Mostly, I like my venison cooked so rare that it’s scary to look at on the plate. I do like beanless deer chili and the occasional pot roast, but mostly, the simpler the recipe and the bloodier the meat, the better venison tastes. In fact, I have a lot to say about those who ruin perfectly good deer meat by grinding it into salami, deer sticks and breakfast sausage.
Time for me to come clean about my own guilty venison pleasure. Technically, what my son John and I make is jerky, but we call it “deer candy.”
We made our latest batch last week, with part of the deer John shot in the youth season. We took a bunch of odd pieces and scraps, trimmed the fat off (important to get the fat off), and cut the pieces into two and three inch strips that varied in thickness but probably averaged a quarter inch. We wound up with three pounds of deer pieces. We marinated them in:
Half a bottle of teriyaki sauce A quarter of a bottle of soy sauce At least two cups of brown sugar A couple of squeezes from a lemon slice A little orange juice A fair amount of grated ginger
We left the meat in the refrigerator overnight, then put it in a food dryer for 12-16 hours. It’s very sweet and gingery, very chewy, and not as dry as most jerky, because we cut it thicker and don’t leave it in the dryer forever. Three pounds of meat dries into a pound of deer candy, which doesn’t last long at all at our house. In fact, it’s already time to make more.