Note About Cuts of Meat
I was so excited to meet Julie via email a few weeks ago. She asked a question that I often have been asked. I received her permission to post our correspondence and hope to hear from any of you with any comments or questions!
My name is Julie and my family and I live in Montgomery, and we enjoy hunting … and eating! My husband has hunted for years, and I have been introduced to it by him. We have four little boys who are ages 6, 4 (twins), 3. Our house is never quiet either!! They are excited about all things hunting too. My husband Michael is a physician here, and he said he knows your father. Rarely do we read a book and recognize familiar faces! We have both enjoyed reading your cookbook, and I’m excited to try out everything! However, I am not the best cook as far as wild game goes (or maybe anything else, really), so I was thrilled to find your book. We have plenty of venison in our freezer from my husband’s Iowa deer and my first deer (Alabama). I am really surprised at the difference in flavor of the two regions … the Iowa deer is much sweeter tasting to us. I usually have turkey but have never known how to cook it!
My question is regarding what cut of venison to use in a few of your recipes. I am assuming deer but am aware that other meats can be called venison as well. We have from the processor : tenderloins, backstraps, cubed steak and ground venison. I am wanting to know if I should be getting different cuts. I was reading the recipes that called for venison steaks, venison stew meat and a venison roast, but I’m not sure what to use from what I have processed. Do I use cube steaks for the venison steak? Tenderloins or backstraps for the stew meat and roast? I’m sure these are crazy questions, but I do not want to ruin your recipe due to my ignorance. It might happen due to my cooking skills, but I wanting to give myself a fighting chance!
I am so glad to hear from you. I am so excited that you have my book and I think that you are going to love cooking wild game because it will taste better than what you buy at the grocery store. I am so glad that you asked this question because I do get this question sometimes and people have written and wanted to know how to tell the processors what they wanted.
You will love the turkey recipes in the book and we are testing more for a second book. I have also posted quite a few new recipes on my website and will continue to post blogs as much as I can with all the kids to care for. I know you know about that with 4 little ones – very little ones! I know life is non-stop for you. Protect that nap time if you can. I know you have a 6 year old, but try to get him to either take naps or have quiet time for at least an hour as long as he will. It will be your saving grace. You might not want my input on that, it just helped me to be a happy mom looking forward to that during the day and spending time with the Lord during that time.
As far as the venison cuts you can use the tenderloins and backstraps for any of my recipes, but I suggest that you not cut your tenderloin into stew meat but keep it in its whole form and cook it rare, then cut it on the bias and serve. It is so incredibly tender. The backstrap is the loin that is also very tender and can be used for anything. You will use it by cutting it into steaks and pounding them for theVenison Parmesan, Indonesian Appetizer, Venison with Peppers and Goat Cheese Sandwich, etc. You can also brown it and place it in the oven for a few minutes, let it rest and then cut it into steaks/slices. This is a great meat to cut into 1″ cubes for stews in the book. A good meat for stews would be the roast cut. It is the hind quarter of the deer. I know that you do not get this from your processor, but you can ask him to leave them whole as roasts for you next time. This will give you a lot more versatility in your cooking and you then can save your loin for more elegant meals.
The cubed steak can be used any time I call for pounding the meat. I would pound it one or two more times just to get it more tender. You could cut this into pieces for Enchiladas, Fajitas, or Stir Fry.
If it is o.k., could I change your name or keep it and post this question on my website for others who are wondering the same thing?
Thanks for your interest and I hope to one day meet you in person.