Diane Devereaux, The Canning Diva®, dives into canning wild game in this informative episode of Canning with The Diva!™. She shares a variety of reasons why consuming venison is far better than beef, how to properly prepare your venison for cooking and canning, shares some math and techniques to help you plan your canning yield and gives listeners a delicious recipe to preserve in a jar, Venison Steak Diane.
All you hunters who have recently bagged a deer or are still out in the woods patiently waiting for a big buck to walk by, I have an episode for you! Still in your tree stand and not in the kitchen? No worries, this episode is also gear towards those of us who may not do the hunting, but certainly do the cooking and canning.
Have a deer at the processor and a freezer to full? The recipe I will share today will help you use up your frozen venison so you may make room for more.
Recipe we are covering today is Venison Steak Diane. But don’t worry, next week I will share a recipe on how to can Venison Stroganoff so be sure to follow my podcasts and request alerts when a new episode is ready!
Why Eat & Can Venison
Okay let’s talk about why you’d should eat (and can) venison in the first place!
1. When compared to beef, it is $.95 per pound versus $4.23 per pound so the 78% cost savings alone is a very popular reason. Plus a deer will yield 80 pounds of meat!
2. The main reason – it is delicious! I know some of you are scrunching up your nose right now listening to me say that but it is true. IF you tried it once and didn’t like it, I highly encourage you to give it another shot! I likely wasn’t prepared correctly and you are truly missing out.
3. It is very healthy for you! Deer is naturally free range and organic. Venison is a lean meat that is higher in protein and lower in saturated fats when compared to beef. It has a much lower fat content than beef and venison is much lower in cholesterol than turkey and chicken. The more you eat the better your body will be able to regulate its blood cholesterol levels. Venison is also loaded with iron which gives you energy and prevents anemia. Best part – venison is loaded with B vitamins which has been proven to reduce the risk of strokes, heat attacks and heart disease AND regulate your metabolism.
4. Controls the Deer Population. Hunting is an economical and practical way to control the overpopulation which keeps us safer while driving and prevents deer from destroying their natural habitat adversely impacting other species.
a. Good Game Hunting lists 27 reasons to harvest and eat wild venison. Check out their list by going to goodgamhunting.com
What Does Venison Taste Like?
Now for the part individuals usually either love or hate– its flavor. Speaking to venison specifically, most first-time consumers are turned away due to its “gamey” or musky flavor. Much like any other meat, venison’s flavor is determined by what the animal eats. As “wild” implies, you don’t really have much say here unless you plan on raising it in your back yard. And to that, I’d say “good luck” to you! An animal that consumed mostly corn will lead to a milder flavor, while those that ate acorns will have that characteristic gaminess. Mule deer feed on sage plants, so I bet you can guess what their meat tastes like…an overabundance of sage leaves. It’s up to you which you prefer, but remember that either way you choose, proper preparation will help you reach your perfect outcome.
To properly prepare your venison for eating or canning, many soak their venison for an hour before using it in a meal. There are two ways you may do so:
1. Create a brine using 1 tablespoon of canning salt for every 1 quart of water. Mix well to dilute salt and soak your venison for 1 hour, rinsing well before using.
2. Soak your venison in cow’s milk for one hour then rinse before using.
Both have been known to work well
So, what is delicious recipe without all that gamey flavor? For me, it’s home canned Venison Steak Diane – and no, I am not bias because the recipe name boasts my first name. The truth is, the brandy sweetens the venison while the pressure canner tenderizes the meat. Let’s talk about canning venison and later dive into this delicious Venison Steak Diane recipe.
Canning Venison Tips and a Recipe
1. Because venison is leaner, adding olive oil, lard or bacon grease when canning venison is a delicious tip to avoid drying out your meat
2. When creating recipes, you may brown the meat first to create a more robust flavor in a jar or simply toss the raw meat in your chosen fat prior to cooking it with other ingredients
3. Some of you may simply want to preserve venison in jars without anything fancy – and you may do so with or without adding a liquid. I recommend using a fat in addition to a beef broth or gravy made with ClearJel®, but it is your choice.
Math: when processing your deer, here are some tips to help you plan your yield in pints or quarts
1. Approximately 14 pounds of meat will yield 14 pint jars or 7 quarts. You will use approximately 1 pound of meat in every pint and 2 pounds of meat in every quart.
2. It is best advised to hot pack venison in a broth or gravy but it can also be raw packed with or without water. When canning ground venison, cook it first just as you would ground beef. You may also add 1 tablespoon of lard or bacon grease to every pound of ground venison to increase its fat content to avoid it toughening up during processing.
3. Venison processes at the same time and temperature as Beef which is always 10 psi for weighted gauge and 11 psi for dial gauge; 75 minutes for pints and 90 minutes for quarts. Of course, be sure to adjust your PSI according to your elevation.
Recipe: Venison Steak Diane page 150 of The Complete Guide to Pressure Canning
This recipe will melt in your mouth, using venison tenderloin or back-strap medallions. While the onions, Dijon mustard and Worcestershire sauce give this wild game version a kick, the brandy compliments the venison superbly. This recipe is also an opportunity tenderize tougher cuts of venison like neck meat.
Makes approximately 4 quarts or 8 pints
With prep, cooking and processing time, you are looking at setting aside just over 2 hours and 40 minutes to complete this recipe
In a skillet, starting with 1 tablespoon of oil, brown the venison in batches on medium-high heat until all the venison is lightly browned, about 3 to 5 minutes per batch. Season each batch with a dash of sea salt and pepper. Add 1 additional tablespoon oil while browning each batch. Remove each batch from the stockpot and place in a bowl. Be sure not to fully cook the meat.
Add the brandy to the skillet and on high heat deglaze being sure to scrape all the bits off the bottom of the pan.
In a large stockpot, add the browned venison and the deglazed drippings from the skillet. Add the onions, garlic, shallots, Worcestershire sauce, and Dijon mustard, and mix well. Bring the contents to a boil on medium-high heat for 5 minutes. Whisk together the beef broth and tomato paste and add to the stockpot. Return to a boil for an additional 5 minutes, mixing well.
Using a slotted spoon, fill each hot jar three-quarters full of venison. Ladle the hot liquid over the mixture, leaving 1 inch of headspace. Remove any air bubbles and add additional liquid if necessary to maintain the 1 inch of headspace.
Wipe the jar rim of each jar with a warm washcloth dipped in vinegar. Place a lid and ring on each jar and hand tighten.
Place jars in the pressure canner, lock the pressure canner lid and bring to a boil on high heat. Let the canner vent for 10 minutes. Close the vent with your weighted gauge and continue heating to achieve 11 PSI for a dial gauge and 10 PSI for a weighted gauge. Process quarts for 90 minutes and pints for 75 minutes.
Serving Tip: When heating a quart on the stovetop, be sure to add ¼ cup of heavy whipping cream, mix well and finish heating through, about 3 minutes. Do not boil the cream.
Thank you for tuning in. Until next time, happy canning!