Thursday, December 6, 2007

My First Taste of Venison

Today at work, I was given the gift of a rather large, nearly 2 inch thick venison steak. One of the guys I work with is a bow hunter and, this time of the year, can be counted on to have lots of deer meat on hand.

So, I took the meat home, slapped it on my new George Foreman Grill, and waited for some fat to come dripping out. It never came. This was the leanest piece of meat I've ever eaten. It even made Laura's Lean Beef look like something from McDonald's. I was amazed to find that not a speck of fat was produced during cooking.

As for the smell and taste, as it was cooking, it smelled a bit like the bison patties I'd had a couple of weeks ago. The taste was a little different and varied from a bison-like flavor to a more "gamey" taste, whatever that means. It came out a little more rare than I'm accustomed to with beef, but I had read that it is best to eat game meat a little on the rare side, as cooking it as long as beef renders it very tough and stringy. So, the meat was mostly very tender, although I did encounter some stubborn gristle in the middle that was impossible to swallow because I just couldn't chew it down to a manageable size. This beast was a buck, so I'm told, so it was a very muscular animal, not some overfed domesticated creature standing around waiting to be slaughtered.

There was enough meat to put some away for tomorrow's lunch and dinner, as well. Not bad for free. Had I bought this meat commercially, I'd have to have ordered via mail order and it would have probably cost me in the neighborhood of $30 to $50.

Now, the really good part: according to one seller of venison products, this meat typically has only 0.34 calories from fat and about 26 grams of protein per pound. Excellent! But, even as generous as my friend is, I expect this will be an occasional treat, at best.