Alternative Thanksgiving Meats: Venison

Tired of turkey? Replace the bird with one of these four sustainable wild meats (plus one vegan alternative)

Cooked venison.     Photo: Rus S/Shutterstock

While most non-hunters use the word "venison" to refer to deer meat, it can actually refer to elk and moose as well. Master climber and Black Diamond Equipment representative Russ Clune has been hunting all three for 15 years. White-tailed deer run rampant near his Catskills home, but elk and moose bring him to out to Colorado and Alaska, respectively. To temper wild venison’s liver-like taste and toughness, soak it in a vinegar-water mixture or purchase younger farmed meat, which is more tender and less gamey. With venison's deep color and rich taste, Clune says less is more when it comes to cooking it. “But when I feel real fancy,” he says, “I make this raspberry-butter sauce to top it.” You can cook this recipe with deer or elk, whichever you have in your freezer.

VENISON LOIN WITH RASPBERRY-BUTTER SAUCE
1. In a large bowl, make a marinade by combining 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil with cracked black pepper, kosher salt, and garlic, onion and ginger powders to taste.
2. Trim silver skin from 2-pound venison loin, rub it in marinade and refrigerate for 4 hours.
3. Roast in 350-degree Fahrenheit oven until the meat’s internal temperature is rare- to medium-rare.
4. In a saucepan, combine a half-stick of butter, 1/3 of a jar of raspberry preserves and 1/3 cup of water, and heat until a thick liquid.
5. Slice loin, and drizzle sauce over meat.

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