Venison is much more than food for the deer hunter's soul. It also contributes to a very healthy lifestyle, and serves as a cheap alternative to other meats. Not to mention this mouthwatering meat is typically lower in saturated fat and calories than domestic choices.
Deer feed on naturally occurring forbs and browse that don’t contain antibiotics or growth hormones. Also, helping to keep our burgeoning deer herds in check through hunting and eating what your game is good for the environment. A survey of the energy used to produce and distribute various foods has found that wild-game meat is among the most energy-efficient and least polluting foods in our diet. The analysis includes the manufacture and application of fertilizers and other chemicals, harvesting, processing, packaging, transport and waste disposal.
Nutritionally, the following tables clearly show that, compared to beef, venison is high in protein, low in calories and saturated fat.
Some game meat is higher in dietary cholesterol than domestic meats, but the combination of more lean body tissue, less saturated fat and significantly higher percentage of cholesterol-reducing polyunsaturated fatty acids makes wild game a heart-healthy choice.
*100 grams= 3 1/2 ounces
With ample proof that venison is the way to go, here are my secret venison recipes developed over decades of chasing whitetails.
The Best Venison Burgers Ever!
My wife Cheryl and I love a good hamburger, and venison burgers are our favorites. For us, the key is at the time of harvest. I make sure I meticulously clean the meat, cool it immediately and let it age a bit before processing. We grind our own burger, adding a 5 to 7 percent combination of beef and pork fat—just enough to hold the meat together when we make burgers and give it a tad of flavor, but no more than that.
When I make summer burgers, I often combine two 1/4-pound patties with a surprise in the middle. Here’s what you do. Pat out four 1/4-lb. patties. On top of one patty place a couple of long mild green chile slices (remove the seeds first!), and a piece of your favorite cheese (we like Pepperjack.) Now place the other patty on top, and be sure to close the sides of the double patty up.
Grill over a medium flame, the key being to cook the burgers slowly so they are cooked through and the cheese inside melts. I season mine with a little garlic salt, coarse black pepper, and celery salt. In the house, Cheryl has cooked a few strips of bacon and toasted onion buns. We serve the burgers on the buns and add the bacon, dill pickle slices, red onion slices and some fresh avocado. To top it all off, a fresh garden salad, some Boston baked beans and salty Kettle chips will be washed down with a fine microbrew pale ale outside on the deck.