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Now what do you do with meat

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Most people who hunt, and I might add, hunt successfully, will sometimes ask themselves, "What am I going to do with all this meat?"

I personally do not ask myself that question, but my wife does. I plan to eat it. She is of the opinion a freezer should contain more than deer, turkey, ducks and pheasants. I have no problem with a year's supply of meat on hand. Vegetables and bread can be purchased on an as-needed basis.

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The duck and goose problem is a bit out of control. Last year's hunt in Louisiana provided us with what proved to be almost a lifetime supply of assorted ducks and geese. After fixing baked goose, Peking duck, and every other recipe we could find, we had just about met our limit on eating the results of a very successful hunt.

I happened to mention to a co-worker about our supply. He was both curious and excited. He had never eaten duck and thought they would make a good taco. Trying to encourage his enthusiasm, I took two ducks and two geese to him today. My wife was glad to have a bit more space in the freezer.

In my opinion, I have never had too much deer meat. If a person can still close the top of the freezer, it must be about right. There are unlimited amounts of recipes for venison, and if a recipe is not close at hand; make something up. Venison is as versatile as beef and just as good. The only difference between deer meat and beef is that there is less fat in the meat of a deer. A person has to be careful to not over cook good venison as it will get dry when grilled or fried.

Loins and rump roasts are obvious choices for good eating, but any part of a deer will make great jerky. Since we have such a liberal number of deer we can take each year, I have started the practice of having the first deer of the season made entirely into burger. I know this is a waste of perfectly good loin steaks and rump roasts, but I have found a person can never have too much ground meat on hand ready to be made into jerky. If the timing is right and the grandsons do not show up the day the first batch is made, we have delicious nutritious snacks for shotgun season.

Jerky can be made from whole muscle meat, sliced into thin strips or from ground meat. I prefer using ground meat since it is much easier and I am basically lazy. I have mine put into two pound packages because one is not nearly enough. If you have children in the house, you may want to start with four pounds. There are people who like to mix their own seasoning and cure, but I have found the pre-packaged and pre-measured mixes provide the most consistent results. Even though some of the mixes do not call for it, I always let mine flavor for 12-24 hours. I use a nice jerky shooter that looks like a caulk gun to form the strips or rolls. Place them in a food de-hydrator or in the oven until done.

People who will not eat wild game will be begging you to make more jerky. My personal favorite seasoning mix is made by Nesco, which I have only found at True Value hardware stores. A close second is High Mountain, which can be found in most grocery stores or outdoors catalogs.

In spite of what a person's wife says, there is never a question of what to do with a freezer full of wild game.

Walter Scott is an outdoors enthusiast and freelance writer from Bloomfield, Iowa.

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