Large game is often Deer

Game can be categorized in different ways. It’s often divided into large game, small game and wild fowl. But the vast majority of animals in the “large game” category are various kinds of deer.

GAME IS A LEAN MEAT

Many people who hunt themselves have an excessive respect for game meat, but it’s still meat like any other. Just maybe a bit leaner, and a lot more eco- friendly.

Venison Loin

Slicing game into thin pieces is an ancient way of using the whole animal. The result is very fine pieces of meat with the perfect amount of chewiness.

HOW TO COOK VENISON LOIN

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Coat venison in 1/2 tbsp of oil and coat liberally with salt and fresh cracked pepper.

Heat remaining oil in hot skillet over medium-high heat.

Add venison and brown on all sides.

Remove venison from skillet, place in separate pan and place in oven until internal temperature reaches 130-145 degrees depending on preference. (cooking time will vary depending on the size of your deer/loin)

While venison is in the oven place shallots in the original skillet used to sear the venison and cook until softened.
Deglaze pan with balsamic vinegar and add beef broth and thyme.
Cook on high until sauce reduces from a water liquid to a thin syrup consistency.
Add cold butter to the sauce and stir,
Let the venison rest for 5-10 minutes prior to slicing.

 

Goulash Cuts

Slicing game into thin pieces is an ancient way of using the whole animal. The result is very fine pieces of meat with the perfect amount of chewiness.

HOW TO COOK GOULASH CUTS

A larger piece of meat can be prepared for sautéing by slicing it finely when it’s half frozen. Shoulder of goulash works well, or prime rib of goulash, which is tasty but not as tender, unless thinly sliced and sautéed.

The point of this dish is that even if the meat comes from one of the less prime cuts, it’s sliced so finely that it only has to spend a few minutes in the pan. Or go for slow cooking – but your end result will be a smoother or mushier stew.

Ideal for a stir fry. The game flavor – it tends to be quite mild with moose – goes well with oriental spices. Or take the oriental cooking technique and apply it to non-oriental ingredients and flavors that go with game, e.g. celery, carrots, other root vegetables, juniper, mushrooms, etc.

Marinate the thinly sliced meat before adding it to a really hot wok.

A more traditional method is to simply fry thinly sliced moose in butter and thicken into a sauce/stew with cream, thyme, chanterelles and other autumnal forest flavors.

You can also use thinly sliced moose to replace the mince in a bolognese sauce or use it in tacos for a more interesting texture and chewier flavor. It’s more nutritious and better for the environment too.

 

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Deer fillet

This is the tenderest cut of reindeer. With a bit of thought and a certain amount of care at the hob, your fillet will melt in the mouth. But keep an eye on it as it can quickly go dry and over-cooked. Aim for a maximum – absolute maximum – 57°C.

HOW TO COOK DEER FILLET

Fry the evenly cut fillet whole in a cast iron frying pan. Don’t let it lie in one place in the pan for too long. Turn it frequently so the heat works its way into the meat. Once it has browned slightly, turn off the heat and let the meat reach 55-60°C in the residual heat. Serve in slices cut across the fibers. Don’t over-complicate things. The meat has an amazing flavor all by itself. Salt, pepper and a sprig of thyme work wonders.

The basics when cooking reindeer fillet:

  • Bring to room temperature and season in good time before cooking.
  • Fry the meat whole to retain the juices.
  • Brown in oil and butter at a high heat.
  • Turn the meat constantly so the heat spreads evenly throughout.
  • Don’t use the oven, fry the meat until you have the result you want.
  • Use a quick and sensitive thermometer. Aim for 55-60°C.
  • Important: Give the meat enough time to rest and even out the heat, at least 10 minutes.

Let the fillet rest, otherwise the meat juices will run out all over the carving dish or your plates. Because the meat is lean, this will result in it being dry in the mouth.

Tender reindeer fillet is perfect for char-grilling:

  • Use a cast iron frying pan with no fat and make sure it is properly hot.
  • Cook the fillet quickly at a high temperature, giving it a highly flavored, dry seared surface.
  • Cut into thin slices and serve with a little flaked salt.
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Deer joint

A joint of reindeer will consist of one or more of the big muscles from the hindquarters of the animal. A joint of reindeer is quite tender on its own, unlike a joint of beef. Don’t leave it in the oven longer than necessary.

HOW TO COOK A JOINT OF DEER

The basics when cooking a game joint:

  • Leave it out to reach room temperature.
  • Salt the meat at least an hour in advance.
  • Brown the surface in a mixture of oil and butter.
  • Finish cooking in the oven at 125°C.
  • Use a thermometer and aim for 55-60°C.
  • Leave to rest for approximately 15 minutes – but eat immediately.

If you like your joint rarer: Take it out of the oven when the temperature reaches 48°C.

If you like it more on the pink side: Take it out of the oven when the temperature reaches 52°C.

Slow-cooking from frozen:

  • Preheat the oven to 80°C.
  • Place a deep-frozen joint in a roasting dish at the bottom of the oven.
  • Roast – it usually takes about at least 12 hours – to an internal temperature of about 65°C.
  • Place in a cold, spiced salt solution for about 5 hours.
  • Wipe dry and serve cut into thin slices.
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