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Why Brines are Better than Marinades for Venison

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December 01, 2009

Why Brines are Better than Marinades for Venison

By Hank Shaw

A venison preparation tip from Hank Shaw, author of the award-winning food blog Hunter Angler Gardener Cook

Marinades damage the structure of the meat, making it more tender—but also mushy. They penetrate less than 1⁄4 inch and can leave residues on the meat surface that burn during cooking. They are, in my opinion, useless.

If you need to tenderize your venison, brine instead. A brine penetrates deep into meat—and carries flavor with it. The salt solution also prevents the meat fibers from toughening up as much and helps the meat retain moisture.

Start with a brine of 2 tablespoons of salt per quart of water and add flavorings from there. Suggestions? Bay leaves, juniper berries, cracked black pepper, chile pepper, thyme, celery seed. Last tip: Don’t brine for more than a day, or you risk having very salty meat.

Comments (5)

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from Walt Smith wrote 4 years 20 weeks ago

The problem with recipes from chefs is that they always try to CHANGE the taste of something and turn it into something else. Thats good for trype and liver but NOT VENISON., couscous I read the article in this months f&s about venison recipes and my first thought was " QUIT SCREWING WITH MY VENISON MAN!!!!" plums and rasins and pumpkin??? YUCK!!! I'm a man not a New Yorker!!! Venison is black pepper, onions and garlic-- plain and simple.

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from ejunk wrote 4 years 20 weeks ago

"The problem with recipes from chefs is that they always try to CHANGE the taste of something and turn it into something else."

that's completely inaccurate.

yrs-
Evan!

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from MLH wrote 4 years 19 weeks ago

That salt might be better and I will try it, but I will surely continue to use marinades that make a tough piece tender and tasty - I like them.

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from ray cummings wrote 4 years 19 weeks ago

Marinades and brines do change the flavor of venison. The more ingredients, the more change. Most people use a marinade or brine to get rid of what they call the "wild taste". What they are tasting is spoiled meat!! This is caused by improper handling of the deer after the kill. First mistake is hanging by the head. This allows the excess blood to accumulate in the hind quarters where all the good meat is. Go to any slaughter house or butcher shop and see how all animals are hung. They are all hung with the back legs up. Why is this important? Because the blood is the first thing to spoil! Hung properly, the blood is allowed to drain out. This means hanging as soon a spossible in a cooler or, weather permitting, at home. Second mistake is not allowing your deer to hang a few days. Every day it hangs it gets more tender. A deer hung 5 to 7 days is great eating!! Again, ask your butcher. This also eliminates the need to trim all of the fat off. Fat gives the venison it`s flavor but it spoils almost as fast as the blood. I use a marinade only when smoking my venison.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from MLH wrote 4 years 19 weeks ago

My butcher says that hanging venison is a waste of time. He's been around for a few decades and processes farm and game animals. And isn't aging meat basically tenderizing it through decomposition.

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Post a Comment

from ejunk wrote 4 years 20 weeks ago

"The problem with recipes from chefs is that they always try to CHANGE the taste of something and turn it into something else."

that's completely inaccurate.

yrs-
Evan!

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Walt Smith wrote 4 years 20 weeks ago

The problem with recipes from chefs is that they always try to CHANGE the taste of something and turn it into something else. Thats good for trype and liver but NOT VENISON., couscous I read the article in this months f&s about venison recipes and my first thought was " QUIT SCREWING WITH MY VENISON MAN!!!!" plums and rasins and pumpkin??? YUCK!!! I'm a man not a New Yorker!!! Venison is black pepper, onions and garlic-- plain and simple.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from MLH wrote 4 years 19 weeks ago

That salt might be better and I will try it, but I will surely continue to use marinades that make a tough piece tender and tasty - I like them.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from ray cummings wrote 4 years 19 weeks ago

Marinades and brines do change the flavor of venison. The more ingredients, the more change. Most people use a marinade or brine to get rid of what they call the "wild taste". What they are tasting is spoiled meat!! This is caused by improper handling of the deer after the kill. First mistake is hanging by the head. This allows the excess blood to accumulate in the hind quarters where all the good meat is. Go to any slaughter house or butcher shop and see how all animals are hung. They are all hung with the back legs up. Why is this important? Because the blood is the first thing to spoil! Hung properly, the blood is allowed to drain out. This means hanging as soon a spossible in a cooler or, weather permitting, at home. Second mistake is not allowing your deer to hang a few days. Every day it hangs it gets more tender. A deer hung 5 to 7 days is great eating!! Again, ask your butcher. This also eliminates the need to trim all of the fat off. Fat gives the venison it`s flavor but it spoils almost as fast as the blood. I use a marinade only when smoking my venison.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from MLH wrote 4 years 19 weeks ago

My butcher says that hanging venison is a waste of time. He's been around for a few decades and processes farm and game animals. And isn't aging meat basically tenderizing it through decomposition.

0 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment