UKC

Venison

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Just happened to catch a segment on Countryfile which caught my eye.

As part of a change in lifestyle we have decided to cut down on alcohol but also cut down on meat.

This section talked about deer (fallow in this case) and how numbers are not only damaging general biodiversity but in some areas also damaging their own health due to overpopulation. Is this widespread? 

Id be keen to eat more venison if I knew it was perfectly wild and had been humanely despatched. 

I don't know anyone locally where I could enquire about this. Does anyone know if there is an 'association of stalkers' or somesuch which would be able to put me in touch with local folks who want to sell some of the meat?

It is particularly expensive compared to decent organic supermarket meat?

 J101 09 Jan 2022
In reply to TheDrunkenBakers:

It's fairly expensive (someone else can make the "it's dead deer" joke), but I doubt it'll be more than organic supermarket meat.

Might be worth looking for a decent local butcher as first port of call.

We don't eat much venison in this country so a lot did go to the continent, how that's going now is maybe for another thread.

Post edited at 18:26
 Jon Stewart 09 Jan 2022
In reply to TheDrunkenBakers:

Can't answer your question about the super-ethical stuff, but I'm forever eating venison from Booths, on offer, reduced for sale etc. Proper cheap, and good. I can't get enough. I love beef, and venison is beef plus. 

Only thing is, since it's lean, it's markedly better with bacon, and then the ethics kinda go down the drain...

Post edited at 18:33
1
 wintertree 09 Jan 2022
In reply to Jon Stewart:

Score venison fillet deeply both sides, marinade in port and soy 3 hours, wrap bacon round centre section of steak, grill till bacon crispy.  Mix of well done venison outside bacon and rare inside.  Bonus: bacon.

Post edited at 18:40
 Tom Valentine 09 Jan 2022
In reply to Jon Stewart:

Even the lowly Morrisons sell it now and again. in various forms. I'm lucky enough to have a deer farm and shop close by but I'm not too big a fan: casserole meat, sausage, burgers are OK but for me a venison joint is a bit too liverish. Ironic, really, since venison liver itself is beautiful and second only to real calves' liver.

In reply to TheDrunkenBakers:

Round green farm are very good and quick delivery.

https://www.eatgreatmeat.co.uk/product-category/round-green-farm-venison/

 Forest Dump 09 Jan 2022
In reply to Jon Stewart:

I suspect the supermarket stuff is farmed in one respect or another as its available year round, where as if you get it from a game orientated butcher its very much seasonal

Here in SW Wales a bit finds its way out of Margam Park estate, and some more from the local National Trust place, Dinefwr.

I'd try places like that as a starter if you want it wild as possible, free range, kinda doing the eco system a favour by managing numbers vibe

But yeah, its often reduced in supermarkets, same as a lot of the higher end, highet welfare, higher price animal proteins. Stock up the freezer!

Post edited at 19:09
 girlymonkey 09 Jan 2022
In reply to TheDrunkenBakers:

It probably depends on where you live. We have several good local farm shops who sell local, hill shot venison. We also currently have quite a few bits that we got from a client of my husband's, which he shot himself. We get pheasants from him every so often too  

Anyway, I digress, try contacting local farm shops or farmers markets.

 Philip 09 Jan 2022
In reply to TheDrunkenBakers:

I'd recommend wildmeat.co.uk for game.

And if you're buying organic meat you can do a lot better than supermarkets, Graig Farm (online)

 Dave the Rave 09 Jan 2022
In reply to TheDrunkenBakers:

Watching with interest.

A few years ago we went to Knoydart and whilst sat in the local outdoor pub, some stalkers pulled up with a dead stag in the trailer. Upset the vegis and me a little.

Last year I went into the Knoydart shop and saw the venison for sale and hatched a plan.

Buy some, take it back on the boat and freeze it in the holiday home and transport it back to wales in a freezer box.

I was then going to make a venison casserole on a night when the Mrs was in work and the temp below 5 degrees, wood burner lit and an outdoorsy programme on. I’d got a good recipe. 

Got it to the freezer in the holiday house no probs. Woke up next day and the kids had left the freezer door open. Gutted. Made a very nice venison curry. The collie was my best friend.

On the way home I came up with plan B. Stop at Tebay and buy some there, which I did. It probably wasn’t deer that had been wandering the hills in Knoydart but beggars can’t be choosers. Venison in the freezer mid September awaiting some weather.

December brought that, windy and cold and the Mrs sleeping at work. Made the casserole, looked stunning in the casserole dish, lit the fire and found a suitable programme. Granary bread and butter to dip in it.

Next thing, the phone goes. Fag ash Lill is having a mare at work and has forgotten her tobacco. Having had a few Old Pecs as a warm up I had to cycle her baccy down in the gale. Moment lost really. 

 Jon Stewart 09 Jan 2022
In reply to wintertree:

> Score venison fillet deeply both sides, marinade in port and soy 3 hours, wrap bacon round centre section of steak, grill till bacon crispy.  Mix of well done venison outside bacon and rare inside.  Bonus: bacon.

Yeah!

Two of the most lovely dishes I've ever had involved eating fancy bits of venison without cooking them first. For some reason, I feel a bit naughty indulging in raw meat, but I've got to be honest, I f*cking love it!

Post edited at 21:21
1
 Jamie Wakeham 09 Jan 2022
In reply to TheDrunkenBakers:

We love venison, and wild culled venison is probably the most ethical red meat you can get.

Christmas Day was a rolled saddle, roasted as rare as possible, and I still have a couple of portions of Bambi Bolognese in the freezer from the leftovers.

 Trangia 09 Jan 2022
In reply to TheDrunkenBakers:

Sainsbury's sell it, I don't know if it's farmed or shot wild. It's delicious, particularly in a casserole cooked for 8 hours in the slow cooker. Very tender, melts in your mouth.

 nathan79 09 Jan 2022
In reply to TheDrunkenBakers:

It's ridiculous that given the massive number of deer that it isn't cheaper and more widely eaten.

I generally eat it on a weekly basis, mix of locally farmed and wild shot. Ragu, curries, burgers, meatballs, chillies, steaks. This week we had some lovely haunch steaks with roast veg.

I used to buy from supermarkets on occasion. It was always worth examining the packaging though, disappointingly some of it was New Zealand venison. This included a Scottish company proudly claiming Scottish venison. I was so disappointed with this that I actually contacted them to query this. "We try and ensure all our meat is Scottish but sometimes have to use NZ venison when we can't source enough locally" was the response. Absolutely ridiculous in a country where deer are so ubiquitous.

 Timmd 10 Jan 2022
In reply to Jon Stewart:

> Can't answer your question about the super-ethical stuff, but I'm forever eating venison from Booths, on offer, reduced for sale etc. Proper cheap, and good. I can't get enough. I love beef, and venison is beef plus. 

> Only thing is, since it's lean, it's markedly better with bacon, and then the ethics kinda go down the drain...

Clarified butter/ghee can be added to venison, too.

 Tom Valentine 10 Jan 2022
In reply to nathan79:

Its taste will prevent it being more widely eaten.. Most people won'y enjoy the gamey / livery taste of a venison joint. Casserole meat is more accessible/disguiseable , as are burgers and sausages(probably in hybrid form)

1
 loose overhang 10 Jan 2022
In reply to Tom Valentine:

I live in BC and hunt and track during open-season.  I shot a big antler-less deer last autumn and I have been eating it since then.  The rifle I used was a bolt-action Finnish Tikka 3, Creedmoor, 6.5mm caliber.  Shot the deer from about 60 yards, straight through it's upper heart - almost instant death.  I mostly eat veggies I grow and swap venison for wild salmon with my fishing friend.  I like the taste of venison meat.  It's a bit gamey, and very tough, but made into ground meats it's superb.  I can't be more enthusiastic about eating garden grown veggies though.  Tomatoes, potatoes, garlic, beans, peas, spinach, greens, and many others, especially the herbs for flavour.

Cheers, Andrew

 girlymonkey 10 Jan 2022
In reply to Tom Valentine:

Not in our house! Send it our way any time you like 😊

We have a smoker on our BBQ, smoked venison haunch is amazing!

 Phil1919 10 Jan 2022
In reply to TheDrunkenBakers:

I found it a bit jaw dropping how much blame they put on the deer for damaging the ecosystem whilst standing in a monstrous field where agriculture seemed to be the real problem plus the lack of predators which we've taken away. 

3
 mik82 10 Jan 2022
In reply to Forest Dump:

You'd have to check the label but as you suspected a lot of supermarket venison is farmed, in New Zealand. 

Post edited at 07:40
 nikoid 10 Jan 2022
In reply to Phil1919:

Quite. Culling humans is never mentioned is it?

2
 Phil1919 10 Jan 2022
In reply to nikoid:

The day nature looses the ability to bounce back as the deer still do is when we need to worry. If we carry on farming as we are we won't need to cull to reduce our numbers, it will just happen.

4
 cb294 10 Jan 2022
In reply to Phil1919:

That, but deer densities are still too high in many areas (due to lack of predators, winter feeding, less harsh winters due to climated feeding and a bunch of other reasons). It should not be necessary to fence of plots of woodland to allow natural forest rejuvenation. Just compare fenced off plots to adjacent open areas, the degree of damage to young trees below, say 150cm is staggering.

Here on the continent, wild boar are even more of a problem. The recent warm winters have immediately selected for sows having litters twice the size as even ten years ago (as the ground not freezing solid for long periods anymore allows them to get more offspring through the first winter, which was previously limiting).

The boar plague is obviously exacerbated by intensive maize farming next to woodland. These fields are just boar incubators.

Anyway, given the current circumstances eating venison is active forest protection!

Also, there is no need to wrap even lean venison in bacon as long as the cut is big enough. No point in preparing cuts below 1 kg(ish...).

CB

 mondite 10 Jan 2022
In reply to nikoid:

> Quite. Culling humans is never mentioned is it?

Depends if you want to go on a watchlist.

 Phil1919 10 Jan 2022
In reply to cb294:

I'm right up for eating deer. I already do. Makes real sense. My observation was that they were blaming the deer for damaging the ecosystem. We need to manage the deer but also farm better basically.

 wintertree 10 Jan 2022
In reply to cb294:

> Anyway, given the current circumstances eating venison is active forest protection!

It's mad the damage they cause to trees in a bad winter around here; 2010/2011 when everything was frozen they ate the bark of so many younger trees.

In reply to TheDrunkenBakers:

Quite a lot get shot on farms around here; one local farm shop sells it directly and it also ends up in a couple of local butchers.  There's also some landed gentry over at Raby Castle who keep a deer herd on the ma-hoo-sive estate, and that's sold in their on-site shop and makes it way to various other places.  I prefer to get the shot-wild stuff.

My favourite shot-wild meat is pigeon breast.  Makes a perfect starter for venison fillet.  Cut in to sugar cube sized parts, that some butter and garlic in a  thin-based pan until it's spitting, put the cubes in and move around and turn over constantly for 90 s - absolutely no longer - and remove from the heat.  Thoroughly mix in a good dollop of red berry jam to the liquids in the pan, and serve immediately on pre-heated plates.  Salad optional.

Post edited at 09:09
 ranger*goy 10 Jan 2022
In reply to TheDrunkenBakers:

My local butcher sometimes has it but it’s not very often.

 Jon Stewart 10 Jan 2022
In reply to Timmd:

> Clarified butter/ghee can be added to venison, too.

Along with the bacon? Cover all bases! 

 mondite 10 Jan 2022
In reply to girlymonkey:

> It probably depends on where you live. We have several good local farm shops who sell local, hill shot venison.

I would be cautious about considering that is a good source depending exactly where you live. Some estates deliberately do their best to keep numbers artifically high in order to make it easy for paying customers to get a shot.

 d_b 10 Jan 2022
In reply to J101:

Expensive depends on where you are.  I remember taking the Corran ferry a few years ago and passed a sign by the road advertising venison.  It was a guy was selling bags of it from his freezer.  About a fiver for half a kilo iirc.

Similarly, pheasants are dirt cheap in season at butchers in the right areas .  That's more to do with the wasteful practices of the shooting industry than anything else though.

 PaulJepson 10 Jan 2022
In reply to TheDrunkenBakers:

This may well be an urban legend but aren't all deer (even farmed) dispatched humanely from a distance? Something about the stress of a bovine-style slaughter making the meat go bad?

 Tom Valentine 10 Jan 2022
In reply to PaulJepson:

Some deer farms definitely slaughter their beasts in the field but I don't know from what distance. The above mentioned Round Green Farm is right next to the M1 so shooting at stock from any distance is going to raise all sorts of safety issues.

 Trangia 10 Jan 2022
In reply to PaulJepson:

> This may well be an urban legend but aren't all deer (even farmed) dispatched humanely from a distance? Something about the stress of a bovine-style slaughter making the meat go bad?

I heard something similar about eating road kill, apparently, unless death is instant, the deer becomes stressed as it dies releasing adrenalin into the blood stream which makes the meat taste bitter?

 wercat 10 Jan 2022
In reply to Dave the Rave:

At Tebay you are close to the habitat of what are thought to be the purest blooded Red Deer in England in the Far Eastern Fells, though you probably didn't get that.  The Kaiser had a bungalow built for him by the Earl of Lonsdale for the shooting in that area on the occasion of his visit before WW1

Post edited at 14:09
 Tom Valentine 10 Jan 2022
In reply to Trangia:

I saw the same comment about culling them in NZ: chasing them for miles in a helicopter does  real damage to the quality of the meat.

In reply to cb294:

> The boar plague is obviously exacerbated by intensive maize farming next to woodland. These fields are just boar incubators.

My BiL (Bavarian forester) tells me the problem is that the boar live in the forests and hunker down during the day, but go out in the fields at night to eat the crops.  Causes huge problems because the field farmers can't do anything about them.

 cb294 10 Jan 2022
In reply to Toerag:

That is a problem e.g. for potato farmers. Maize, more the other way round, at least once the plants reach a certain height. Nice, hunter proof cover all day right in the middle of an all you can eat buffet....

CB

 LastBoyScout 10 Jan 2022
In reply to TheDrunkenBakers:

I like venison, but I'm the only one in the house that does, so don't often get it.

Had some really good venison sausages and paté from Tebay services ones - in the Friday night bargain fridge, so even better.

Once had a very nice venison cooked with strawberries at the Plough Inn, near Hathersage. I've also had venison curry at a curry house in Northampton, but didn't like that - I don't think the flavours worked (at least, not on that version).

In reply to wercat:

About 40 years ago I stumbled across a herd in the Far Eastern fells. The stags stood their ground and appeared almost aggressive - not budging at all.  

 d_b 10 Jan 2022
In reply to LastBoyScout:

I had a venison curry in Ballater that was pretty good, so don't give up on the idea yet.

 GrahamD 10 Jan 2022
In reply to TheDrunkenBakers:

Unfortunately "totally wild" and "dispatched humanely" and making it through a post BSE food distribution system doesn't seem likely.

In reply to TheDrunkenBakers:

If you can find somewhere they have too many of them and are just keen to get rid you can buy it for about a £1 a kilo at the moment. But that will be whole and you'll have to skin it and butcher it yourself. If you've got space in the freezer that's the cheap way to do it. 

I don't think there's too many of them up your way yet but muntjac are an invasive mini deer that can be shot all year round and are very tasty. 

No idea what the general deer situation is like in Notts but in a lot of places in the UK the deer are numerous and a serious barrier to natural woodland regeneration. If we want to see natural regeneration in our native woodlands then in a lot of places we need be controlling deer and squirrel numbers. 

Some of the Wildlife Trust sites have real problems with over grazing by deer, hampering the wild flowers. But because of PR will ask a neighbouring farmer or woodland owner to shot deer on their land instead. 

In reply to ChristianTyroll:

Sorry it may have been said above but there is a Facebook group called Giving Up The Game that may be of interest 

 Dave the Rave 10 Jan 2022
In reply to wercat:

> At Tebay you are close to the habitat of what are thought to be the purest blooded Red Deer in England in the Far Eastern Fells, though you probably didn't get that.  The Kaiser had a bungalow built for him by the Earl of Lonsdale for the shooting in that area on the occasion of his visit before WW1

That’s very interesting wercat, I’ve seen those deer on many occasions and recently.

I doubt my Tebay meat was stalked, but was trying to pacify myself at the defrosted loss of my Knoydart shot meat. Possibly wastes as venison madras?

In reply to idiotproof (Buxton MC) and the thread:

> Sorry it may have been said above but there is a Facebook group called Giving Up The Game that may be of interest.

Good shout IP. I spoke to the training manager of the Deer Association today and he pointed me in this direction as he didnt know anyone personally in my area. I joined so I'll feed back any decent info.

In reply to idiotproof (Buxton MC):

Thank you! 

 JLS 10 Jan 2022
In reply to TheDrunkenBakers:

Wild venison? Is that like virus ridden bush meat? Pangolin burger, anyone?

4
 Jon Stewart 10 Jan 2022
In reply to Dave the Rave:

> I doubt my Tebay meat was stalked

On what planet do folk turn their noses up at Tebay venison? Especially the stuff out of the bargain bin!

That's what I live for.

I did once get some from a friend who works in the Forestry Commission and another mate did the amateur butchery in his flat. The sight would have been difficult to explain to the cops, but the meat was really good.

I'm not going through that trauma when I can call in at Tebay on my way home from work.

 Billhook 11 Jan 2022
In reply to TheDrunkenBakers:

When I was growing up in North Yorkshire in the 60's & 70's I never saw any deer.  I saw my frst local one in the 1990s.  Now they are every where and can easily be seen most days during the day.  They are a commonly seen as road kill on the main road through the forestry plantations.

And where once you could plant hedges with no problems, we now get deer browsing the new growth once it reaches the top of the tree guard.

 Dave the Rave 11 Jan 2022
In reply to Jon Stewart:

> On what planet do folk turn their noses up at Tebay venison? Especially the stuff out of the bargain bin!

> That's what I live for.

> I did once get some from a friend who works in the Forestry Commission and another mate did the amateur butchery in his flat. The sight would have been difficult to explain to the cops, but the meat was really good.

> I'm not going through that trauma when I can call in at Tebay on my way home from work.

No, I’m with you. I always look for there marked down stuff.

re. The venison. In these times and perhaps previously, one strives for some perfection to make you happy. Mine was the thought of a casserole made from a deer that had been eating the berries and grass from a hill in Knoydart prior to its dispatch.

I doubt the Tebay was a poor second choice, just it hadn’t  seen Knoydart .

 Jon Stewart 11 Jan 2022
In reply to Dave the Rave:

> No, I’m with you. I always look for there marked down stuff.

> re. The venison. In these times and perhaps previously, one strives for some perfection to make you happy. Mine was the thought of a casserole made from a deer that had been eating the berries and grass from a hill in Knoydart prior to its dispatch.

> I doubt the Tebay was a poor second choice, just it hadn’t  seen Knoydart .

Haha fair. I was just shocked, because as a proud member of the lower middle class, Tebay Services is to me the very height of poshness and sophistication

 Mike-W-99 11 Jan 2022
In reply to Dave the Rave:

> re. The venison. In these times and perhaps previously, one strives for some perfection to make you happy. Mine was the thought of a casserole made from a deer that had been eating the berries and grass from a hill in Knoydart prior to its dispatch.

Hate to ruin things for you. The ones I saw near Inverie last year were happier tucking into whatever was put out for the cattle.

In reply to TheDrunkenBakers:

I got half a roe deer last during the last lockdown via a firend, well it was 3 but 6 of us shared it. Very good meat, each deer cost £65 I think and we got something like 20 servings so about £1.60 a serving.

There was a massive surplus of deer last year due to restaurants being closed. The deer came from N Yorks.

 Dave the Rave 11 Jan 2022
In reply to Mike-W-99:

> Hate to ruin things for you. The ones I saw near Inverie last year were happier tucking into whatever was put out for the cattle.

You sure they weren’t Highland Cattle? Big horns and a tufted fringe?

 d_b 12 Jan 2022
In reply to Dave the Rave:

I saw some beasts that looked very much like highland cattle in Slovenia a few years ago.  Never did find out if they were transplants, or if they just have a very similar breed.


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