You can't beat a venison Guard of Honour for beauty of presentation. It's an easy and visually stunning dish you can make this holiday.
A Guard of Honour is one of my favorite meat dishes to make. It looks incredible but is also incredibly simple to prepare.
I don't make it very often, because it looks like a dish that should be served for special occasions.
The Guard of Honour is simply two French-trimmed racks set face to face with the bones interlocked and crossed over one another. They mimic two lines of soldiers creating an arch with raised swords.
Usually prepared with lamb, butcher Scott Rea uses a very small species of deer called a muntjac here, not much bigger than a lamb or goat. But the Guard of Honour looks even more impressive using the much larger whitetail deer.
Rea's channel has a huge following, including myself in his fan base. If you're interested in butchering your own meat, including plenty of wild game, you'll enjoy Rea's videos. He's knowledgeable, enthusiastic, and a good teacher.
Allow me to share a couple of my own observations with making a whitetail deer venison Guard of Honour.
Since whitetail racks are significantly larger than Rea's little deer, you may have to remove oven racks to a single rack, depending on the size of your oven. Also, it is very important to properly cover the cleaned rib bones with heavy aluminum foil to avoid burning them.
You can enhance or vary the flavor of the dish by marinating the venison racks prior to baking. Garlic and mint make nice marinade ingredients for this dish.
A commercial stuffing like Rea used is certainly a fine choice, but I usually make my own stuffing. I like a rustic, acorn bread based stuffing. Acorns and venison are a natural match for one another.
I also usually begin with an oven temperature at around 400° to 425° for the first 15 minutes or so. Then lower the temperature to 350° and continue cooking for 10-15 minutes per pound. I pull mine from the oven when a meat thermometer reads an internal 130°.
Keep an eye on the meat during cooking and if the outside begins to get too dry, periodically spoon the edges with marinade juices from the pan. Don't be afraid to tent with foil during the cooking cycle as well if need be.