Five Venison Recipes For When Santa Pisses You Off

I wanted a Voltron. A real Voltron with the die-cast pieces of the five individual colored Lions that made up Voltron. You could snap them together and then go around defending the galaxy. I wrote to Santa Claus and asked for it; I even forbore from torturing my little sister for two whole weeks.

Then I opened the gift under the tree and found–pants. Ugly pants. Pants that would have made a clown shudder. Pants that were three sizes too big, thus ensuring they'd stick around until they were even more hopelessly dorky.

Santa Claus, that bastard, had pulled the classic bait and switch. How to get even, then? It's impossible to get past the elfin security detail (motto: “Small But Mighty, Ho Ho Ho”), and besides it wouldn't be nearly cathartic enough. That meant one thing: the reindeer had to die.

Can you sympathize? Well, if this has ever happened to you, grab your .308, your Buck knife and your tags; when you come back, read on for five savory, succulent ways to extract your revenge. Season's greetings, you fat bearded backstabber; hope your sleigh lists to one side now.

1. Burgers

Take a page out of the menu at Slater's 50/50 and grind patties that are half Blitzen, half bacon. Grill them slowly, over low heat, and you'll have to have them be well-done due to the pork inside. Dress them gently; maybe a little spicy mustard, some lettuce and tomato, maybe some grilled onion.

2. Grilled Backstrap

Despite its name, the backstrap on Rudolph is equivalent to the loin on a steer; it's the most tender and best-tasting part of a reindeer, so the key is to cook it simply, like filet mignon; don't marinate it, don't baste it, don't tie it with bacon. Just grill it like you would steak, leaving it medium in the center, and make sure there's plenty of coarse salt on it. It may not have enough fat; if not, wrap it in bacon.

3. Deer Lollipops

The ribs of a deer are attached to some extremely flavorful meat, just like lamb chops; in fact, with some careful butchery (and assuming you didn't shatter any ribs with the lung shot that's the most humane way to bring down a deer) you can French a rack of Dasher. Once that's done, cut the Frenched ribs into “lollipops”. Whether you glaze with maple is up to you.

4. Deer Jerky

Jerky stays fresh for a remarkably long time; you could conceivably even keep some of it to nourish you as you prepare for next year's attack on SantaCo (assuming, of course, that you don't get the iPhone you asked for for Christmas this year). Just marinate thin strips of meat–any of the roasts will work fine–in some soy and Worcestershire sauce, a little honey, and ground spices (rosemary, garlic powder, pepper). Then roast it in your oven on its lowest temperature for at least four hours, until it turns into, well, jerky.

5. Chili

The aftereffects of butchering Donner are a pile of small trimmings of perfectly usable meat that's not big enough to roast or grill; you could grind it up into sausage or burgers (see #1), or you could make up a nice red chile sauce with some dried, relatively mild chiles (Californias, for example, or pasillas), then simmer the bits of meat in it.

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