Most of us either hunt, or use a lot of meat we produce ourselves. For me here in Iowa it’s deer hunting season. I don't know about other parts of the US, or the world, but here in Iowa deer is a staple food for most of us. This is how I use every bit of that deer during the hunting season to feed my chickens, my dog and myself. I even use it in the wood stove. When skinning the deer, hog, or what ever you are putting in your freezer that day, this will work pretty much across the board.
Get 3 good sized buckets or tubs. One bucket for the deer organs you will keep for yourself or dehydrate or freeze for your dog. I keep a guardian dog so it’s really important to hold some of this good food over for summer feedings. One bucket is for the guts and things you really are not going to keep. The last is for the deer meat or venison, you will use for the table.
If you butcher bone in, as most of us do for flavor, you will want to pick these up after your dog enjoys them for a while. If you don't butcher bone in, or give them to a dog to enjoy first, just stash the deer bones up in your wood pile. Bone burns longer and hotter than wood. Save the bones for just before you go to bed. You won't have to get up in the middle of the night to stoke the fire, those bones will keep the fire going and you will have enough heat to get a good fire going again come morning.
Another thing you can do before you start carving away at those bones, is scoop out all the marrow. The marrow is the most nutritious part of the animal, it contains salts and minerals not found in other parts. After scooping it out, you can save it for flavoring soups or stews, or even mixing it with some spices and egg for a type of pudding.
Those bones are a valuable part of any animal that shouldn't be over looked.
The real trick to cooking deer meat is to not treat it like deer. Treat it like beef. You wouldn't chase your beef before you shoot it. You wouldn't hang your beef in the garage and let it sit in exhaust fumes for a week before your butcher it.
There is a whole gamut of things people do to deer meat and then expect it to taste good that they would never do to any other sort of meat.
The final stage to having the best deer meat you ever tasted, assuming you didn't go kill a big buck and then think you would share some awesome steaks with your buddies. You wouldn't buy an old bull or an old boar and think the meat would be good would you? I didn't think so.
Now all you have to do is take that young buck or doe and cook the deer meat to a medium rare. Deer doesn't do well if you over cook it - not in steak form anyway. Just like beef, the best way to enjoy a deer steak is over a fire with friends.
I hope this helped get your deer hunting season off to a good start and to keep your winter fire a bit warmer.
By Gypsy, our resident homestead blogger
Now that you have read Gypsy's article on the Deer Hunting Season in Iowa, you may also be interested in home butchering.
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