6 April 2018

Simple Butchering & Cooking Of Venison

Young stag, most likely killed by a car. 2/3 days dead. Body in good
condition, outside and inside. Cold air temp keeping meat well preserved.
Took two hind legs, with the utmost respect for the animal. Then took the
body off the road to lie discreetly in the heather, ready to feed fox and bird.
Skinned.
Hung for five days in cool place.
With a little care while skinning (sharp blade and small'ish knife) the skin
will come off neatly.
Hot and settled fire, with red hot ember base. This is two hours after lighting.
Freshly cut green withies, in this case sally willow. One of the few times it is
alright to cut a living bough. Green sappy wood will not burn easy, which
is what you want for your spits.
Using one spit or two spits will depend on your meat size and shape. In this
case two spits were needed to spread the meat out evenly to ensure even
heat and cooking.
You will see two spits here and two forks. Spits are de-barked and sharpened
to slide easily through meat. Make sure your timber is not toxic, for example
not yew wood.
Take your time to really securely set up forks and spits, possibly using
heavy rocks. After all your work butchering, skinning and fire lighting
you do not want a flimsy cooking arrangement dumping your meat into
the mud or the fire.
Five hours cooking, cooked hot and well all the way through. Test and taste
the meat as you go. What you want to avoid is burnt on outside and
under cooked on inside. Hold your hand to heat at a point where after 5
seconds the heat is too much for you. This distance from fire is ideal for
cooking.
Flip the meat over on the spits from time to time, so the top side of joint gets
equal cooking to bottom side. Play around with your spits, forks and
rocks for this. The righthand spit here shows another method for getting
your spit height just right.
Ready to go. Good to mention taking meat from a dead animal, and even
more so when taking an animal's life, should be done with the utmost respect
to the animal. Even catching and killing a fish should be done with a little
sadness and a lot of respect - it is giving up it's life to feed you.
Using strong green sap-filled withies prevents them burning. You can see here
just a little scorching after five hours of use.

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