The A to Z About Smoking Deer Meat

Did you know that you can smoke deer meat and that it is going to taste really great? There are so many people that don’t really know how to prepare venison meat correctly. Especially, when it comes to deer meat.

When you are smoking deer meat, you are taking the wild taste out of the meat, and ensure that it tastes as great as any other smoked meat. Tender and full of flavor. However, there are a couple of secrets to smoking deer meat and other venison meat in order to have the tastiest meat ever. This is everything you need to know about smoking deer meat and other venison meat.

Can Deer Meat Really Be Smoked?

If you never have tried smoked deer meat before, then you are going to love your first taste of smoked venison. Especially, if you have prepared it correctly.

We all know that deer and other venison meat can be tough and dry to eat if you don’t prepare it correctly. And, that most people prefer cooking it for hours before it will taste delicious. However, smoked deer has a completely different taste, and it is an easy way to ensure that all your venison meat is enjoyable.

Tips That You Should Consider When Smoking Venison Meat Like Deer

smoking deer meat temperatures

There are a couple of things that you should make sure about before you can start smoking your deer and other venison meat. This is essential tips that you should not leave out and that might end up ruin your deer smoked meat.

The first thing that you should remember is that removing fat from venison is essential. Unlike other meat, the fat on venison isn’t tasting great. It has a taste that will ruin your meat. Even, if you enjoy eating meat with a bit of fat on. Not if you are preparing venison and deer meat. Then, you should remove all the small pieces of fat.

The second thing that you should always remember is to brine your meat for 24 to 48 hours. There are many different methods and recipes available for brining. The brining is going to tenderize your meat, and ensuring that the meat is moisturized and full of flavor. Something that is essential in smoking venison. And, the one secret that many people don’t know about.

What Wood Do You Need for Smoking Your Venison Meat?

Experienced smokers will know that different wood is giving different smoking flavors. And, that certain meat does require different wood for the best tasting smoked meat.

This is the same when it comes to venison meat. Most experienced smokers prefer to make use of a variety of different wood. This is the great thing about venison meat. At the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter what type of wood you are using. However, this is the wood that is recommended:

  • Oak
  • Cherry
  • Apple
  • Maple
  • Hickory

Step by Step Guide in Smoking Your Deer Meat

smoking deer meat recipes

With this step by step guide is smoking your deer meat, you will not make any mistakes in smoking your deer meat or any other venison meat for that matter.

  • The first thing that you should do, is to brine your meat beforehand. As said before 24-48 hours before smoking your meat, you should brine your meat in your favorite brine.
  • Then, you should prepare your smoker. By adding the wood chips that you want, and reheating the smoker to the required temperature. If possible, you should set your heating to indirect heat or medium heat.
  • Adding the deer meat to the smoker and make sure that the heat of the smoker stays between 250°F and 300°F.
  • Depending on the size of the meat, you will need at least an hour and a half smoking time per lb. until the meat is smoked through. The temperature of the meat should be at least 140°F.
  • You should rest the meat for 20 minutes before you cut the meat. This is to make sure that the meat is staying as moist as possible.

Safety Issues That You Need to Remember When Smoking Venison Meat

Remember that it is really important that the inside of the meat should reach a temperature of 140°F before you can say that the meat is smoked through. With meat and poultry, this temperature is essential to know for sure that the meat and poultry are safe to eat. This is especially important when it comes to venison meat like deer.

Yes, you can smoke deer meat, and you will be surprised about how great it will taste. This is if you know how to smoke it correctly. With this A to Z guide, you will know everything there is to know to smoke the best tasting deer and venison meat. Enjoying your venison meat completely for the first time.

How Long to Smoke Ribs?

There is nothing better than eating smoke ribs. Especially, if you have smoked it yourself. This is if you have smoked it correctly, and for the right time. There are a couple of things that you need to know when you are smoking ribs. One of these things is the time that you should smoke your ribs for. For most ribs, the recommended smoking times are between 3 to 5 hours.

With this complete guide for the time needed for smoking ribs and some other tips to ensure that your ribs are going to be as tasty as possible. It is easy to smoke ribs for the first time, but only if you know all the tips and secrets to smokey ribs.

Will All Types of Ribs Need the Same Smoking Time?

People are smoking venison ribs, beef ribs, and pork ribs. Should the ribs need the same amount of time, or does the different types of ribs need different smoking times?

At the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter what type of ribs you are going to smoke. It can be venison, beef or even pork. The smoking time will not depend on the type of rib you have. There are other things that will depend on how long the ribs should be smoked. People like to say that they are smoking their venison ribs an hour longer than with their pork ribs. However, this isn’t really how things work with smoking.

Things That Will Influence the Time That Ribs Need to Be Smoked

how long to smoke ribs at 250

There are a couple of things that are influencing the time that ribs need to be smoked. And, if you don’t know these things that will influence these things, you will not be able to enjoy your smokey ribs.

The first thing that will influence the time that your ribs need, is how big your ribs are. The larger the ribs, the longer it will take to be smoked. It might also be a great idea to cut the ribs in two if this is one large piece of rib that you want to smoke.

The other thing that will influence the time that your ribs need to be smoked, is the thickness of the ribs. Especially the thickness of the bones. The thicker the bones, the longer it will take to get the right temperature within the meat.

Tips for Smoking the Best Tasting Ribs

how long to smoke ribs at 200

Now that you know what will influence the length that your ribs will need to be smoked, you might want to know other tips that will make your ribs even tastier. Sometimes, the time that your smoking your ribs, isn’t the only thing you need to know to enjoy your ribs. These are some tips that you should remember as well.

  • You should keep an eye on your ribs and baste it with your marinade or even beer every 45 minutes to an hour. This is to make sure that the ribs don’t dry out. This is essential with beef and pork ribs.
  • The higher the quality rib, the better the rib is going to taste. Grade A rib is always the best one to purchase if you are going to smoke it. If the rib has a small layer of fat on, it is so much better.
  • The seasoning and marinade for the rib are also essential. This is going to influence the taste of the rib. So, testing different flavors until you find a combination that you like, is recommended.
  • You can over-smoke your ribs. And, then it is going to have a burning taste. Then, your ribs will be ruined. This is why you should make sure that you are checking your ribs frequently.
  • It is sometimes better to lower the heat of your smoker and smoke the ribs for longer. Then, it will not burn or dry out.

Conclusion. How Long Should You Smoke Your Ribs

The general rule for smoking ribs is that you should smoke the rib at medium heat for at least three hours to five hours. It depends on how thick and large the ribs are. However, you don’t want to just know how long you should smoke ribs. You also want to know other tips to ensure that your ribs are tasting as great as possible. The type of ribs and the marinade and spices of the ribs are just as important.

Many people are asking experienced smokers how long should they smoke ribs. The thing is that you can’t just say three hour or four hours. There are things that you should take in consideration before you can decide how long it will take to smoke your ribs.

With this guide, you will get to know how long it is going to take to smoke ribs, and you will get some other tips to ensure that your ribs are going to taste great.

Is that Beef or Horse Meat in Your Burger?

Is that Beef or Horse Meat in Your Burger?

For all those sitting back watching the horse meat scandal spread like fire across European countries thinking it couldn’t happen here in the US, consider this:

After weeks of adamant denials in the UK, Burger King finally fessed up and admitted they have been serving so called “beef” burgers containing horse meat to their British customers for nobody knows how long. A monster global chain, Burger King has zillions of restaurants around the world including just about every city and town in the USA.

After another global chain Aldi also announced between 30% to 100% horse meat had somehow found it’s way into their meat patties, lasagna and spaghetti bolognese, they banned the stuff from their stores in Ireland and the UK.  As it happens here in little old NY we also have an Aldi store not far from my apartment. In fact there are at least 1200 Aldis around our country. Their horse meat tainted products were sold under the Selfus brand. When I checked Aldi’s brand list here in America, Selfus was not listed either because all their products had already been removed from Aldis USA or they were never there in the first place.

Just because Burger King and Aldi are international corporations selling their food around the world, that doesn’t mean their products (including their dodgy horse meat meals) are interchangeable across borders. Different countries after all have different tastes, preferences, styles and ways of doing business. More universal foods, however, can easily jump borders with packaging altered to fit different country’s expectations.

One might be under the impression, given their experience and humungous budgets, these giant corporations conduct their business in highly streamlined ways no matter their location.  A quick glance at the available facts surrounding this horse meat scandal in Europe however instantly dispels that quaint notion.

The complex journey of the horse meat adulterated food is difficult to follow (on purpose?) and highly unsettling. According to Financial Times (paywall link): “The Findus products revealed to contain horsemeat … came from a Comigel factory in Luxembourg. Comigel in turn was supplied with meat from a company in southwestern France called Spanghero, whose parent [company] is called Poujol.” Benoît Hamon, France’s consumer affairs minister, said “that Poujol ‘acquired the frozen meat from a Cypriot trader, which had sub-contracted the order to a trader in the Netherlands. The latter was supplied from an abbatoir and butcher located in Romania.’”

If this isn’t a recipe for food disaster somewhere along the line, what is? And with a tangled difficult to trace trail like that, tacking the US onto this kind of shadowy, convoluted chain of horse meat manipulation wouldn’t be any more surprising than the rest of the story.

Foods Containing Beaver Anal Glands: Don’t Ask!

A while back I wrote about the presence of hair, beetles and beaver anal glands in the foods we eat. Of the three, beaver anal glands, a whiffy combo of glands and urine that beavers use to mark their territory, captured by far the biggest share of people’s attention. Since then numerous search queries have hit my blog seeking a list of specific foods containing these glands, which are ground up into a product known as castoreum used in raspberry, strawberry and, most often, in vanilla flavoring.

As it happens no up to date consumer list of specific foods containing castoreum exists anywhere. Why? Well to start out, would you buy a food product if you knew it contained beaver anal glands? These glands are not exactly anyone’s idea of a heavenly nosh. Anticipating this, the food industry managed to get castoreum added to foods under that innocuous, legal and sometimes not so innocent label: “natural flavoring”. So even if castoreum IS present in foods and beverages like ice cream, yogurt and soda, you and I will never know it. Nor will any food manufacture divulge this info if you contact them(why nix sales?). They will inform you that THEY never add castoreum to their foods and beverages. If pressed, they will probably add they can’t of course speak for their vendors, who supply them with flavorings containing ingredients that are proprietary information.

After Jamie Oliver, a British chef with a large following, appeared on the David Letterman Show last year and mentioned that vanilla ice cream was made with castoreum, the Vegetarian Resource Group (VRG) contacted 5 manufactures of vanilla flavoring to ask if there was any truth to this statement. All five manufacturers said no, that castoreum is not used today in any form of vanilla for human use.

On the other hand, Fenaroli’s handbook of flavor ingredients (a $340 industry eBook) published in 2005, provides a list of reported foods and beverages containing castoreum extract:

Reported Uses PPM (parts per million) (Fema* 1994):

Food CategoryUsualMax
Alcoholic Beverages79.5993.69
Baked Goods62.2868.47
Gelatins, Puddings43.5847.34
Soft Candy37.2844.10
Frozen Dairy24.3926.26
Nonalcoholic Beverages24.2129.77
Hard Candy24.1724.17
Chewing Gum18.6042.09

So what are we to believe? Are beaver anal glands still being used to flavor foods and beverages or not? And If so, how much and which foods? How about it, Food Industry?

*Flavor and Extract Manufacturers Association

Hair, Beetles and Beaver Anal Glands in our Food

Hair, Beetles and Beaver Anal Glands in our Food

Doesn’t sound like very tasty eating, right? Well, according to Bruce Bradley, a former food executive, these questionable ingredients have been given more pleasant-sounding names and added to processed foods labeled “all natural”. So all those “natural” foods you’ve been eating lately under the assumption they’re purer and healthier can easily contain any of these three additives without you knowing they’re there.

  • Ever noticed any yogurts or beverages SO vibrantly red, they looked as though a scarlet neon wand had colored them. Their labels usually list Carmine, Crimson Lake or Natural Red #4 coloring. Which happen to be industry synonyms for a red food dye made of crushed cochineal beetles.
  • Speaking of beetles, the critters also make an appearance in sweets on ultra shiny candies and sprinkles. Produced from secretions of the female Lac bug, they can be spotted on food labels under the far homier-sounding “Confectioner’s Glaze”.
  • How could anyone, you wonder, intentionally add human hair and/or duck feathers (called Cystine in Process Food-land) to the food we eat. Especially considering how one little hair in food can freak us out. I give you the bread and baked foods industry that uses the ground up stuff to “improve” the texture of their products and because Cystine is considered a natural ingredient by the FDA, no one who buys baked foods will suspect it’s full of hair and feathers.  (This unsettling info is added to the equally unsettling recent news about wood pulp being added to bread, the long  respected staff of life that’s looking less respectable by the minute)
  • Last and certainly not least we get to those beaver anal glands, an odiferous combo of glands and urine that beavers use to mark their territory. The process food people instead use this charmer called Castoreum to spike up vanilla and raspberry flavoring in food and beverages. Surprise –you’ll never find those glands listed on any food label in any store. You will however find it legally buried under that familiar disguise called “Natural Flavoring”.

If you attempt to contact any food companies to inquire if Castoreum is present in a specific food, you will be informed — as Bradley was — that food processors don’t explicitly use Castoreum.  Because All their flavors are vendor supplied and proprietary information, the companies oh so conveniently can’t speak for their vendors.

If you sense food manufacturers in their quest for richer profits are putting up ever-higher barriers between the public and the truth about the foods they produce, Bradley would agree with you. And as a former food-marketing insider at multinational corporations, he should know.

So How Much Wood Pulp Did You Eat Today?

If you started your day with Aunt Jemima’s blueberry pancakes, chowed down on a McDonald’s fish patty for lunch, snacked on a Weight Watcher’s Ice Cream Sandwich, polished off a Kraft’s Macaroni & Cheese for dinner and sipped a beddie-bye cup of Nestle’s hot chocolate, chances are you ate a decent helping of wood pulp. Processed from that pulp into a food extender, cellulose (the white powder shown above) is being substituted for costlier ingredients in more and more of America’s processed foods. An industry insider estimates that food producers save as much as 30% using cellulose over more expensive extenders like oats and sugar cane fibers. The Street put out a partial list of manufacturers featuring cellulose in a surprising range of products.

While I’ve long noticed cellulose listed on various food ingredient labels, I only recently discovered the stuff was actually made out of gritty wood pulp. Which doesn’t sound like it would be too terrific for one’s digestion. Which in fact it isn’t. Cellulose is indigestible which makes it, according to food manufacturers, a great, cheap sugar substitute for low sugar items so popular with consumers.  Because it mimics fat so well, cellulose is also increasingly being shoveled onto the low-fat food bandwagon.

Beyond being used as an extender, cellulose also makes ice cream taste creamier, imparts a smooth mouthfeel and consistency to salad dressings, provides a firmer texture to baked goods and helps prevent clumping in shredded cheese.

Versatile as all get out, cellulose is also spun into vastly different products such as pet litter, automotive brake pads, glue, plastics, detergents, welding electrodes, construction materials, roof coating, asphalt and emulsion paints, among  other-um, interesting items.

But have no fear (as of today at least). The FDA has waved it’s “safe for human consumption” wand over cellulose in the food on America’s plates. And they have found no reason to limit the amounts that can be added to  food products. A director of research at J. Rettenmaier USA, a cellulose supplier, exclaimed that he had never dreamed a loaf of bread could now contain 18% of cellulose fiber. (Saving that bread manufacturer the cost of wheat for 18% of all the bread rolling down his line.)

All this may be fine by you. As for me, I can’t help feeling something’s not quite right about eating a piece of bread that contains 18% of processed wood pulp, a concoction also used to crank out asphalt, plastic, detergents and pet litter.

How do you feel about the growing use of cellulose in foods?

Delicious One Dish Meals for a Song!

Delicious One Dish Meals for a Song!
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I like to spend as little time in the kitchen as possible, so economical one dish meals are by far my favorite to cook. My ideal recipes contain three key ingredients: a protein, a carb and veggies. Also required is simplicity. I want to get that grub together in that pot one two three and I don’t want to run all over town searching for ingredients. I also want plenty left over to freeze for additional meals. The icing on the cake, of course, is ending up with only one main pot to clean.

Here are five recipes that hit my culinary spot. Their ingredients may be simple, but their combined textures and flavors are full bodied and heartily satisfying:

Beef and veggie stir-fry: Southern Living~ Featuring a colorful combo of veggies: asparagus, carrots, bell pepper, mushrooms and scallions and flavored with garlic, soy sauce, sesame oil, and hoisin sauce, this stir fry meal takes only minutes to cook. Served over rice, it’s also versatile. You can substitute your favorite veggies or even omit the meat if that’s your pleasure. Unlike restaurant take-out, you can be assured all the ingredients are of super quality and prepared with your own high standards of care and attention.

Lentil stew with butternut squash: Good Housekeeping ~ Around since Neolithic times (don’t ask me the date, but it sounds like forever), super economical and healthy, lentils are low in saturated fat, cholesterol and sodium.They’re also an excellent source of protein and dietary Fiber. This stew paired with butternut squash, another healthy heavyweight, packs a powerhouse nutritional punch. The only herb called for is 1/2 teaspoon of dried rosemary. While it does have Romano cheese shavings for zing, I’d sample it for flavor and if it seems a little too tame I’d add some additional favorite herbs — maybe thyme, basil or cumin — a bit at a time. Not having a slow cooker, I’d simmer this on the burner and start testing it for tenderness after about 30 or 40 minutes.

Potato, sausage and kale frittata: Food and Wine ~ This gem of a recipe can be put together, cooked and brought to the table in 30 breezy minutes. Bursting with the protein of both eggs and sausages, it also incorporates potatoes for stick to the ribs carbs along with kale for a gutsy veggie. Parmesan cheese adds a pop of flavor. This is one of those rare satisfying meals that seems both light and robust at the same time.

Skillet lasagna: Food Network ~ This dish appeals to me for 2 big reasons. I adore lasagna, but rarely use my oven (it’s a pain taking out and replacing all my pots and pans every time I use it) so employing a skillet to cook lasagna on top of the stove has my name written all over it. I see the recipe calls for fresh tomatoes which might be a little tricky in the winter, so if it were me I might substitute canned tomatoes or (let me whisper here) prepared tomato sauce. Because the ingredients are all yummy to begin with, I can’t imagine even a neophyte cook messing up this one.

Short ribs, carrots, leeks and rice with lime: Robin Miller ~ If you’re looking for a perfect winter night meal, this hearty dish of slow-cooked braised ribs, carrots and leeks simmered with sherry, honey, garlic and ginger over brown rice is the ticket. Cooking can be done either in a crock pot or if your kitchen is bereft of that appliance, in a dutch oven on top of the stove which will take about half the time — three or four hours. The brown rice calls for the painless instant variety and the lime zest is a snappy flavor addition.

Sweet Potatoes – Numero Uno over Potatoes!

How many pesticides do you consume in a day? If you eat potatoes, instead of sweet potatoes, you chomp on lots more of these nasty chemicals. In fact potatoes contain so many pesticides (the EPA lists 90 for spuds) that removal of the skin, where the contaminants mostly hang out, is recommended. In an EWG list of the “Dirty Dozen” vegetables and fruits MOST contaminated with pesticides, potatoes come in at number 11.  In a superior list of the “Clean 15” LEAST contaminated veggies and fruits, sweet potatoes are at number 14.

On top of this, guess which one of the two veggies ranks number one in the nutrition department?  Yep, sweet potatoes. Based on a system of points given by CSPI for dietary fiber, natural sugars, complex carbohydrates, protein, vitamins and minerals and after deducting points for fat content, sodium and cholesterol, sweet potatoes score a whopping 184 points. This is FULL 100 points over the next nutritious vegetable, making sweet potatoes the undisputed Ruler of the healthful vegetable kingdom.

A 6-oz. sweet potato contains 214 calories.  With its’ super high nutrient value, it’s considered a beneficial substitute for starches and carbs and is recommended in three popular diets: the Atkins, Sugar Busters and South Beach Diets.

And when it come to comparing the taste of the two veggies, a baked sweet potato is delicious on its’ own, unlike a potato that cries out for the oomph and extra flavor of high calorie butter or sour cream.

Though potatoes in big sacks do have the edge on lower cost, the two root vegetables are pretty budget friendly.

Traveling both sweet and savory routes, cooked sweet potatoes also star in far more versatile dishes than potatoes. In the Epicurious recipe collection below, the Roasted Spiced Chicken with Cinnamon- and Honey-Glazed Sweet Potatoes sounds like a flavorful combo. Ditto for Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Onions with Rosemary and Parmesan. In the Atlantic’s 9 Sweet Potato Recipes, Sweet Potato Fries (actually baked) with Thyme, Parsley, and Garlic could be a winner for both meals and snacks. Among the yummy Sweet Potato Dessert Recipes are some pies that make my mouth water. Though I have been hearing about their luscious appeal for ages, I still have never tasted a sweet potato pie — an oversight I hope soon to correct.

Cheap Rich Proteins

Cheap Rich Proteins

With meat prices rising and bank balances hanging out in the sub-basement, some less costly protein substitutions are definitely in order. Here are four talented proteins that are super cheap, super rich in nutritional value and–equally appealing–super fast to get to the table. They are canned salmon, eggs, beans and peanuts.

I have always loved eggs and pretty much ignored their bad cholesterol rap. Mainly because I just couldn’t believe such a perfect whole food package untainted by preservatives or additives could be bad for you. And sure enough, recent studies show that eggs have been tarnished with an undeserved bad cholesterol label. Officially, they are again healthy for us.

They are also one of the least expensive proteins. Not to mention one of the most versatile. A snap to put together (always good), what’s more delicious and vitamin packed than a fluffy omelet sautéed with veggies. And what protein travels better than hard-boiled eggs in their shells or in egg salad sandwiches. And what protein better serves dieters than eggs, of which two equal a petite 136 calories. (They are one of my 20 Low Cost Slimming Snacks).

The second cheap-rich protein is canned salmon, which can’t be beat for simplicity. A couple of turns of the can opener. Then plop! Into a bowl. Then, if it’s my kitchen, it’s combined into one of two complete-meal salads. Either a room temperature pasta salad with fresh vegetables, black olives and vinaigrette dressing. Or a big green salad spiked with tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers and capers.

Four ounces of salmon pack a whopping 58% of daily protein requirements, plus an over the top 102% of daily vitamin D needs. Salmon is also chock full of omega 3 fatty acids, also present in fish oil capsules, those little items so often extolled as primo health supplements.

Another good thing about canned salmon is that it’s wild. It’s not raised on farms. Listing only two label ingredients-pink salmon and salt — the salmon I buy is caught in Alaskan waters. A refreshing thought.

With beans you have two choices. The more expensive canned or cheaper dried beans, which require soaking and longer cooking times. Happily, there’s little difference between nutritional content. Beans are rich in both fiber and antioxidant compounds. The darker the bean, the more nutritious. When combined with whole-wheat pasta or brown rice, they provide proteins comparable to meat and dairy foods without the latter’s high calories or saturated fats.

For a one-two-three, soul-satisfying meal (especially on chilly nights) I make up a big batch of soup that hits all the high nutritional notes. First, sauté some onion and garlic, then throw in chicken stock, canned beans (unrinsed–more flavor), canned tomatoes, a medley of thawed frozen vegetables, and a little pasta broken into fast-cooking bits to add a little more oomph. Add bay leaves plus a ton of thyme, basil, and oregano. Serve topped with a snowfall of Romano cheese and you have a great meal all in one pot, with plenty left over for additional meals.

And, of course, I also toss beans (rinsed this time) into complete-meal salads.

And now we come to peanuts, which are not nuts at all. They are in the legume family, their siblings being peas, lentils and beans. Another not well known fact about them: they are as rich in antioxidants as blackberries and strawberries.

In shells or roasted, they make healthy nibbles. And when you’re starving and must eat now, slap together that perennial favorite, a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Substituting bananas for jelly ups the nutrition content, cuts the calories and delivers a healthy shot of potassium. In place of bananas with peanut butter, you could also try honey, chopped apple or pear.

So give your wallets a break, your taste buds a treat and serve this protein packed quartet. Bon appetit!