deer

Venison Jerky a Tradition in the Mountain State

Drying meat into Jerky is a tradition in the mountain state and has always been a safe convent way to store meat over the winter. Our family makes it and shares it at the holidays as gifts with friends and family alike. We make several flavors and some are savory and some are more sweet but all of them taste great and make great snacks for the woods or the car.

As the last day of deer season approached this fall I had my older son and his family come to our house to help make venison jerky. I made a quick trip to the local store to pick up supplies and flavorings for the jerky. My whole family likes a traditional recipe that uses Soy Sauce and Worcestershire as the salty marinade for the preservative marinade for the Jerky but when heading to the sauce section of the grocery store I found empty shelves. No Soy Sauce of any kind and only a small selection of Worcestershire sauces.  So I added a selection  of A-1 sauce and Teriyaki sauce and a small bottle of Worcestershire sauce, thank goodness I had Soy Sauce on hand at the house.  So we made 4 flavors of Jerky with 8 pounds of Venison Roast.

white tail deer meat

white tail deer meat ready to be boned

With several hind quarter roasts that were lightly frozen we cut the meat into thin slices. Using slightly frozen meat allows us to control the slicing better. Setting my slicer to #1 we were able to get a slice that was about the thickness of a coin.  I placed a forth of the meat into individual Ziploc bags. Added a selected marinade and sealed the bags and placed them in the refrigerator for 24 hours.

The following morning I removed the thawed steak and marinade from the refrigerator and prepared my drying racks. I also have a dehydrator but it is to small for large amounts of jerky that we were making on this day. So I placed a bakers cooling rack on top of a standard cookie sheet and sprayed both with a non-stick cooking spray. Pulling the marinated meat from the bags I placed one thin row of steak on the rack trying not to over lap the edges. Then placed the rack and cookie sheet into an oven that was preheated to its lowest setting. My oven will only go as low as 140 degrees and set timer for 6 hours. My dehydrator goes as low as 120 degrees and can run as long as the power is on. 8 hours is good for drying overnight and works great for about 1 pound of meat.

marninated-deer-steak-for-jerky

Soy Sauce Jerky ready to dry

 

After 6 hours I tested the Jerky for dryness. Jerky stores best if there is no fat and the moisture level is low but not so dry that the meat breaks when bent. I like my jerky slightly chewy and will cut the meat thicker to make it chewy. The meat will reduce in size about twice while drying, the thicker the meat the longer the dry time, and the chewier it will be when finished.

The recipe that I fallow “Soy Sauce and Worcestershire Jerky” comes from one of my favorite wild game cook books (North American Hunt Club Wild Game Cookbook). The A-1 sauce was a random idea and I would make it again any time my son asks for it. I have made the Teriyaki before and it is my personal favorite. The A-1 and the Teriyaki are used straight out of the bottle with out the addition of any other ingredients.

cookbook-with-jerky-guide

I used  4 pounds of  roast to make this jerky recipe and it worked wonderfully.

Oven-Dried Soy Sauce Worcestershire Jerky

by J.W. Kaufman Jr.

4 pounds Venison sliced or ground

1/2 cup Soy Sauce

2 Table Spoons Worcestershire sauce

1 tsp pepper

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp onion powder

Trim and Discard all fat from meat.Cut meat into 1/4 thick strips cut across the grain. Mix remaining ingredients together. Stir to dissolve as much as possible.Add meat,mixing thoroughly to coat meat well. Let stand 1 hour to over night, stirring occasionally.Place meat strips on drying racks or on oven racks covered with foil. Dry at lowest temperature until dry. 4-6 hours. I personally used the oven setting of 140 degrees and dried my jerky for 6 hours.

dried-jerky

Soy Sauce Jerky dried at 140 degrees for 6 hours.

 

I made gift bags after the jerky was totally dry and ended up with 6 bags of jerky. The first two ended up in my husbands and sons backpacks for the next hunting trip and work. The other 4 was given as gifts to friends of our family. The response from everyone who received a bag has been wonderful.$5.00 for 6 oz  bag for store-bought Jerky  Vs a 10 oz. bag of free jerky as a gift is always well received by the men in my family.

Hope you all have a happy and productive New Year as I cut up the last of the deer from the 2016 hunting seasons.It has been a busy year, my family was successful in filling my freezer and pantry once again.I am personally looking forward to spring and getting back out in the woods fishing and turkey hunting. Happy New Year!

 

 

 

 

 

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Categories: country cooking, deer, Dehydrated Foods, Dried Foods, Hunting, Preserving, snacks, Venison, Venison Jerky, wild food | Tags: , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Venison Barley Soup the Other Red Meat

    I find it very interesting when I hear the statement, “I don’t like venison, it has a funny taste to it”. In response I usually say, “Then you have never had much venison or wild game”. I am notorious for feeding venison to people who don’t like it and changing their minds. Very often the dislike of game meat is a mental thing not a taste thing. So when a person does not know they are eating venison they give you an honest reply to your preparation of the food. This is one of my favorite recipes that does not taste like anything other than beef and is a great way to introduce the idea of eating wild game.

  Most deer is prepared the same as beef if the cook is aware that there is less fat content in any wild game so it is rather dry( unless we are talking bear) and needs a moist heat to keep it tender and flavor full. Soups and Stews are fast easy ways to enjoy the meat and not battle its natural low-fat qualities.

Venison Barley soup

Venison Barley soup

    By this photo can you tell this is venison? I am sure that most people are unable to tell the difference. The aroma is also beefy, due to the use of beef stock or broth, so you maybe the only person even notices the difference. 

Venison Barley Soup 

1.  1# Pound venison stake in small cubes

2.  5 Cups of water/ 1 cup added with barley

3.  4 Bouillon cubes beef flavor

4.  2/3 cup Quick Barley

5.  1 teaspoon salt

6.  1 bay leaf

7.  Pepper to taste

8.  1 Cup Carrots diced

9.  1 Cup onion diced 

10.  1 Can petite diced tomatoes 

11. 1 Cup frozen peas 

12. 2 tablespoons cooking oil

    I made this last week while the snow was flying and the house was cold. We usually serve it with fresh made corn muffins or hot rolls with lots of butter.

  So to start with brown the deer steak cubes in the oil, I use canola oil. I used left over tenderloin for this batch of soup but any cut will do.

browning of deer steak

browning of deer steak

  While this is cooking over a lower heat I get my 4 cups water and bouillon cubes put together to soften them.

this photo shows 4 cups of water and 4 boulion cubes. I add one more cup at the addition of the barley

this photo shows 4 cups of water and 4 bouillon cubes. I add one more cup at the addition of the barley

    After the meat is nicely browned I add 1 cup carrots and 1 cup onion and soften them for a couple of minutes in the broth that forms from the venison.

carrots, onion, and venison

carrots, onion, and venison

  Then it is time to add the broth, Bay leaf, canned tomatoes, salt and peper.Let the mixture simmer for about 30 minutes before adding Barley or frozen peas.

soup before adding peas and barley

soup before adding peas and barley

   After the 3o minutes of simmering add 2/3 cup QUICK BARLEY not the regular barley. If you are unable to find the quick barley you need to add it to the soup earlier in the simmering process and allow another 15 to twenty minutes to the cook time. I also add one more cup of water at this point in thin the soup a little. If you would rather have it as a stew then omit this cup of water. I also add the frozen peas and allow to simmer on low heat covered for about ten minutes following the quick barley directions on box,  checking for thickness as time passes.Quick baley does continue to thicken your soup even after removed from the stove so beware.

Venison Barley Soup simmering on stove

Venison Barley Soup simmering on stove

  If the soup appears thick enough then remove bay leaf and serve. This recipe feeds about  5.  If  you are lucky and don’t have a 22-year-old son who will eat you out of house and home then maybe 6 average size portions. Cooking time is about 40 minutes.

  Cooking this on a cold winter afternoon warmed that inter house. I serve the soup with warm cornbread and a lite salad and home canned peaches making this a very country heart healthy meal. Enjoy!

Categories: cooking, country cooking, deer, soup, Venison, venison | Tags: , , , , | 17 Comments

Canning wild game, a non electric storage opption

 As  some of you already know my family lives as much as possible on the land that surrounds us and the bounty that God provides. This includes fall hunting for wild game and fishing as much as possible for our food. My problem has always been what to do with all the meat that the boys bring into me. Well of course we freeze a large portion of our meat and fish but three years ago we went with out electric for about 10 days and lost most of our families food. This brought up the conversation about going back to canning at least a portion of our meats so we would not  lose all of our food again.

 My husbands family has cold packed canned deer and pork for over 40 years mostly because the quality of meat when it comes out of the jars is OUT STANDING. The high pressure and moister combine and make the most tender juicey meat. The only way to explain it is to think pulled pork that all you have to do is open the jar and pour out. We can deer meat for BBQ sandwiches and I make a wonderful deer tips with gravy out of. The meat is safely stored for two years and is easy to transport to hunting camps and on summer camping trips. The meat is already cooked, warm the contents and eat.

To start with I suggest that anyone wanting to learn more about the safety and processes of home canning get a good canning book like this one.

Ball blue book of canning copy right 1970

Ball blue book of canning copy right 1970

Processing of meats MUST MUST MUST be done under presser so this process is not for those who use the boiling water bath method. Meat is very easy to process but the time involved is a little lengthy. The average time is 1:30 of cooking time so I plan about 4 to 5 hours from boneing out the deer to the end of the canning process. One nice size white tail deer will make about 7 quarts of cold packed stew meat. In this case I made 6 Jars and had about 11/2 lbs left over I wanted to use in another way.

First, as always wash and sterilise your jars rings and lids, and look for chips or cracks in the jars.This defect will prevent the jars from sealing properly and spoil the meat or make a huge mess in the canner. I use quart jars and this will make about 4 portions of meat per jar. You can use pints and adjust the cooking time accordingly ( pints process for 1 hour 15 mintues).

I start my canning preparations with washing everything down with a little bleach water that includes my cutting boards and knives and even the table where I am cutting the meat. We cover everything with butcher paper and get the meat ready to debone.

white tail deer meat ready to be deboned

white tail deer meat ready to be deboned

 We do not can the tenderloin pictured above left. They are tender enough on their own but the remaining steaks and roasts get processed.  The only requirement is that the pieces of meat are about bite size and fit in the mouth of your jars easily. We try to remove any excess fat or connective tissues. Cold packing jars saves time but the meat can be cooked and packed hot with a broth in jars also.

bite size pieces of deer steak

bite size pieces of deer steak

 These pieces get packed into warm sanitized jars and with a wooded spoon. I push firmly to pack meat into the jars this removes excess air gaps and fills the jars full. You need a one inch head space in the jar to prevent the natural juices from leaking out of the jars as it boils in the canner.

deer meat ready to be packed in jars

deer meat ready  for jars

The fuller the jars the better it is, the nature broth will not cover loosely packed meat and this can lead to discolored meat after storage.

using a funnel keeps jars cleaner when packing

using a funnel keeps jars cleaner when packing

At this point you have the option of adding salt to your meat, we add 1 teaspoon per quart of meat. It is not a necessary item but does make the broth and meat more flavorful so we choice to use it.

adding salt to canning jars of meat

adding salt to canning jars of meat

 The next step is to clean the lip of the jar and make sure no salt or meat residue remains on jar to prevent the lids from sealing. Then add the lids and seal to jars and place them in the canning with enough water to cover the jars by at least one inch of water.

canning jars in pressure canner with water

canning jars in pressure canner with water

  Then cover the canner and start a high fire. Venison is canned at 10 lbs of pressure for 1 hour and 30 minutes making it take around 2 hours total. The first 30 minutes is for the heat to raise into the canner to reach 10 lbs pressure. I usually let my canner cool over night so the cooling process doesn’t interfere with use of my stove. In the morning the jars and water are still hot to the touch but ready to remove from the canner.

  At this point the jars are cooling and I check to make sure all the seals are tight and each jar is clean. I usually risen them before adding the name of the contents and date.  I usually process at least two deer every year this way and this gives us security that even if the power goes out we will have fresh safe meat to eat.

canned deer meat and my hard working canner

canned deer meat and my hard-working canner

 Don’t be surprise that after you jars have cooled even further that a small amount of fat appears in the jars. It is not seen when the jars are warm and slowly forms on the top of the broth. It is totally safe and not going to spoil. The fatter the meat the more fat will form in the top of the jar. In this case venison is very lean and usually less than a teaspoon of fat collects in the jar after canning.

This process is the same useing beef or pork. The only changes that are made are for cooked meats and stews or soups. That is when you really love having your “Ball Canning Guide” so that every thing is safe and healthy.

My

Categories: canning, country cooking, deer, deer hunting, Hunting, Venison | Tags: , , , , , , | 13 Comments

Hunters Helping the Hungry In West Virginia

        Another reason to support hunting and those who choice to live off the land. My family is full of outdoors people. Eating of wild game and sharing it with others is our  way of life. This program is another way for all of us to give back to the communities where they live, work and hunt. 

Hunters Helping the Hungry  (http://www.wvdnr.gov/Hunting/HHH.shtm) is a non-profit state program that helps feed thousands of the homeless and low-income families in our area. Hunger affects the elderly, the homeless and children the most and this is one way our family is able do what we love and make it a little easier for someone in need all at once. Tomorrow is opening day for Deer Bow Season and my husband along with thousands of others in the state of West Virginia will head out before day break to get the frist venison of the season. It is while I they hunt that I gear up to donate a couple of our deer this year and help in the distribution of the product to our state-run food pantry. It is our way of sharing our bounty with those who can not get out and feed themselves.

Opening day of deer season young couple hunting together(Cody and Jamie Powers)

Opening day of deer season young couple hunting together(Cody and Jamie Powers)

   If you are a resident of West Virginia contact the above website for meat processors in your area.Their are 17 locations this year. “Since its inception in 1992, HHH has provided venison for more than 1.1 million meals to the needy West Virginians”. In the year 2010 there were 35,433 pounds of meat processed and given to the hungry of our state. It is a blessing to give and there are other ways to get involved. Nov 3, 2013 Is “Share the Harvest Sunday”, local churches are encouraged to have their congregations donate any amount of money to this program to pay the ever rising cost of the processing and transportation of the meat. If you are not a church member and would sill like to donate to this cause please contact,

Hunters Helping The Hungry

WVDNR Wildlife  Resources, 324 Fourth Ave, South Charleston, WV 25303.

 Please think of your ability to hunt for food as a gift like we do. We share our love of the wilderness with everyone we can. I feel it is my responsiblity as a hunter and a cook to help in any way I can to make sure that the families in my community have hearty healthy meals that they can count on in the winter. A hot-pot of venison vegetable soup can go a long way making life better for a child and adults alike. I am lucky I  can make a difference by just doing what I love… CAN YOU ? Please think of who you can help with your love of hunting in the State of West Virginia and donate to Hunters Helping the Hungry.

Categories: deer, deer hunting, hunters helping the hungry, Hunting, Venison, West Virginia | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

Back Woods Wonders in West Virginia

      Treasures found in the back woods of West Virginia.. photos and notes on the things we have seen and found on our trips into the Appalachian forest.

Snail on river moss, cleveland, WV

Snail on river moss, Cleveland, WV

     My subject is one that is near and dear to my heart. This post allows me to  shows off some of the photos I have taken over the years that we have lived in the Mountain State. West Virginia is abundant with wildlife and the scenery is both  mysterious and enchanting. Many times it has  reminded me of all of those fairytale and fables written about the woods. My personal favorite to use as an example is the story of Hansel and Geritol who get lost in the dark woods. Here in our forgotten state where technology still takes a back seat to wildness I have found my love and my gingerbread house hidden in the woods.

    Growing up in Boulder,Colorado, we saw deer, rabbits, coons, and occasionally a fox. Impressed and fascinated with every thing nature had to offer I read and studied our local wild life.I wanted to know more and see more. This passion to understand wild life, its conservation, and how to live a more natural life became building blocks of who I wanted to be as an adult. Maybe watching to many episodes of “Grizzly Adams” had something  to do with my life choices. I wanted to marry “Adams”, I wanted to be in the forest with him, living off the land, eating wild game, making dinner over a fire. I wanted to have friends who were trappers and miners.  I wanted to save people from the cities from getting lost in the wilderness. I wanted a Buck Skinner life, a Pioneer woman.

Funny how a young persons dreams of life can foreshadow  reality. After years of working towards my dream, I have almost reach this goal. I married a wonderful man who loves the woods as much as I do. Tom is a person who sees the value of all of the things the hard wood forest has to offers. We are a family who supports conversation with an eye towards the sports men who donate millions every year to protect what it is that they love. We live conventionally and not in a rustic cabin with no running water, but we do spend almost every free time we have working with or around animals, wild life, and trying to live off the land. I still dream of a small cabin with a wood stove and a hand pump for water  but that will be a vacation cabin out in the woods someday. 

Mary Conrad cabin Jacksons Mill. Jane Lew West Virigina

Mary Conrad cabin Jackson’s’ Mill. Jane Lew West Virginia

Codys' proud catch of the day

Cody’s proud catch of the day

Tom and I have been lucky over the years.  We  have been able to share our love of the outdoors  with our kids. Cody now 22 and is  an avid outdoors man himself. He often surprises us with his skills with a compound bow and fishing pole. This was a rather good day of fishing at Holly River State Park. The fishing was excellent with many caught and released that morning. I was lucky to get a few put in the freezer for later use.

Cody with his native and brook trout

Cody with his native and brook trout

Early morning Sun on Stone Coal Lake

Early morning Sun on Stone Coal Lake

     Most of our adventures, we are up long before daylight and we return only after a long day. Fishing, Hunting, Hiking ,Ramp Digging all take lots of daylight hours to accomplish.  While on a long drive to a secret fishing hole I stopped the car and took these photos. The sun had just risen over the trees and began its climb into the sky to burn off the fog that is ever-present in the winding hills of West Virginia.

Morning mist on Stone Coal Lake

Morning mist on Stone Coal Lake

Locus tree nut pod

Locus tree nut pod

Spring Wild flower

Spring Wild flower

    With Christopher being so young we try  to keep things simple and interesting at the same time. We spend many hours looking for hidden treasures and wonders of wild life that he at four years old he can understand. We spend many afternoons looking closely at the ground or at his eye level. He loves hunting nuts, seed pods, berries, and flowers. His education about respect, understanding and love for the mountains begins here… with a snail, flower, and nut. It is in the peace and beauty of a stream that he learns about pollution and how it hurts the environment, how it kills fish and makes the family unhappy. He is able to understand that much at about nature at four, and it is important that he does.

toms favorite trout stream. Webster County West Virigina

toms favorite trout stream. Webster County West Virginia

     While in the woods my family forages and hunts. We eat many of the wild plants and animals that nature provides for our use and we expand the collection every year. This year we have adding the foraging of Mushrooms and Fiddle Head Ferns to our list and will at some point in the future add Wild Hog to our diet.  It is always a delight to find and eat wild plants and animals. Here is one of my favorite edibles and things to photograph…. wild colorful mushrooms. Some of the mushrooms photographed here are very poisonous.

collection of Wild Mushrooms

collection of Wild Mushrooms

  I am not sure what it is about fungus that fascinates me, but I always have time to photograph a new style or color.

GE DIGITAL CAMERA

 I also wanted to include pictures of the deer and turkeys and other animals that we see and hunt in West Virgina. But many of the photo I have taken are actually after the hunt is over and are trophy shots. Some readers find these offensive and I will refrain from sharing those photos. I now realise that I do not have many good photos of the live animals themselves. I hope to remedy the situation over the next few months, so that a post like this is full of good photos of live animals in their natural surrounds.

   Funny what we take photos of isn’t it ? I never realised that I loved seeing deer in our back yard but never took a photos of  them?  These are  my most current deer photos, they are not overly well shot, but you can get the feel of how friendly they can become over time.

what a group of friends a Boy( Chris) a mule and a calico cat

what a group of friends a Boy( Chris) a mule a calico cat and white tail doe

This deer is comfortable to seeing Mini the Mule in her pasture but when we came to visit, she was curious about Christopher and they looked each other over for a long time.

White tail Doe looking at Christopher

White tail Doe looking at Christopher

Fall Follage in Fayettevill,Wet Virginia

fall foliage in Fayetteville,Wet Virginia

  These are the woods that I  love and depended on for my “dream come true”. It still surprises me that I am able to live a life where I am part of nature on a daily basis. The woods have taught me so much about being true to myself and a strong individual. Yes, I love my computer and internet but they are only tools that I use to share my love of the outdoors with you. It is in the woods that I find my peace and my connection with the universe. These woods nourish my body and my soul. It took  almost 45 years to get here to this place where I was living true to my heart.I now realise that my dream of child hood is coming true, that I am a woodsman’s wife, a Pioneer Woman, a Mother and a Steward of the Woods. I am strong and free and able to rejoice in the mountains and streams of  Wild Wonderful West Virginia.

Sharing with a wordless Wednesday blog hop.

http://www.craftyspices.com/hops/wwhop

Categories: Appalachian Mountains, back woods, deer, Hardwood forest, photo review, Photos, State Park activities, West Virginia, wild food, wildlife | Tags: , , , , | 3 Comments

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