This week I was very pleased to see my favourite butcher announce they had new season venison in stock.
I scuttled along to make my order, and asked what cuts they had.
“Whatever you want” said Mr Rattray, and brought a whole venison carcass out of the van ready to joint.
“What do you fancy?”
So I got my camera out, and then did some research.
Venison is tasty, low-fat, and free range. You HAVE to shoot some every year to manage the population.
So here’s a quick overview of what to do with the three main venison sections, and how to joint a whole carcass if you’re lucky enough to have one.
I was a little startled, I’ll admit, but I believe if you eat meat, you have a responsibility to know what you’re really doing.
It was interesting to see how much the deer carcass looked like that of a rabbit – though on a supersize scale – and the jointing technique was similar,
Rob got to work, first cutting the haunch off.
The hind legs provide excellent roasting joints.
Many people like to bard this low-fat meat with streaky bacon to stop it going dry, but if you cook it quickly (medium rare), and let it have a good rest (whilst you make the gravy), it will be as juicy as you like. And it won’t taste of bacon.
(While I’m being bossy, no marinating in wine either – the alcohol dries out the meat.)
A leg could be BBQ’d like a leg of lamb, but I had my eye on that central section.
Rob set about separating the fore (shoulders and neck) from the loin.
The fore meat is tougher, so you have two options. It can be cut into smaller chunks for a casserole – maybe red wine, juniper berries, bacon and mushrooms? – or make it into burgers.
On the right is the saddle, and that’s what I went for.
This will be familiar to regular rabbit cooks, as the saddle has the twin loins of lean meat along the side.
I did my research, and roasted it, served with a blackberry, sloe gin & red wine sauce. (Recipe here)
It was delicious.
I hope this has given you plenty of ideas on how to cook venison.
It’s a prestige meat that will make you feel like Henry VIII. It is tasty without being strong, and doesn’t need any fancy cooking.
It’s low fat, inexpensive, and free range.
Get in there while you can!
8 Chalybeate St, Aberystwyth SY23 1HS
Phone: 01970 615353