Is everyone enjoying this pleasant fall weather before winter sets in? With October and November rolling around, the deer hunters are spending time in the woods once more. Deer meat has been a tremendous blessing in our community in the past years. With having a large quantity of deer in our area, hunters help keep the disease rate down. In areas with lots of deer and few hunters, the deer end up with a lot of sicknesses and diseases sweeping through and killing large numbers of them.
This summer my husband Daniel promised Julia that he’d take her along bow hunting. He explained to her the importance of holding still and not talking too loudly on the stand. Narturally, she was all excited and impressed with the idea. She informed him that once she’s big she is also going to go hunting. “And, Daddy,” she said. “If you go hunting with me, you’re going to have to hold very still!”
So recently one day, Daniel asked me if Julia and I would like to go with him that evening.
“If I don’t have a chance to shoot anything, that is okay,” he told me. “I just want Julia to have a chance to go out with us.” Of course Julia was all for it. She felt all grown up especially when putting on an orange stocking cap just like Daddy’s. After a good trek we arrived at our stand, climbed up the ladder, and settled down. Julia sat between the two of us. At first she just sat there glued to the spot, barely even blinking, not saying a word for fear of spooking the deer.
“You’re doing better than even Mom and Dad,” we praised her. For a 3-year-old she did a fantastic job even though she was tired of it by the time the sun set. Unfortunately, Daniel didn’t have any chance to shoot anything, yet at the same time it made special memories of time spent together.
As a young girl my Dad would occasionally take us children along deer hunting. On days we didn’t go along we anxiously waited for his return in hopes to hear a success story . Sometimes when it was suitable he would take us children with him to help us drag the deer out of the woods.
We as a family relied heavily on deer as a primary source of meat. Now with being married to a hunter I’m also blessed with an ample supply of venison. I have food memories of getting together with my cousins on winter evenings to help each other butcher deer. We like sawing the steaks to be marinated and grilled or fried. Most of the venison is trimmed off and grinded. The buck meat, which tends to be have a stronger flavor, is used to make bologna. Occasionally we also make hot dogs or jerky which is always a treat.
For those of you who are not used to the venison flavor, try adding taco seasoning while browning it. My mother discovered that that really helps cover the game flavor.
I’ll include a venison meatball recipe. My mother and I have made hundreds of these. They freeze very well so I like like making a large batch and putting a bunch in the freezer for easy meals in the weeks to come.
In spite of growing up with a Dad and three brothers that enjoyed hunting, it never appealed to me to go hunting myself. Well, some how things changed. I had planned to share my story but it looks like I won’t have enough space this week. Perhaps well have to save it for later.
Variations I like to try from time to time are adding some liquid smoke to the meatball recipe (not just the sauce) or sage seasoning. I also like substituting some of the milk with ketchup or barbecue sauce, so there is room to experiment with this recipe according to your family’s taste!
- 3 pounds ground venison
- 1 3 /4 cup milk
- 1 cup quick oats
- 1 cup cracker crumbs
- 3 eggs
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon onion salt
- 1 teaspoon garlic salt
- Salt and pepper
- BARBECUE SAUCE
- 2 cups ketchup
- 3 /4 cup brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon mustard
- 1 tablespoon vinegar
- 1 1 /2 teaspoon liquid smoke
- In a large bowl, combine the ground venison, milk, oats, cracker crumbs, eggs, and seasonings.
- Stir or knead until the meat mixture is well-combined.
- Shape the meat into 1 1 /2 inch balls.
- Place the balls on cookie sheets and bake at 350°F until no longer pink inside, approx 15-20 minutes.
- In a Dutch oven, combine the ketchup, brown sugar, mustard, vinegar, and liquid smoke.
- Stir until well-combined and heat over medium, stirring frequently, until near boiling Add the meatballs to the sauce, reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until ready to serve.