Kicking things off, Scott says he highly recommends that hunters hang their deer or find an alternative way to age it, especially antlered game. For older bucks he lets them hang for up to two weeks and for average size does a week will do the trick. Scott says many people get concerned about letting meat just sit, however nothing bad is going to happen. By letting your game age you allow them to go through the process of rigor mortis completely and the connective tissues will begin to break down and result in more tender meat. If you are eating venison loin that tastes good but is tough it’s likely it could have used more time aging. Patience after the shot can ultimately lead to much better tasting table fare, he says.
Not every cut is going to be tender, no matter how long you age an animal, though. There are various ways to prepare tougher cuts like braising, roasting, pressure cooking and more. One lesser known option is sous vide. Scott says sous vide is a temperature controlled water bath cooking technique that can help turn tough cuts into super tender table fare. You season and vacuum seal your meat of choice, slip it into the water bath and the water then circulates at a specific temperature which essentially allows the meat to poach in its own juices. Scott says this technique is really great for tough Canada goose breasts, flank steaks or tough hind quarter roasts from a deer. Unlike a slow cooker or oven roasting, the sous vide method can keep meat at a medium rare doneness instead of turning them into pot roast. However, one thing sous vide won’t provide is a good sear or crust on the outside of your meat. Instead, Scott says if you are going to experiment with this technique it’s important to under cook your meat a little so you can take it out and put it in a pan or on the grill to brown and finish it. For those who like to stick to what they know, Scott says you can’t beat the low and slow method and braising is a great way to handle tough shoulder or hind quarter roasts and also shanks that many people just throw away. Scott says when braising a deer shoulder roast he’ll leave the bone in, rub the whole thing down with olive oil, apply some seasoning and then brown it in a pan. After that, he’ll place it in a roasting pan with celery, carrots, onion and a couple of cans of beer. Once covered with foil or a tight fitting lid, that roast can go into the oven at 300 to 325 degrees for 8 to 10 hours and the result will be fall apart tender, pot roast style venison that is great to use in soups, stews, chili, tacos and more.
Be sure to watch Scott on “Dead Meat” on Sportsman Channel, Saturdays at 2 p.m. ET. It’s a fun and surprising look into lesser eaten animals and fish across the country. You can catch the first season of “Dead Meat” on MyOutdoorTV, anytime.