These days, the media is full of reasons why we should be limiting our intake of red meat but there is perhaps one exception to the rule.
Unlike shop-bought meat which is often the product of intensive farming methods, imported from far away and always in plastic packaging, eating wild venison offers a viable alternative which is good for you and won’t cost the earth. Here at The Forge we are lucky enough to have a plentiful supply of deer for our courses, so we are big fans! Here are our top reasons to get your hands on the wild stuff if you can:
- The animals are happier: living a wild and free life, wandering about as nature intended, right up until the end means the meat is lean, tasty and above all tender, because there is no stressful slaughtering process, which causes the animals to release stress hormones which impact the flavour and tenderness of the meat. Culling deer as part of a sustainable deer management plan also ensures the health and well-being of the entire herd, minimising diseases and ill health caused by overpopulation.
- The meat is chemical free: the meat has no added growth hormones, antibiotics or other chemicals that are often present in shop bought meat. What you are getting is the meat, the whole meat and nothing but the meat!
- It is a superfood: venison contains a healthy source of complex proteins, rare for red meat, and usually only found in fish and some vegetables. It is also higher in iron and B vitamins and lower in calories and fat than beef. The fat that it does contain is full of Omega-3 fatty acids (a.k.a. good fat!).
- There are low food miles: rather than being transported here, there and everywhere before it arrives on your plate, wild venison can be fully traced back to where it lived and died, so you can feel 100% confident of its provenance and where it lived its happy life.
- It is plastic and waste free: wild meat does not require packaging. It can be stored happily in a chiller for up to a month and in the freezer for up to a year. You can also use all parts of the animal so nothing goes to waste: the hide can be tanned and used for rugs, bags or clothing, the antler can be used for tools and jewellery and the tallow (fat) for cooking and candles. And of course, the bones make excellent treats for any well-behaved puppy dogs!
If all this has whetted your appetite to find out more, we run Whole of the Deer courses several times a year at The Forge where you get hands-on experience of the whole process, from skinning the deer, butchering techniques, a cookery masterclass and the all-important outdoor banquet at the end (with red wine of course)! You even get to leave with wild meat that you have butchered yourself. Just make sure the dog doesn’t get his paws on it first!