A recipe is basically a list of ingredients that when combined will produce a specific dish. How those ingredients are combined and the method of preparation determines how the dish is going to turn out. Because its been a couple of weeks since I started this series of posts, I'll restate the high points on fixing game meat:
Res's Rules for Cooking Venison.
- Get all the blood out
- Meat must be room temp before cooking
- Marinating is helpful, although not necessary
- You don't have to over cook it
Lets look at beef steak for an example. If you order a nice rib eye steak, that is fully marbled with delicious beef fat, and it is cooked well done, it will still contain moisture and be more flavored than say a sirloin cooked the same way. The rib eye will maintain a degree of tenderness that exceeds that of the sirloin. Part of that has to do with the cut of meat. Rib meat doesn't work as hard as sirloin when the animal is on the hoof. Part of it has to do with the fat being present during the cooking.
Venison as I've said has very little fat. Therefore to keep it tender we need to make sure the muscle fibers are as relaxed as possible prior to cooking it. If the meat is room temperature then there won't be as much tightening or constriction of the muscle fiber due to cold. It's pretty simple but its a step that is over looked by many.
Another technique that can be used is tenderizing. Tenderizing is pounding the meat with a small mallet to help separate the muscle fibers prior to cooking. Depending on the type of dish being prepared it can be a good method to use, but it isn't always practical.
Marinating is your friend. You don't have to do it of course, but when done correctly it adds nice flavor, and a bit of juicy goodness to your meat. There are lots of marinating recipes you can use. The key is in how long the meat is marinated and if it is completely covered in the liquid.
A basic recipe I use for marinating venison steaks that I plan on grilling is:
Baggs apple cider vinegar
That's it, just four ingredients. How much I make depends on how much meat I have to grill. If you use about a cup of olive oil you only need enough tamari to blacken the oil, about 1 table spoon, or more to taste. Use slightly less vinegar than tamari and as much garlic as you like. Stir it up in a bowl and let your steaks set in it, in the fridge, over night. I let the steaks stay in the marinade until they are ready to go on the grill. This means that I set the meat and marinade on the counter to slowly warm up to room temperature before cooking. Then the steaks are put on the read hot grill still dripping in their marinade sauce.
That's it for this post. Next in the series, Hirsch Sauerbraten.