Canning Your Venison
The first deer I shot, way back in 1958, was taken to the local meat shop and processed into steaks, roasts and some burger. Back then in that little Idaho town, when you took a deer into the butcher, you got the same deer back. Unfortunately, times have changed. The last time I took an animal to a butcher, in the mid 60's, I don't have a clue who's meat I got back, but I sure don't think it was mine. I ended up throwing the burger as it stunk the house up every time we tried to fix some. I have never taken an animal to a butcher since. (except for my buffalo and I know I got my own buffalo meat back.)
In the late sixties and early seventies, I spent hours butchering my venison. I didn't leave a scrap of meat on the bone and I didn't leave an ounce of fat or gristle on the meat. It was way too time consuming.
Today, I have whittled the time down to a few short hours. I cut the backstrap out and package it in 8 inch lengths to be cut up into individual fillets just before slapping them into the frying pan. I cut a few rear-quarter chunks of meat into steaks and ALL THE REST goes into a bowl, cut into stew sized chunks. That's 80% of the meat. Here's my tip...... can the meat. Canned venison can't be beat.
I put all that cut up meat into big roasting pans and put them in the oven at 350 degrees until it turns brown. Don't overcook it. While it's in the oven, I prepare wide-mouth pint jars for canning. I pack as much of the roasted meat into a jar as I can, add one teaspoon of beef bullion and fill the jar with the water drained off the roasted meat. Put a new lid on the jar, put it into a pressure canner and process for 70 minutes at 10 pounds of pressure. When you are done, you have meat sitting on the shelf in your pantry that is ready at a moment's notice to turn into stew, soup, gravy, burritos or whatever you can imagine. It's fall-apart tender and delicious. I have yet to find someone that doesn't love it. Even those who normally don't like wild meat. And since it doesn't need to be refrigerated, I take it on all my hunts and have venison gravy on mashed potatoes. I like to think of it as "priming the pump".... eating venison while out trying to get more.