Miscellaneous Rumbles

How do you like your venison?

26

The last time I had venison it was chopped up in taco form. It was utterly nasty and I haven't had it since. I was been told that based on my description of how it tasted (which I no longer remember), that it was almost certainly a butchering screw up, like a nicked intestine or something. I haven't sworn it off, but I haven't seen it on a menu in quite some time.

– Afire

You must be very careful NOT to touch the scent glands on a buck and then anywhere else! It ruins the taste. Carefully cut the scent glands off and disguard!

27

Chilli. Slow cooked.

29

They say its an acquired taste.Well, I've been hunting for almost 50 yrs and the truth is, I never acquired that "taste".The only part of the deer that is palatable to me is the backstraps.Last 2 deer I got I cut the backstraps out and let my hunting buddies divie up the rest.I see it this way,if a butcher sold me a piece of meat that needed 2 days soaking in a marinade to be edible,I'd take it back and slap him with it.

30

You must be very careful NOT to touch the scent glands on a buck and then anywhere else! It ruins the taste. Carefully cut the scent glands off and disguard!

– RCgold

Yes! That's exactly what I was told. It didn't ruin me for life, but man, it was disgusting.

31

I've pan-fried it. I've grilled it. Most of the time I'd prefer to "chili" it.

Same with elk...

...------

32

Just finished some ground Elk, we like that as much as Beef...it's Beef Lite.

I want to try Eland, needs to be special ordered, pricey still despite growing popularity.

33

I had it once — at 11 years old. Didn't work for me.

I'd be interested to try it now.

34

Random Ruminations on Ruminants and Other Sources of Animal Protein

I eat meat. Practically every day. I'm neither proud nor ashamed of it, though maybe I should be one or the other.

I saw (and helped, to a boyish capacity) as cattle were shot and butchered on my grandfather's farm, and chickens unceremoniously beheaded and cooked for dinner. I've seen the feedlots and rendering plants in the west. The mass production of poultry is a substantial industry in my immediate hereabouts.

So I'm not naive about where meat comes from, and feel I'm realistic about the functional savagery and moral/ethical/spiritual accommodations which go along with consumption. Fundamentally, for something (other than photosynthesizing plants) to live, something else must die.

That yin-yanged life-death victory-tragedy - that gratitude and that grief - were recognized in ancient cultures in blood sacrifice, survives in the practice of saying grace before a meal, and is most directly and powerfully expressed in the "primitive" (it isn't) practice of apologizing to and blessing an animal before taking its life.

I have no position on hunting. I experienced it in adolescence, but it's not part of my life. I get that some hunters have respect for their prey, and honor it by wasting no part of the sacrificed animal. While I have no gene for the glorification of weapons, I know I could kill for my supper if I had to.

Recognizing that, I also realize that, given the industrial scale of animal sacrifice required to feed the tastes of most human populations, most of us give less thought than maybe we ought to the process that turns a big-eyed moo-cow into a hamburger. We're insulated. Western markets rarely feature recognizable carcasses; cellophane-wrapped cuts of meat in the supermarket cooler are as close as most of us have to get to raw animal flesh - and when we eat out or cruise through the drive-thru, we don't even see that.

Ain't sayin' any of that is good or bad. I'm just ruminating as pointlessly as a placid heifer, gazing around as she grazes a green hillside.

I also find that when animals outside those most common to my experience (beef, chicken, pork, turkey, fish) are proposed as food, I feel a slight pang of ... not quite revulsion, but at least uneasiness. And I know this is completely situational: I (perhaps all too readily) accept consuming those animals I, in this culture, am conditioned by long experience to eat.

There's nothing inherently different about eating deer (I'm sure I must have, but don't recall it), buffalo (once had a burger), turtle, gator, snake, or anything else. They just aren't my regular diet, so they get my attention and make me think.

Other cultures regularly eat dog and horse. Maybe cats (though why bother?) - monkeys in some places, right? We're horrified and disgusted - but, again, I have to remind myself, it's just cultural. We all live as we have been accustomed to living, in the place we are, by and large practicing the customs of the prevailing culture of that place.

In any case, I query myself and find I have little interest - and a little aversion - to extending my meat palate to venison, or anything else.


A tangential but true story, illustrating I don't know what. A tween-aged grand-neice of my wife's (I had to work that out before typing it) - though raised in a family of hearty Murrikin meat eaters - is a vegetarian by revulsion, and then principle, from early in life. Nonetheless, she took raising a beef cow as a 4-H project. She took responsibility for everything, raised a fine young animal, and - as is the way in 4H - took it to the county fair to be judged. She (her animal?) did well.

Came the traditional auction at the end of the fair, when the animals are bought (at inflated, encourage-the-kids rate) by area grocery or meat-packing concerns for the pre-ordained reason. She couldn't tolerate the thought of the animal being killed; her grandmother (my sister-in-law) accordingly paid 2,000.00 for the beast and built a new pen on her property (in the country) to keep the animal.

My sister-in-law has always had the softest of spots for animals, worked for a vet for several years, and has been the repository for an endless string of ill-trained dogs (and their carelessly proliferating litters) taken on and then given up by her children and grandchildren. There are cats. She has goats. The cow is simply the biggest non-primate mammal on the property, not an outlier.

I said it didn't mean anything. If I had to come up with some rationale, I might guess it has something to do with a young girl, growing up in a thoroughly red-meat family, having concluded at a young age that she couldn't eat the stuff, trying to work out some dimly felt inner conflict. I suppose the cow will live till it dies of old age - not a common fate among Bessies of the latter age. Will that life have "meaning?" Would its dying so I could have a juicy steak render its life more "meaningful?"

I can't parse that. I consider that, generally speaking, the meaning of life is life - and the closer an animal gets to us on the evolutionary tree, the more likely they are (from my human-chauvinist perspective) to share some degree of self-awareness and consciousness with us. The more likely it seems to me that they can appreciate that the meaning of life is life.

So where do I put whales and porpoises, and the thoroughly alien but undeniably intelligent octopus? No conflict for me there: I don't eat them.


I should probably - we should probably - reduce meat consumption. They say most of us would be healthier as vegetarians, or at least as less frequent and voluminous eaters of meat.

Plants may have "feelings," in a way - or at least "sensations" by which they respond to external stimuli. And some earthly plant species (not to mention every living thing on Pandora) apparently communicate via root systems. What they're saying may be beyond us.

But hey, "we didn't ask to be born," and once we're here, we seem to have an innate compulsion to stay here. As Rally's slogan goes, "You gotta eat." It follows that we have to eat something. But if even plants have some sacred and indivisible spark of life, beyond man's ability to produce - and they do - then we're still bound by spiritual contract to honor that which we consume, because something died for us to go on living.

Given that, probably better plants than cows. Better for human health, better for the health of the environment which sustains us on this blue-green planet in an utterly implacable and mostly hostile universe.

Or, at least, better for the environment to the extent to which bovine methane emissions contribute to the greenhouse effect. Farm bureaus say that amounts to nothing; particularly alarmist environmentalists say our herds of cattle are farting and belching us to the broiling point. When the AP looked for a bottom line, they found this:

“Of the CH4 (methane) produced by enteric fermentation in the forestomach 95% was excreted by eructation (burp), and from CH4 produced in the hindgut 89% was found to be excreted through the breath.’”

In a nutshell, belches are bad news.

At Tuscia University in Viterbo, Italy, environmental scholar Giampiero Grossi said methane emitted by ruminant livestock accounts for about 5.5% of the greenhouse gasses that come from human activity. More than 70% of livestock emissions are from cattle, he said.

“Ruminants are a significant source of methane,” which traps more heat than carbon dioxide but doesn’t last as long in the air, said Kristie Ebi, director of the Center for Health and the Global Environment at the University of Washington in Seattle.

Still,

Warming from the burning of fossil fuels is roughly 10 times to 17 times greater than warming caused by livestock burping and farting, Field said.

So there's that, put into perspective.

I can feel self-righteous and sanctimonious that my fossil fuel footprint has shrunk a few sizes. Now that I'm mostly retired and not spending ghastly amounts of time on the road, I'm no longer guzzling gas like a staggering drunkard. And with Covid, my dream of never going anywhere, at any time, for any reason is nearly achievable.

Tomorrow our boxed meal kit from Everyplate features Super Smashed Burgers with Caramelized Onion, Chipotle Aioli, and Potato Wedges. Heedless omnivore that I am, I'm looking forward to it.

35

Random Ruminations on Ruminants and Other Sources of Animal Protein

I eat meat. Practically every day. I'm neither proud nor ashamed of it, though maybe I should be one or the other.

I saw (and helped, to a boyish capacity) as cattle were shot and butchered on my grandfather's farm, and chickens unceremoniously beheaded and cooked for dinner. I've seen the feedlots and rendering plants in the west. The mass production of poultry is a substantial industry in my immediate hereabouts.

So I'm not naive about where meat comes from, and feel I'm realistic about the functional savagery and moral/ethical/spiritual accommodations which go along with consumption. Fundamentally, for something (other than photosynthesizing plants) to live, something else must die.

That yin-yanged life-death victory-tragedy - that gratitude and that grief - were recognized in ancient cultures in blood sacrifice, survives in the practice of saying grace before a meal, and is most directly and powerfully expressed in the "primitive" (it isn't) practice of apologizing to and blessing an animal before taking its life.

I have no position on hunting. I experienced it in adolescence, but it's not part of my life. I get that some hunters have respect for their prey, and honor it by wasting no part of the sacrificed animal. While I have no gene for the glorification of weapons, I know I could kill for my supper if I had to.

Recognizing that, I also realize that, given the industrial scale of animal sacrifice required to feed the tastes of most human populations, most of us give less thought than maybe we ought to the process that turns a big-eyed moo-cow into a hamburger. We're insulated. Western markets rarely feature recognizable carcasses; cellophane-wrapped cuts of meat in the supermarket cooler are as close as most of us have to get to raw animal flesh - and when we eat out or cruise through the drive-thru, we don't even see that.

Ain't sayin' any of that is good or bad. I'm just ruminating as pointlessly as a placid heifer, gazing around as she grazes a green hillside.

I also find that when animals outside those most common to my experience (beef, chicken, pork, turkey, fish) are proposed as food, I feel a slight pang of ... not quite revulsion, but at least uneasiness. And I know this is completely situational: I (perhaps all too readily) accept consuming those animals I, in this culture, am conditioned by long experience to eat.

There's nothing inherently different about eating deer (I'm sure I must have, but don't recall it), buffalo (once had a burger), turtle, gator, snake, or anything else. They just aren't my regular diet, so they get my attention and make me think.

Other cultures regularly eat dog and horse. Maybe cats (though why bother?) - monkeys in some places, right? We're horrified and disgusted - but, again, I have to remind myself, it's just cultural. We all live as we have been accustomed to living, in the place we are, by and large practicing the customs of the prevailing culture of that place.

In any case, I query myself and find I have little interest - and a little aversion - to extending my meat palate to venison, or anything else.


A tangential but true story, illustrating I don't know what. A tween-aged grand-neice of my wife's (I had to work that out before typing it) - though raised in a family of hearty Murrikin meat eaters - is a vegetarian by revulsion, and then principle, from early in life. Nonetheless, she took raising a beef cow as a 4-H project. She took responsibility for everything, raised a fine young animal, and - as is the way in 4H - took it to the county fair to be judged. She (her animal?) did well.

Came the traditional auction at the end of the fair, when the animals are bought (at inflated, encourage-the-kids rate) by area grocery or meat-packing concerns for the pre-ordained reason. She couldn't tolerate the thought of the animal being killed; her grandmother (my sister-in-law) accordingly paid 2,000.00 for the beast and built a new pen on her property (in the country) to keep the animal.

My sister-in-law has always had the softest of spots for animals, worked for a vet for several years, and has been the repository for an endless string of ill-trained dogs (and their carelessly proliferating litters) taken on and then given up by her children and grandchildren. There are cats. She has goats. The cow is simply the biggest non-primate mammal on the property, not an outlier.

I said it didn't mean anything. If I had to come up with some rationale, I might guess it has something to do with a young girl, growing up in a thoroughly red-meat family, having concluded at a young age that she couldn't eat the stuff, trying to work out some dimly felt inner conflict. I suppose the cow will live till it dies of old age - not a common fate among Bessies of the latter age. Will that life have "meaning?" Would its dying so I could have a juicy steak render its life more "meaningful?"

I can't parse that. I consider that, generally speaking, the meaning of life is life - and the closer an animal gets to us on the evolutionary tree, the more likely they are (from my human-chauvinist perspective) to share some degree of self-awareness and consciousness with us. The more likely it seems to me that they can appreciate that the meaning of life is life.

So where do I put whales and porpoises, and the thoroughly alien but undeniably intelligent octopus? No conflict for me there: I don't eat them.


I should probably - we should probably - reduce meat consumption. They say most of us would be healthier as vegetarians, or at least as less frequent and voluminous eaters of meat.

Plants may have "feelings," in a way - or at least "sensations" by which they respond to external stimuli. And some earthly plant species (not to mention every living thing on Pandora) apparently communicate via root systems. What they're saying may be beyond us.

But hey, "we didn't ask to be born," and once we're here, we seem to have an innate compulsion to stay here. As Rally's slogan goes, "You gotta eat." It follows that we have to eat something. But if even plants have some sacred and indivisible spark of life, beyond man's ability to produce - and they do - then we're still bound by spiritual contract to honor that which we consume, because something died for us to go on living.

Given that, probably better plants than cows. Better for human health, better for the health of the environment which sustains us on this blue-green planet in an utterly implacable and mostly hostile universe.

Or, at least, better for the environment to the extent to which bovine methane emissions contribute to the greenhouse effect. Farm bureaus say that amounts to nothing; particularly alarmist environmentalists say our herds of cattle are farting and belching us to the broiling point. When the AP looked for a bottom line, they found this:

“Of the CH4 (methane) produced by enteric fermentation in the forestomach 95% was excreted by eructation (burp), and from CH4 produced in the hindgut 89% was found to be excreted through the breath.’”

In a nutshell, belches are bad news.

At Tuscia University in Viterbo, Italy, environmental scholar Giampiero Grossi said methane emitted by ruminant livestock accounts for about 5.5% of the greenhouse gasses that come from human activity. More than 70% of livestock emissions are from cattle, he said.

“Ruminants are a significant source of methane,” which traps more heat than carbon dioxide but doesn’t last as long in the air, said Kristie Ebi, director of the Center for Health and the Global Environment at the University of Washington in Seattle.

Still,

Warming from the burning of fossil fuels is roughly 10 times to 17 times greater than warming caused by livestock burping and farting, Field said.

So there's that, put into perspective.

I can feel self-righteous and sanctimonious that my fossil fuel footprint has shrunk a few sizes. Now that I'm mostly retired and not spending ghastly amounts of time on the road, I'm no longer guzzling gas like a staggering drunkard. And with Covid, my dream of never going anywhere, at any time, for any reason is nearly achievable.

Tomorrow our boxed meal kit from Everyplate features Super Smashed Burgers with Caramelized Onion, Chipotle Aioli, and Potato Wedges. Heedless omnivore that I am, I'm looking forward to it.

– Proteus

Good Lord man, pipe down and pass the lingonberry sauce...

36

Well, I read some of what Proteus posted and agreed with it. Can someone summarize so the every day man can understand? Proteus, Tim, to say that you are long winded is an understatement.

37

I had the pleasure of hanging out with Tim for a while at the last NorCal Roundup. A rediculously good guitar player, and unlike his presence here the guy barely spoke 20 words the whole time. Quite a contrast for the eyes and ears.

39

Yeah I hung on every word and loved it. I’m an omnivore as well.

40

Like every other example of homo sapiens, I have canines.

And I use them.

If you choose not to use yours for whatever reason, that's your choice and I wish you well.

41

My wife is a vegetarian so that is how I tend to eat most of the time, but I do like a nice bit of meat now and then. I’m happy with that from an environmental point of view. Then again, I suppose we all tell ourselves what we want to hear.

42

Well, I read some of what Proteus posted and agreed with it. Can someone summarize so the every day man can understand? Proteus, Tim, to say that you are long winded is an understatement.

– UncleGrumpy

Long winded? From most any viewpoint that was the 'rendered' version.

43

I say anything on this earth other than humans is fair game.

And you haven’t had venison until you had it in a pierogi.

We got 2 Pekin ducks (think Aflac) and a rabbit during COVID. Part of homeschooling. Animal husbandry.

They are plump and presumably juicy, and subsequently and most likely would be scrumptious-delly-icious. But much like Pro-man’s sister-in-law’s-grand-daughters $2k 4H summer project, they won’t never get et, or is it eaten.

But I have eaten a long list of road kill, including deer, elk, Buffalo, snake, octopus, rabbit, squirrel, possum, gator. Never any primates, but having eaten in Windsor Chinese buffets in the 80’s, and many were closed down due to canine/feline preparations, perhaps the occasional house pet.

In Michigan, hunting is a ritual. Opening day of deer rifle season has been an official union holiday for many a year. I’m a lover, not a hunter - but I have partaken in many a road kill fund raiser - $50 gets you all the wild game you can eat, and a chance to win a shiny new rifle or shotgun.

44

I had it once — at 11 years old. Didn't work for me.

I'd be interested to try it now.

– redrocker

And I thought hanging a beef steak for 10 weeks was extreme...

45

you'd think hanging the cow by its neck till it was dead would suffice. 11 years is pretty medieval.

46

But I have eaten a long list of road kill, including deer, elk, Buffalo, snake, octopus, rabbit, squirrel, possum, gator. Never any primates, but having eaten in Windsor Chinese buffets in the 80’s, and many were closed down due to canine/feline preparations, perhaps the occasional house pet. -Jeff O

You sit on a throne of lies. Octopus road kill? Everyone knows Octopus can't drive. Geesh.

47

Loin/tenderloin or backstraps. Roasted the same way you'd do a filet mignon. Done properly, you can't tell it from the finest beef. I'm pretty sure that "gamey" taste folks complain about comes from not hanging/bleeding out long enough.

48

Being in WI, deer season is a state holiday. Now I didn't grow up here, nor in a hunting family, so my venison experiences were minimal, and not great when I was young. Now, I've been hunting for a few years, and my 11 year old son got his first doe this year. I do all our processing (this way I know that not a single piece of the animal is wasted) so we usually have a plan on what we will be using what parts for. I love summer sausage, hot sticks, and jerky, but have yet to venture into that rabbit hole quite yet.

Backstraps are some of the best meat I've ever eaten. We usually use the back legs as roasts, slow roasted with garlic, onion, and maybe a few other seasonings, but nothing to mask the natural flavor. Normally we cut a few steaks, aside from the back straps, but this one was a little smaller, so the majority got ground with some fattier beef (I believe this was 65/35). With venison being so lean, for things like that you need some fat or it shrinks like crazy when cooked. We call this beefison, and use it for everything you would use ground hamburger for. It's amazing, and will usually last us a good long time.

As a small touch on my theory about hunting, which has grown over the years. There was a point when I first moved here that I really didn't like the idea of hunters. Most of that was bred from assuming that most of these guys were hunting purely for sport, and didn't care about much else. That is something I was totally opposed to, and honestly, still am. But as I spent more time around a handful of hunters, I realized that the majority of them, if not damn near all of them do it for a multitude of reasons, and a few run through every hunter I've met. 1. Meat, pure and simple. Most of us would rather provide for ourselves than rely on the grocery store. I know if I didn't have to work for a living, I'd likely have a small farm with crops and animals that were just to ensure my family was fed. 2. Population control. If we leave the (in this case) whitetail deer population to itself, they would actually wind up choking themselves off and causing more damage than good. Now personally, I'll never be a tag out hunter, if I did, I could have harvested 7 animals this year, meaning between my son and I, I'd need a freezer the size of a garage. But it really does make a difference. Responsible culling helps the animals grow bigger and healthier. 3. General outdoor conservation. Consider that the majority of money our states put into land management comes from hunting licenses and programs. I love being outdoors, and hunt, camp, fish, hike, offroad, and whatever else as much as possible. Most of that would be more difficult without those dollars in the system. 4. Self reliance. I mentioned this in #1, but for me I started hunting to know, unequivocally, that I can feed my family. Every step, from tracking to consumption, is on me. It's not for everyone, but it's something important I believe. Through this practice, I've taught my son the value of life, and what it means to respect and honor that animal. I'm not a trophy hunter, in fact I've only kept one memento of a hunt (not including spent shells), and that was a skull from a respectable buck I got 2 years ago. Generally all the bones/heads/carcass go into the wood burner that heats the house on the property I hunt, again, so nothing goes to waste. But that one hangs in my garage. I'm not likely to have a full taxidermied head on my mantle, but the bare skull that I processed myself, in my garage as a conversation starter and memory of one of my most exciting hunts to date is worth it. I've converted a few people from hating hunting, to at least being ok with it, and I'm always up to discuss more if you're so inclined.

49

venison is best best left by the side of the road.


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