Cooking wild game

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, January 12, 2011

By Sara Anthony Hill
For The Salisbury Post
There was a small crack in the door, just big enough for me to see through. ]As I steadied my eye to fit the crack, I met a pair of dark, glassy eyes staring back at me.
We were told — the children, that is, to stay away from the car shed.We had a car but rarely did Daddy park it in the shed. The old people used to say, “it’s so cold that you could hang meat.” Well, so it was.
Inside the car shed was a large, beautiful brown-eyed deer hanging upside down on the wall. Pretty scary for a 5-year-old. I can’t remember if I ran home frightened out of my head or was just so traumatized that the memory stops there.
But that’s it: my first memory of my daddy, “the hunter.”
A few years ago on Christmas Eve at the Anthony family gathering, I prepared a moose roast. As Daddy had done when we were young, it was served and digested without anyone knowing its identity. Delicious. They all thought it was beef.
Jack Hoover, a friend of mine, had killed the moose on one of his trips to Canada. Jack lives in Salisbury but says he hunts deer, turkey and wild hog nearly every day during hunting season, mostly in Anson County.
Anita Waller is the manager of Hill’s Minnow Farm and Sporting Goods Store on Bringle Ferry Road, which is a check-in station for wildlife killed in North Carolina.
Walking through the front door, I expected to see Daddy and his hunting buddies hanging around swapping stories.
But there was Anita, a young, beautiful brown-eyed dear (forgive the pun, but she really is). I was amazed at her knowledge of hunting and wildlife food preparation. She told me she eats deer meat three to four nights a week and has eaten it for such a long time that beef now tastes weird to her. Anita has shot six deer this past season, which ended on January l. She also hunts wild turkey. Turkey season begins on April 9, she said.
Anita says she prefers eating wild game if it is processed correctly, as it is healthier for you. James Shaver, who lives on Liberty Road, does most of her processing.
It’s no quick meal from the kill to the supper table.She says the longer it hangs, the better. In her opinion, a deer should hang about a week and a half, then be processed.
Just as you would soak country ham in water to eliminate some of the saltiness, my mother always soaked venison and other wildlife meat. Anita says if the meat is processed correctly this is not necessary. But I feel it is to your own taste and preference.
Venison and other game meats may be marinated in 4 cups of milk with 1 teaspoon of garlic salt for several days in the refrigerator to tenderize and eliminate most of the wild taste.
Anita’s Venison Cubed Steak with Onion Gravy
Anita was reluctant to give me this recipe, as this is her specialty.
1 pound venison cubed steak
Vegetable oil for frying
House of Autry Chicken Breader
Salt and pepper to taste
Cut steak into serving size, salt and pepper to taste (use salt sparingly as Autry Chicken Breader has salt in it.)
Coat the steak pieces with Autry Chicken Breader and fry until brown on each side.  Remove from the pan and set aside.
For the Gravy:
3 cubes beef bouillon
1 1/2 C. hot water
1 1/2 C. cold water
2 Tbsp. House of Autry Chicken Breader
1 large chopped onion
Dissolve 3 beef bouillon cubes in 1 cups hot water in the same pan you have fried the steak. Stir 2 tablespoons of Autry Chicken Breader into 1 cups cold water then add to the pan. Cook until slightly thickened, add the steak back to the pan. Add chopped onion, cover and simmer for 1 hour.
Anita’s Baked Wild Turkey Breast
In a large pot with enough water to cover the breast, add 3 tablespoons of salt and 1/2 cup cider vinegar. Soak the turkey breast for about 12 hours.
4-pound turkey breast (approximately)
2 cans cream of celery soup
2 soup cans of water
2-3 celery stalks, chopped
2-3 carrots, chopped
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Remove the breast from the soak water and place in a large roasting pan.
Mix together the 2 cans of soup and the 2 cans of water. Add the celery and carrots to the pan. Pour the soup mixture over the turkey breast and vegetables. Cover the pan with foil and bake for 1 hour until done or the thickest part of the breast reaches 175-180 degrees.
• • •
Deer jerky
2 pounds venison ham, sliced in 1/4 inch thick strips
Marinate strips up to 12 hours in:
1/2 C. Worcestershire sauce
3 C. soy sauce
1/2 C. brown sugar
1 Tbsp. liquid smoke
Remove from marinade and process in a dehydrator for 10 hours. Store in plastic bags.
(Food dehydrators can be purchased at Walmart stores for approximately $40.)
• • •
My husband and I had business friends when traveling in Texas. These recipes come from their Corpus Christi Junior League cookbook “Delicioso! Cooking South Texas Style.”
These folks really know how to cook and barbeque wild game.They say to try the following recipe on someone who does not like game.
Goose or Duck Kabab
2 goose or duck breasts
1 16-ounce bottle Zesty Italian salad dressing
1 large bell pepper
2 medium onions
1/2 pound fresh mushroom caps
1/2 pound thickly cut bacon
Cut breasts into 1-inch cubes. Cover in dressing and refrigerate for at least 6 hours. Cut onions, bacon and bell peppers into 1-inch squares.Alternate meat, bacon, bell pepper, mushrooms and onion on skewer.
Place on grill and cook 10 to 14 minutes, turning frequently to avoid drying out. Baste with marinade.
It is important that bacon is placed next to the meat on the skewer.
Serve with your favorite rice.
• • •
Easy Venison Roast (Bourguignon)
Marinate venison in milk and garlic salt overnight before preparing, if desired.
1package dry onion soup mix
2 pounds venison stew meat
1 10 3/4 oz. can cream of mushroom soup
1 C. Burgundy wine
1/2 pound fresh mushrooms, sliced
Combine all ingredients in a large baking dish or dutch oven that can be used in the oven.
Cover and bake 3 hours at 300 degrees. Do not open the lid.
Serve over rice or egg noodles.