Find out how to turn friends and family onto venison, no matter how strong of a holdout they may be.
Picture this: you spend long days hunting in the wilderness, half to satisfy your own passion for the sport, and half to put food on the dinner table.
But when you go to serve up venison at your next family dinner, you get a cold reaction from everyone. They won’t eat your kill, and the meat either ends up going to waste or becoming leftover jerky for your snacks in the field. It’s enough to drive any hunter close to tears.
For whatever reason, a lot of people simply aren’t open to eating venison. Whether it’s because of the texture or the taste, the widespread cultural image of friendly, harmless deer or a fear over how safe the meat that you killed, butchered, and processed yourself can possibly be, many of our friends and loved ones will go to great lengths not to eat the meat from our field kills.
Luckily, most meat eaters will actually love the taste and texture of venison if it is prepared correctly. Like any meat, from beef to pork, the key to a well-received venison meal will often be in the preparation and presentation stages. It goes without saying that you have to cook the meat well enough to kill any bacteria, but not so well that it ends up with a tough texture and a harsh flavor. In other words, if you’re someone who tends to overcook meat due to a fear of bacteria, you are either going to have to fight your own instincts or get someone to help you with preparation.
One key to turning friends and family onto venison is to mix it with other foods, either openly or covertly. Chances are, if you have enough mix recipes, you can get away with serving your family venison for weeks without them being any wiser to the fact that they are eating deer.
However, this tactic is only reserved for extreme situations where you are dealing with a closed-minded meat eater who won’t go anywhere near your deer meat. Just be prepared to deal with the fallout when you come clean about what you’ve been feeding that person for weeks on end.
A better idea is to ask your family to bear with you as you experiment with your new mix recipes. While your wife or kids might not be too into a venison steak, they will probably eat the meat right up if you chop it up and put it in spaghetti sauce, or if you grind it up alongside ground beef for a new and brilliantly flavorful kind of hamburger.
As for the old venison standbys – soups, chilis, stews, pot roasts, etc. – they are still as delicious now as they have ever been, and are perfect for turning deer meat doubters into venison enthusiasts. Slow cooked crock-pot meals can render any type of meat juicy, flavorful, and tender – exactly the characteristics that most venison skeptics would not ascribe to deer meat – and since it is so easy to substitute beef with venison in stews, chilis, or pot roasts, you will have no trouble finding recipes.