One of the things I have always been told about deer hunting is that the quality of meat if always directly proportional to how well you clean away the fat. I can still hear the bellow of the senior hunters while processing of our game last year: “Who left so much fat on here? Don’t you know it will make the meat taste like garbage”.
As I am still a young hunter with much to learn I accepted this as gospel and moved on with other lessons. Truth be told, I have had bad venison experiences, and after trying “fat free” venison, I had no reason to doubt the previous advice. That is, until now.
Its no secret one of my inspirations in the field and in the kitchen, is the great american chef/hunter, Hank Shaw. Hank is the brains behind several books and the website, hunter- Angler – Gardener – Cook. A website dedicated to providing no nonsense guidance to harvesting wild food and to promoting the wild pursuits in general. I eagerly read anything Hank writes and often employ his recipes following my own forrrays in the field.
So when a notification popped up on my Facebook feed titled “Demystifying Deer Fat” from Hank’s site I instantly delved into the article.
The article covers many of the misconceptions surrounding deer fat and gives detailed reasons for the various negative tastes people often report. He also provided many alternatives for using deer fat and suggests that not all deer fat tastes horrible. To date this is one of the best articles I have read on the matter. So good in fact, it has me considering keeping a bit of deer fat around this season to test the theories presented in the article.
If your a hunter and you process your own meat, give it a read.
Hunting season approaches, so good luck to all who are taking part this year.
Cheers from my desk,
1. I was going to recommend Hank to you, but looks like you’ve found him already. 2. I pulled the ribs from the deer we got last year and left the fat on, by his recommendation. It really wasn’t the taste of the fat so much as the mouthfeel, which he brings up in that post. It really does coat your mouth, and not in a very pleasant way. And by all rights, our deer should have some tasty fat, gorging on corn like they do. If I keep fat going forward, It’s going to be in small amounts, unless I decide to get into tallow candlemaking.
Thanks for sharing your experience on this topic. I am interested in trying to work with deer fat but I think you may have a point on the small quantities thing.
Its great to see that Hank’s influence is so far reaching. He seems like a very knowledgeable guy and I am glad he takes the time to make his knowledge public.