Whenever you kill a whitetail deer, you have the option of selecting the best meat cuts to cook with. Although the common misconception is that the best meat is the tenderloin and backstrap, there are other delicious cuts that you can enjoy too. Here, MeatEater ranks some of our favorite, underrated cuts: Eye-of-round: This long, cylindrical cut is sandwiched between the top and bottom round. The eye-of-round is easily identifiable because it’s separated from the other two parts by the fascia.
The front shoulder: The front shoulder is another cut that’s often overlooked. This substantial part of the deer is perfect for making steaks. And because there’s no ball-and-socket joint, it can be easily removed without a saw. The front legs are also great to use for fondue. The chest section of a deer can be cut into steaks or used for a bone-in roast.
Shank: While many people grind and discard the shank, it is actually one of my favorite parts of the deer. It is full of sinew and connective tissue that makes it tough as shoe leather. If cooked well, it yields incredibly tender meat.
Tenderloin: If you’re looking for a tender steak, this is the cut to go for. It is the best cut of meat for steaks and can be sliced to make a filet mignon. Alternatively, you can cut the whole tenderloin into chops or sliced for a Porterhouse.
Front shoulders: The first part of the deer to butcher is the front shoulder. To do this, pull the front leg away from the torso. Next, make a cut parallel to the rib cage. Then, aim the knife strokes toward the hinge area.
The meat is a great source of protein and fat, and can be prepared in a variety of ways. It also makes a great jerky and sausage. However, you should take note that it is easy to dry out when cooked like beef. To avoid this problem, you should marinate the venison for at least three to four hours. Leaving it longer will cause the meat to turn gray and chewy.
For steaks, young deer are the best choice. A deer that spends most of its summer on corn and soybean fields is more likely to be tender and juicy. On the other hand, deer that spend their summer in big timber are not likely to have a large food supply to sustain its growth.