Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Baltimore Foodmakers Venison Workshop

Here is a quick video of Saturday's venison workshop!

It was a little chilly outside, but there was warm cider, a warm bucket of water for washing the blood off our hands, and lots of friends. Chicken-Man and I even met someone with experience tanning deer hides who happily had a fleshing knife in his truck that he lent us to use on the hide hanging out in the cold weather on our back porch. Thanks, friend.

It was fun hanging out with everyone and sharing all parts of the deer. Everyone who wanted got hands on experience with a knife, and everything from the deer skull to the ribs got taken by someone (even if it was just the fatty bits and ribs that someone wanted to feed to the wild foxes on their property, or the skull for making a flower pot.)

DC-based forager Paula Smith was a force of nature who is clearly experienced in processing wild game. She talked about her personal decision to not eating supermarket meat because of the conditions in which they are raised and processed. You can hear some of her thoughts in the clip above.

In the video she talks about how people eat meat without ever really thinking about what's in those little plastic packages. The audio is a little rough because of the wind, but she is explaining how meat becomes more tender and flavorful after it is hung for at least a week.

When you hang meat, it loses water weight due to evaporation. Since grocery stores sell meat by weight, that means they are losing money, which is why some meats have "water-added" on the packaging. She also said that animals are sometimes injected with a chemical before slaughtering to tenderize the meat, instead of going through the time-consuming dry aging process.

In any case, the workshop was a lot of fun. And it looks like the venison gods had more gifts to give, because as we were leaving the workshop we saw a deer that had been struck by the side of the road. The foodmakers didn't let that go to waste of course, and the deer wasn't left to rot.

A few more photos of the workshop:

Everyone huddling up outside:

Elisa getting very hands-on!

Paula explaining that you want to wrap the meat in plastic wrap and then newspaper to avoid freezer burn:

The deer:

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