When I’m butchering a deer, the tenderloins are the first piece of meat to come out, sometimes getting pulled in the field and cooked right there, or soon after. Once we’re back at the ranch, the loins, or backstraps, are next. After filleting them off the bone, I cut each strap in 5- to 6-inch-long steaks. These get cooked over indirect heat on the Weber with a little hickory or apple smoke added. Sliced thinly, they’re just about the best thing you ever ate.

While these two pieces of meat get all the glory, there are a lot of other great cuts on a deer that get overshadowed by the backstraps and tenderloin. In fact, some the best deer I’ve ever eaten were grilled venison ribs covered in a sweet-hot sticky sauce down in Texas. I know a lot of people that don’t even bother messing with the deer ribs other than stripping the meat off them to go into the grinder. Heck, I admit to doing that myself more often than leaving them on the bone.

I also admit there’s a lot of meat that goes into the grinder when I’m butchering just because I’m not sure what to do with it. Like all that thin belly meat. Or what I can get off the neck. But I’m always thinking there’s got to be a way to eat it other than as ground venison. So help me out here: What are you favorite alternative cuts–something other than backstraps or tenderloins–and how do you cook it?

–David Draper