For those wanting a fresh, local meat alternative to beef, consider venison.
It’s lean and local. And although it once was an indigenous staple, venison is still new enough on many modern American tables to stoke a lively culinary conversation.
Fresh from the wild, it’s a healthful, flavorful, alternative red meat.
Vegetarians, or anyone who can’t hear “deer” without picturing Bambi’s slain mother, can just scroll further down on Stir It Up! to the chocolate fondue.
If you’re a fairly adventurous eater who can live without a USDA stamp and the cookie-cutter perfection of the meat-aisle offerings – and if you hunt, or know a hunter (venison is not widely available in stores) – then this meat could be one of your favorite occasional protein sources.
It’s become one of mine. Christmas at my German in-laws’ house in New York’s Hudson Valley – America’s Rhineland – means goose, red cabbage, and klösse (potato dumplings). But my in-laws are close friends with an avid hunter, so the door prize for our visits during a certain season is often venison.
This year, we get a lot of it. Double-bagged, it nearly fills a 54-quart cooler.
It is also barely butchered.
Hung to cure, skinned, and quartered, this buck has been passed along to us as a most of hind quarter and a foreleg. There are still some stray, coarse hairs. (Again, to skip to chocolate fondue, click here.)
When we get the meat home, my best knives come out. I did some small-game hunting (ruffed grouse, rabbit) as a kid. I watched my father field dress a white-tail.