I am a huge fan of game meat. Although much tougher and often have a very strong scent to them, I believe they have much more flavour and the farm raised meat. An animal I particularly enjoy is Venison (Deer). Although they are sold in selected butchery shops in Toronto, my fondest memory of retrieving this meat is via roadkill. Over the summer and fall season en-route home from Montreal to Toronto you often find Deer on the side of the road. Depending on your luck, the animal was recently killed and the meat is still good. To answer your question, “Yes”, it is league in Canada to retrieve roadkill as long as you register with Ministry of Natural Resources. Normally, these animals are too big to take whole and the best option is to butcher them on the spot and retrieve the cuts you want. Being on the side of the road, you want to be able to butchery the animal quickly and move on. Thus, ideally you want the rear legs. The leg comprises of several different possible cuts including the shank, the round and the rump.
How to Butcher a Deer. (n.d.). Retrieved January 31, 2016, from http://www.chefdepot.net/agingwildgame.htm
Of these cuts, I have chosen the shank. The shank is usually the cheapest part of the venison as it is usually the toughest and has the least amount of meat. In the Vietnamese culture these shanks are slowly braised to make a stew which is used as the base of a hotpot meal. This venison hotpot is perfect for the cool fall weather. It’s even great during the hot summer days when you just want to sweat profusely.
ROADKILL TIP: Let someone else hit the animal – or your car repair bill may not be worth the meat.
Venison the Game Meat
Venison is the name for any game meat that come from an antlered animal. Among these antlered animals is deer. (1) Deer are domestic to Canada and there are many variety in Ontario. The most commonly hunted in Ontario is white-tailed deer. Other species include mule deer, caribou, elk and moose. (1) In Ontario, you are able to hunt both Does and Bucks; however, hunting Does and Fawns are strictly regulated. (2) They all have very similar anatomy and, in my opinion, have very similar taste. There are also many placed in Ontario that raise White-Tailed Deer. (3) Because they are difficult to obtain, the venison meat that you find in markets, restaurants and hotels are farm-raised. Although, there are many farms in Canada and around the world that raise deer, it is still considered a game meat as it still carries much of the characteristics of game meat. (1) Venison meat that coming from animals that have been hunted cannot be sold in Canada but can be enjoyed by the hunter and friends. (1) The shank is a cut of meat that comes from the rear or the front legs of the animal. The shank generally starts from the ankle of the leg and extends just above the knee of the animal. The shanks are usually used as grounded meat or cut into Osso Bucco cuts. Osso Bucco cuts are round, steak like cuts with the bone in. The shank also has a lot of cartilage that make the meat very tough. In addition, shanks tend to not have a lot of meat.
“Ossobucco Cut” (n.d.). Retrieved January 31, 2016, from http://www.feed.com.br/mundo-da-carne/cultura/ossobuco-conheca-todo-o-sabor-desse-corte-de-origem-italiana/
(1) Welcome to Ontario Venison. (n.d.). Retrieved January 31, 2016, from http://www.ontariovenison.ca/
(2) WHITE-TAILED DEER. (n.d.). Retrieved January 31, 2016, from https://www.ontariotravel.net/en/play/hunting/hunting-species/white-tailed-deer
Buying Venison Shank
Discuss cooking methods that can be applied to this cut and the reasons why these methods are suitable.
The shank are generally is a very cheap cut from the venison. The current price for “100% Grassfed Red Deer Venison Shank” is $9.99 per lb. (3) The shank have very tough meat with lots of elastin and cartilage. The best way to utilize the cut is a slow cooking method using the bones for added flavour. An alternative to this would be to ground the meat to make a burger or a sausages. However, because of the limited amount of meat on shanks, it is not the best way to utilize. This is because the majority of the flavour and weight come from the bone of the shank.
(3) (n.d.). Retrieved January 31, 2016, from http://www.realfoodtoronto.com/new-zealand-grassfed-venison-shank.html
Cooking Venison Shank
Vietnamese Style Venison Shank Stew
|Venison Shank, Ossobucco cut||500g|
|Large Onion, finely chopped||250g|
|Shallots, peeled||12 Whole|
|Fresh Ginger, crushed, 3cm||1|
|Garlic Cloves, crushed||4 cloves|
|Chinese Five Spice||20g|
|Cinnamon Stick||1 Piece|
|Star Anise||3 Pieces|
|Lemongrass Stems||2 Pieces|
|Dark Soy Sauce||20g|
|Unsmoked Sweet Paprika||5g|
|Strong Beef Stock (Water can be replacement)||500mL|
|Carrots, peeled & cut, Large Mirepoix||300g|
|Sweet Potatoes, peeled & diced||150g|
|1. Put Venison Shanks into a large pot and cover with cold water. Bring the pot to a boil and cook for 5 mins to clean the venison shanks. Strain shanks and set aside.|
|2. Fry the onion and whole shallots until the onions begins to brown, then add the ginger, garlic, five spice, cinnamon, star anise, and lemon grass and stir well.|
|3. Stir in the fish sauce, soy sauce, paprika, sugar, stock, carrots, sweet potato and venison shanks|
|4. Cover and simmer very gently for 1½-2 hours, stirring occasionally until the shank meat is tender|
|5. Stew can be served with rice, use as a base for hotpot or eaten with bread.|