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Non-Typical Hunter

Review: Venison Wisdom Cookbook

Wed, October 20, 2010

As a professional product tester and hunter, one would think reviewing a cookbook would be outside of my boundaries. Not so, especially when I love to cook and venison is in my daily vocabulary! Having said that, I was introduced to one of the best venison cookbooks I’ve ever read. It’s called the “Venison Wisdom Cookbook”, written by Tracy L. Schmidt. This book would rival many culinary expert’s traditional recipes hands down.

A few things in this life I know and one of them is food! My ethnic roots transitioned when my grandparents arrived in Ellis Island and immediately began cutting and selling meat. From there, creative recipes followed. Some of the best food I ever ate came from old world cooking that my mother so graciously recreated over her stove. Certain herbs and spices used in many of her dishes are staple ingredients needed to wake up anyone’s appetite. Needless to say, I was excited to see some of Tracy’s recipes containing such mouth watering formulas!

What’s really neat about this book is the fact that the entire book is dedicated to venison. No crow meat, opossum nuggets, etc, just deer. What some people aren’t aware of, is the fact that venison is probably the healthiest red meat available. Free ranging deer are by far the healthiest animals to harvest and consume. No antibiotics or “fenced-in” diseases end up in your palate why you and your family enjoy the season’s best. Properly prepared venison tastes every bit as good as beef and in some cases, better! With its low fat, high protein content, venison is a premier choice for individuals combating high cholesterol and other cardiac ailments. When the lay person makes a statement that venison taste gamy, it immediately alerts me that the animal wasn’t field dressed or handled properly.  Handling venison like cattle parallels equal quality flavor. Having a brother-in-law, (Rich Kober from central IL.) with nearly 40 years experience as a hunter and a meat cutter, I can tell you that I’ve picked up some “tricks-of-the-trades” regarding good tasting venison. Two of them are quick field dressing of the animal and removing as much venison fat as possible. Gas builds up immediately in the dead carcass creating tainted and spoiled meat and the fat, for some reason, holds an undesirable flavor. Addressing these two issues, you’re on your way to excellent tasting meat!

Back to the book, it’s broken down into chapters. Tracy’s top 100 has her personal favorites which are separated by category, making it easy to pick and choose exactly what you are looking for. Included in the book are also favorites by some of the hunting industry’s more well-know outdoorsmen. Tracy uses her own nomenclature to make it easier for the cook to rapidly identify what type of meal they’re seeking. She uses a small symbol preceding each recipe that will quickly and positively reveal the type of cut needed for each particular meal. So in essence, there will be no need for you to comb each and every recipe to determine which meal will work with your cut of meat. On the bottom of nearly every page, you’ll find a useful tip. Every single one of these tips are bona fide suggestions that undoubtedly stemmed from years of research or experience. In the final chapter, you’ll see a dedicated portion to “Blood trailing & Equipment Tips”. These are great! I would expect to find such a cornucopia of material in a book, hunting magazine or better yet, in one of my articles! OK, maybe I was a bit over zealous in that last statement.

This is one of those books that any hunter can pick up and enjoy, even if they don’t cook! If you have a spouse that doesn’t hunt but prepares your wild game for you, this would be the perfect addition to the kitchen. You can purchase this cookbook here: http://www.shopdeerhunting.com/product/venison-wisdom-cookbook/processing-recipes/?r=dhar3955z8928 . At only $11.69 it’s a joke. It’s worth much more, given the fact that it’s a conglomerate of culinary knowledge, deer hunting tips and some tried and trued recipes. If the name Tracy L. Schmidt rings a bell, it’s because her husband Dan Schmidt is the editor for Deer and Deer Hunting magazine. She has been hunting, cooking and eating venison for over a decade and has been exposed to some of the biggest names in hunting. I think it would be safe to say this book is a “Must have”. With the holidays around the corner, this would be a perfect addition to any hunter’s Christmas stocking.

As a critic, I can’t give you all of the positive comments without the negative also. So, the only negative I can find with this book is the fact that they didn’t include my personal venison chili recipe! Now that’s a shame!

Maybe on the second revision? grin


What is your venison chili recipe Marc, I would love to try it!

Posted by Nemo on October 20

Nemo, this is my chili recipe. Enjoy!

Brown 3 pounds venison, drain all grease, if any. Add 3 cans (16 oz cans) of kidney beans. Add 3 cans of whole tomatoes (the big cans, 28 oz. or so). Stir in 1 very large white onion (chopped) & about 1 cup chopped green pepper. Add 2 tablespoons minced garlic, 1 tablespoon Cumin, 2 tablespoons chili powder, 3 tablespoons garlic salt and your favorite hot sauce (to taste). I use habenero sauce which will send you to the moon if you’re not used to it, so use what you like. Cook on slow heat for about 3 hours. Remove from heat and stir in 1/2 cup of milk. Let stand in refrigerator and re-heat when ready to heat. You can eat it once it’s finished cooking but it tastes a little bit better when cooled and re-heated. One important note: Make sure you add more garlic salt as you sir during the cooking process. If you don’t, it can be bland.

Cook elbow noodles or spaghetti noodles if you want to use as a base. You can pour chili over noodles, add cheese and crackers for a full meal! I make double batches at my house because once it’s made, my kids will eat it all week!

Posted by Marc Anthony on October 20

Mark, Whats your best loin recipe???

Posted by WhitetailFreak on October 20

For loins and butterfly chops (back straps), I marinade them for 12 hours in KC Masterpiece Teryaki marinade. I then throw them either on the grill or in a crock pot for a few hours until tender. Can’t beat em’!

If you want to try a different flavor, grill them medium rare, then spread horseradish sauce on them. Slice fresh tomatoes on top of them. Yummy!

Posted by Marc Anthony on October 20

Marc- Thanks for this great review! Our entire extended family relies on venison ( and large variety of wild foods)  for a good portion of the meat in our diets. I think you may have just solved my Christmas list problems smile

Posted by G on October 22

Marc thanks for the chili recipe it was great!  Made a batch last night and just warmed some up for lunch, YUM!

Posted by Nemo on October 25

Glad you like it Nemo!

Posted by Marc Anthony on October 25

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