Yes, deer… all you need to know about venison


If you are a meat eater, is there a choice you can make which ticks the ethical and environmental boxes?  And what exactly is a “pestatarian”?  Read on to find out more.


Earlier this year the Tasmanian government allowed our supplier, Lenah Game Meats, to commence harvesting and processing wild deer for sale in Tasmania.


Known as the ‘king of meats, and the meat of kings’, deer was introduced here very early on in European settlement, for hunting.  Their numbers grew over the decades to the point where they have become a significant problem for farmers and the environment.


Now the ban on harvesting and processing wild deer in Tasmania has been lifted, which will go a little way to slowing this problem and lessening the waste that occurs in culling deer in Tasmania each year.


The term ‘pestatarian’ describes those who prefer to consume invasive species – such as deer, rabbits, hares, wild boar and sea urchin  –  because it offers a more sustainable and ethical alternative to industrial farming practices. Kirsha Kaechele’s book Eat the Problem sets it all out in full colour.


Lenah Game Meats is widely known for its wallaby products and we are now delighted to be also offering its wild Tasmanian venison range consisting of steaks, mince and diced venison, as well as venison and duck sausages.


Tasmania’s deer population is fallow deer, a species regarded as producing the very best eating venison.  Venison is a red meat with a subtle gamey flavour, high in protein and low in fat. Pestatarian or not, venison is an excellent choice of protein for many reasons – a major one being, it’s delicious!


Venison can be cooked slow or fast.  Whole joints can be cooked whole or diced and browned before slow cooking. Venison may be marinated for up to 24 hours before slow cooking to enhance the flavour and help tenderise the meat. Mince and diced venison can be substituted for beef in any recipe – even Bolognese or ragout.  Venison shepherd’s pie or goulash is a wonderful addition to your winter home menu, as is venison stew – simply braise some browned, cubed venison shoulder or leg with vegetables in a combination of stock, wine and bay leaves for at least 5 hours in a low-medium oven; the meat should be wonderfully tender. If making venison burgers, you might like to add in some cubed bacon to ensure a juicy moist burger. Venison steak is best cooked and served medium rare.  

Venison goes with mushroom, turnip, beetroot, parsnip, juniper, chestnuts, polenta, potatoes, celeriac, dark chocolate, figs, and red cabbage.  Match with a red burgundy, pinot noir, cabernet merlot or shiraz, an open fire and a comfortable couch for dozing on after lunch.

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