When I was a kid, I dreaded the venison steaks served at dinner for multiple reasons. First, I thought it was pretty mean to kill Bambi’s mom! Secondly, I wasn’t sure about that flavor, and finally I’d usually end up eating a sodium filled can of Tomato soup. Now that I am an adult and married to an avid Whitetail hunter, I’ve realized that there’s no escaping this “delicacy” 😉 I think I first started eating venison when Justin and I started dating. (Everyone pretends a little at the beginning right?) I wanted to try this meat he’d worked so hard to procure. lol. My initial reaction: it still tasted as bad as I remembered. However, he had cooked it up and taken the time to share it with me, therefore, I was going to try it.
Later I began making him venison meatloaf to take up to school with him during the week. (He was attending ESF during the first few years we dated.) As I learned to cook it how I wanted it to taste, I also learned to enjoy it. Now I hardly even notice that gamey taste or maybe I’ve gotten used to it??? Either way, I’ve learned a lot about venison over the past decade, including the importance of reducing the whitetail population, and I want to share with you why it’s a healthy option. Of course if you are reading about a rural mommy, you probably have the meat in your freezer as you read this.
- Venison has 3x less cholesterol than beef! (Nutritional Values of Venison)
- Venison has less calories than beef.
- There is more iron in venison than beef.
Those were slightly boring reasons … but the calorie count and cholesterol situation are important to consider. Moving right along …
4. The whitetail deer population is out of hand in western NY. If your insurance deductible or crop hasn’t already told you this, then let me share something else with you. I love Letchworth State Park and used to work there in the summers. One thing many happy visitors of the park may not realize as they gaze at the deer EVERYWHERE, is that they are destroying the populations of many small plants, flowers, and shrubs. Walk around the park, look under the trees. Not much there? Yep. Deer ate it.
5. I have found some amazing recipes that have “fixed” the gamey taste I didn’t fancy as a child. You can find them on My Favorite Venison Recipe page. Now I think venison tastes awesome when seasoned and cooked correctly. Favorite easy recipe: Venison Fondue.
6. While some deer may suffer in our often rough winters, for the most part they are free to traverse the area. They eat apples from trees and corn from obliging farmer’s fields 😉 I would much rather eat the meat of a contented animal than one that was raised in a cramped farm possibly in inhumane conditions.
So while I wouldn’t pass up a filet or prime rib at Red Osier, at home, the only red meat in the freezer is venison, and I prefer to feed that to my family.
… Lydia still won’t eat it … but she is two and refuses to eat meat in general, so the venison doesn’t take it personally.