We spent an enjoyable hour watching a “field to table” demonstration at the Ragley Hall Game Fair. The demo was given by Jose Souto, keen stalker and chef, and Mike Robinson, restaurateur and game enthusiast.
And before going further, if you’re squeamish about butchery, you might want to skip this particular blog entry!
It all started with a deer that Jose Souto had recently shot. The carcass, still in its fur, was stored in a rather magnificent game fridge.
Then we were talked through the skinning process in detail, from this:
… to this:
And the meat nicely cut into joints and steaks.
The trimmings and second class cuts were scrupulously put aside for casseroles and mince. Nothing was wasted. One of the great things about game is respect for the animal. Not just deer, but everything from wood-pigeons to wild boar lead free lives, meet a clean and instant death, and we treat the harvested meat with care.
I like that. Ever since we began to rear chickens we’ve been a lot less wasteful of meat and fish. It’s only too easy to view it as a cheap commodity, but it really isn’t, as this demonstration highlighted.
At the beginning of the demo, Rachel Green had fired up a huge Monolith ceramic kamado grill.
Now she marinaded and grilled some of the venison steaks to perfection.
And yes, we did grab a sample to try. More than delicious – out of this world.
Oh, and I couldn’t resist buying a copy of Jose Souto’s book on venison. It is a most magnificent book on the history and current state of English deer, as well as covering the preparation and cooking of venison. And Steve Lee’s photographs are superb.