart into several smaller peices of meat - let them, and trim away everything you can that isn't red.

2. After trimming, give the meat a quick rinse, pat dry with paper towels, salt and pepper both sides, and let it sit while the pan heats up.

3. Get the pan medium-high hot - hot enough that butter thrown in it will quickly brown, but not instantly burn. If you're using olive oil instead of butter, you can go a little hotter.

4. Hot pan, cold oil. You can guess the rest. Go easy on the oil, because as soon as the steaks are done, you're going to want to immediately deglaze with red wine, hit it with some parsley, mount with cold butter, and pour the pan sauce over the steaks, which have been resting during all that activity. The big secret is that venison steaks demand your undivided attention. They cook faster, and the fond in the pan will burn faster, than anything else you've done before.

Obviously, you can fiddle around with additional flavors - a little garlic minced into the cooking oil is nice, a bit of sage or some mushrooms in the pan sauce go well - but you'll find the venison is much richer and more flavorfull than beef, and it does really well on it's own.

My favorite thing to do with backstrap is slice it twice as thick as I want a steak, then butterfly it and cook as above.

Chances are you'll end up with at least one roast. Processors don't like to bother with boning out the shoulder or the neck. Venison roasts tend to be the gamiest of the various cuts, for reasons previously mentioned, so don't be afraid to season the heck out of it. My favorite thing to do with a shoulder roast is rub it down with a bbq paste and cook it in a crock pot with a bottle of liquid smoke for about 8 hours. Treat it just like pulled pork. You can also crock it to make shred meat for tacos or tamales. If you want to do a more traditional root-veggie pot roast, be sure to use mushrooms, juniper, and sage, and load up on the onion and garlic. Bold veggies like turnips and parsnips do better than potatoes and carrots.

Ground venison can be treated almost the same as ground beef, it's just a bit drier because it's so lean. The first year I did my own butchering, I experimented with adding beef fat and pork fat to the ground venison. Personally, I don't find that it adds anything but grease to what should be a very lean meat. My family and I prefer the flavor of the deer. But once again, the trick to this is that the meat has to be trimmed of as much fat and sinew as possible before grinding. Even ground that's done by a processor and still has a lot of the sinew in the meat will fare well in chili or spaghetti sauce. Venison meatloaf is phenomenal; I add a little extra Worcestershire to keep the moisture balance right.

That's all I have to say about that! Well, ok, one more thing.

A word about the quantity of venison yield on a deer:

Deer are not as big as you think. When people who don't hunt think about deer, they think of an animal something like the size of a skinny donkey. I used to be the same way, and I think I've figured out why - That's how big Disney draws them. Bambi's father walks around with antlers in the dead of winter, towering over the other animals, all the undergrowth in his background comes up to his knees. Elk get that big, deer don't.

Your average whitetail buck is only about 4 feet tall at the shoulders, and I've only ever seen one that was tall enough to look me in the eye on the hoof. A typical doe isn't much bigger than an adult Great Dane. The weight of the deer varies a lot with age, diet, and health, but anywhere between 100 and 200 lbs live weight is typical. Deer are lean and compact animals, with more bone mass than they look like they have. Most places you look will tell you to expect to get 40% of a deer's live weight back in usable meat - if the shot placement was good and neither of the front legs were damaged. My personal experience bears this out as well.

Feel free to msg me with any questions! :-D

Jan 20, 2012
hoosiercheetah in General Topics

Savory Oatmeal

My favorite is kind of sweet, kind of savory. I cook steel cut oats by Alton Brown's stove-top method, scaled out so that I start with 1 Cup of oats. Then I use a can of coconut milk instead of moo juice. I add about a cup of all-natural peanut butter and a tablespoon of Sriracha sauce and a few shreds of fresh Thai basil, if I have it on hand, and a little fresh ginger, which I always have on hand. Sweet heat to fire up my morning!

Feb 11, 2011
hoosiercheetah in Home Cooking

Chemical/Alternatives to the real thing-- that you actually like better...

Have you read the Cake Mix Doctor? Easy, consistent results, and beats the pants off anything I've ever made from scratch.

Oct 08, 2010
hoosiercheetah in General Topics

Chemical/Alternatives to the real thing-- that you actually like better...

My wife and I thought the same thing for a long time. I tried and tried to make homemade mac and cheese, because I was sure that it had to be better than the blue box stuff, and I couldn't do it.

Then I realized the problem.

99% of the homemade mac and cheese recipes you find are for Baked mac and cheese. We are Stove-Top mac and cheese people. I realized the difference one day while cruising Alton Brown's recipes at I highly recommend his Stove-Top Mac and Cheese recipe. It's fast, easy, creamy, and delicious - just like the stuff in the box, but with fewer chemical additives and preservatives.

Oct 08, 2010
hoosiercheetah in General Topics

Strawberry Fool

I'd love to try to make this without sugar. Can anyone offer advice on removing the sugar from the recipe? Will I need to make any other adjustments to compensate? I think I wouldn't need as much lemon juice. Any thoughts?

Jul 19, 2010
hoosiercheetah in Recipes

Basic Barbecue Sauce

BBQ sauce is one of the most regional, most subjective foods I'm aware of. I don't think I've ever heard two people agree about any given sauce. Bully for Kate Ramos for having the stones to post a recipe about which everyone is sure to have a very strong opinion!

May 26, 2010
hoosiercheetah in Recipes

Vinegar and Spice Oven-Baked Ribs

So close to bbq, yet so far away....

If this recipe sounds good to you, I highly recomend the Cheater BBQ cookbook. The authors have a blog here:

Sep 02, 2009
hoosiercheetah in Recipes

I bought a can of Irish Oats-now what?

Basicly, rolled oats are steamed twice durring the processing, which blanches out a lot of the flavor, and develops some of the gluten.

Steel-cut oats are just chopped up to expose the inner kernel for cooking.

Minimum processing = maximum flavor, as always.

Aug 07, 2009
hoosiercheetah in Home Cooking

Blackberry-Peach Cobbler with Sour Cream Biscuits

Okay, maybe I'm nit-picking here, but this isn't a cobbler. When you put the biscuit on top of the fruit, you're making a slump. When you put a lid on a slump, you're making a grunt. If you want cobbler, the batter goes in the pan first, then fruit on top, and the crust cooks up through the fruit. For a perfect example, look at Paula Dean's recipe here:

I think it's important to use the proper name for a dish, even if the definitions are kind of loose and traditional.

Jul 16, 2008
hoosiercheetah in Recipes

Those Bland Midwestern Tastebuds

Arguing on the internet is like running in the Special Olympics. Even if you win, you're still retarded.

Jul 09, 2008
hoosiercheetah in Features

Alton and his Convection oven

Any chance you could post Betty's Buckle recipe? If it's not a carefully guarded secret, of course.

Dutch-Processed or Unsweetened Cocoa Powder?

For dusting, use Dutch process. It's less acidic and much less bitter.

DPc can be subbed in for regular (American) cocoa powder in most recipes, but you also have to change the leavening. Rose covers this subject in depth in "The Cake Bible", and I think you can find the info on her website.

May 14, 2008
hoosiercheetah in Home Cooking

Looking for cookbook

I've just finished working through Alton Brown's "I'm just here for the Food". It's primarily an instruction book on basic cooking techniques. I've found it incredibly helpful in improving my kitchen skills in a very short time. Also, the recipes in the book are simple and delicious. I'd recomend it to anyone.

May 14, 2008
hoosiercheetah in Home Cooking

JUNE COOKBOOK OF MONTH - Suggestions, etc.

Where can I find a list of recent Book of the Month winners?

May 14, 2008
hoosiercheetah in Home Cooking