When my dad was teaching me to hunt deer, he’d run through a checklist before we left the house. License? Got it. Cartridges? Yep. Deer drag? Uh-huh. Empty plastic bread bag? Of course. How else was I to carry home that once-a-year treat: fresh venison liver?
I still pack a bag for liver, but I seem to be the exception judging from the strange looks I get from my hunting companions as I reach into the entrails of their field-dressed deer to pluck that glorious purple slab out of the pile.
Liver, once an American staple, now has an image problem. Maybe it’s because a generation only knows the dish from Mom’s frying a nasty old cow’s liver until it had the texture of a hunting boot. Which is too bad, since venison liver, served slightly pink inside, is packed with flavor and a traditional way to celebrate a successful hunt. I’ve eaten it as a family meal at home, as a snack at camp, and grilled over a fire on a mountainside as the buck it belonged to lay next to me, cooling in the snow.
Our increasingly timid tastes have hurt liver’s popularity. Hunters should be more adventurous. If you’re the type who loves grilled chicken breast, there’s not much I can tell you other than, if you’re not going to take the liver, do you mind if I do?