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Sweetest meat found close to bone/Woods, water & worse

Woods, water & worse

December 9, 2011
By Jim Junttila , The Daily Mining Gazette

You don't have to be a hunter to have heard the old chestnut, "the sweetest meat is always closest to the bone."

"It's why we are such hardcore carnivores." said WW&W wild game correspondent and chef Barbie Cue. "We love to gnaw on hot, juicy pork and beef ribs, T-bone steaks, pork chops, turkey legs, chicken and wings, yet a lotta hunters, butchers and meat processors routinely trim the sweetest meat off the ribs of their deer and grind it into venison burger and makara."

Now don't get me wrong; I love my Yooper high-speed beef burger, makara and chili, but I am just as fonda ribs and I'm fixin' to tell you how to fix 'em. That's how they do it down south, and the fixin' is the fun part.

A lotta lucky hunters hit their mark at deer camp and have freezers chock fulla fresh venison steak, roast, chops, burger, booyaw and makara for the winter. That's Yooper security, along with a good woodpile to keep the house warm and the sauna stoked.

Another leading Yooper economic security indicator is how busy local butchers and deer processors are. Paul Lewis, Bootjack, (296-8891), has been busier than a one-legged man at a butt-kicking party since Opening Day.

"I take in about 20 deer a day during the firearm season, and stay busy through muzzleloader and late archery seasons," Paul said. "I did about 400 deer last season and this year looks about the same. I cut from the September Youth Hunt right on through to the first of January," he added.

I am a big fan of his venison makara; pepper jack and summer sausage, brats, links, the whole enchilada.

"A lotta guys butcher their own bucks and there are friendly booyaw cook-off competitions among deer camps and backroads bars to see who can brew the tastiest stew," Barbie Cue continued. "I'd like to know who makes the best venison booyaw, chili, spaghetti sauce and jambalaya in the Keweenaw, wouldn't you?"

"I'd put my barbeque sauce and smoked jerky up against anybody's," she challenged all comers.

I enjoyed some pretty good smoke on Thanksgiving myself. There was smoked turkey, smoked splake with capers and cream cheese, smoked gouda, smoked venison backstrap and makara, washed down with Mike Dudenas' high-octane homemade chokecherry wine.

Am I making you hungry yet?

Back to those meaty, juicy melt-in-your-mouth venison ribs that pretty much cook themselves. Left on the ribcage, the brisket will double or triple your meat-to-bone ratio, making your ribs look and taste more like babybacks.

If you do your own butchering, keep your knife clear of the brisket meat between the shoulder and ribcage, where the brisket is the thickest. Detach the ribs from the sternum by cutting through the cartilage, then separate each rib from the other. Cut the ribs lengthwise with a cleaver.

For best results, trim away the outer fat to remove gamey flavor. If you take your deer to a processor, ask him to save your ribs with the brisket attached. Many don't save the ribs and grind up the brisket for burger and makara. It takes no more time to trim your own ribs then to cut the meat off for burger.

BBQ & Beer Baked Venison Ribs {Serves 4}

4 lbs ribs

24 oz your favorite BBQ sauce

2 -12 oz cans beer

Preheat oven to 350. Combine BBQ sauce and beer in 9x12-inch baking dish. Arrange ribs in single layer, cover in sauce. Cover tightly with foil and bake for 2-1/2 hrs. Serve with mixed mashed potatoes and rutabaga.

Stuffed & Grilled Bacon-Wrapped Venison Steaks

6-8 1/4-inch thick venison steaks

6-8 strips bacon



jalapeno or peppers of your choice

Lawrey's wild game rub & seasoning

Rub each venison steak on both sides with Lawrey's or your favorite rub and seasoning. Put sliced pepper, mushroom and garlic on each steak. Fold over enclosing ingredients. Wrap bacon strips around each steak, insert toothpick to hold it all together. Cook on grill for 15 minutes.

Deli Style Corned Venison {Serves 6-8}

4-6 lbs venison, any cut

5 tbsp Morton Tender Quick

2 tbsp brown sugar

1 tbsp black pepper

1 tbsp ground bay leaves

1 tsp paprika

1 tsp allspice

1 tsp garlic powder

Trim surface tallow from brisket. Mix ingredients in bowl and rub mixture into all sides of brisket. Place brisket in plastic bag and tie ends securely. Refrigerate and allow to cure 5 days. Place cured brisket in dutch oven, add water to cover, bring to boil, reduce heat, simmer until tender about 3-4 hours.

As Barbie Cue and rib connoisseurs everywhere like to say, "Bone Appetit!"

Jim can be reached 24/7/365 at jjunttila@



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