Southern Cuisine: Holle's Country Fried Deer Steaks
venison recipes - deer hunting
In another life (or so it seems), I enjoyed deer hunting. I married into a family of cattle farmers. They had a huge farm, with lots of wildlife, including whitetailed deer. That's about the time I discovered the all-time very best venison recipe - ever! My ex and I were both hunters, and we ate venison often. Another one of my favorite ways to prepare it was to country fry it, like beef cubed steak.
Many venison eaters talk about a “wild taste” in deer meat. I know what they mean – I’ve experienced it myself. The way venison is prepared in the following recipe, however, it has absolutely no gamey flavor. It tastes just like good beef. I’ll share a story to prove my point.
My parents lived about 100 miles away. Both were retired, and they’d make the drive to see me and their only grandchildren a couple of times a month. They almost always called before hand, but one day they surprised me, just when I was finishing with the preparations for our noon meal. I was cooking country-fried deer steak.
This was a problem. My mom hated eating anything wild, except for quail. Anytime I had offered her a taste of venison, she always refused. So what to do? Should I tell my parents it was deer steak I was cooking? If I did, Mom would refuse to eat. I didn’t have any other meat thawed. I didn’t want to “trick” her, though.
As I was contemplating this dilemma, Mom picked up a small piece of the steak that was already done and draining on a paper-towel-laden platter. Before I could say anything, she ate the meat!
“Mmm, Holle, this sure is good! You’ll have to give me your recipe.”
Rut-roh! Now what should I do? I kept my mouth shut!
I finished cooking the steaks and made the gravy, and we sat down to a great meal. Both Mom and Dad swore it was the best country fried steak they’d ever had! I didn’t have the heart to tell her she had eaten venison – well, not until years later.
I never used the backstraps for this recipe. I usually saved them for the grill because they’re so tender and delicious. For this, I usually used slices of deer ham or shoulder. The slices need to be about ½-inch thick.
Holle’s Country Fried Deer Steaks
What you’ll need:
On a cutting board, pound the deer steaks with a meat mallet. Don’t have one? Use the opening of a two-liter soda bottle.
Season the steaks on both sides with garlic salt and black pepper. Dredge in flour.
Cook in about a half-inch of oil on medium heat in a black iron skillet. Brown both sides.
Remove steaks from skillet and drain on paper towels.
When all the steaks are done, drain away the oil, leaving about two tablespoons. Add a cup or two of water to the pans and scrape the bottom and the sides to free all the tasty particles that have stuck to the pan.
Mix a couple of spoonfuls of cornstarch to a half-cup of water and stir until smooth. Slowly add it to the skillet. Add Worcestershire sauce, garlic salt, and pepper, to taste.
Continue cooking over medium heat until gravy is thick, stirring constantly.
Return steaks to pan and cook until the meat is hot.
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