I recently returned from what is appropriately known as, a “trip of a lifetime” to South Africa. We were there to shoot stuff for “The Sporting Chef” TV show. Our group shot a bunch of animals I wasn’t familiar with, but soon I was able to tell the difference between a waterbuck and a blesbok.
VIDEO – Jan “Boland” Coetzee, owner of Vriesenhof Winery near Cape Town, South Africa. Jan is a legendary professional rugby player, food and wine lover and hunter. Jan demonstrates a typical marinade and style of cooking for kudu and oryx loins. Of course, if you’re out of kudu, you can always substitute whitetail.
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The animals ranged in age from 2 to 5 years. With just a couple of notable exceptions, most of meat tasted like young female whitetail deer or elk. Tender, mild and cooked just right over wood coals. Beef is about 5 times fattier than venison. Soaking deer meat in olive oil for 12 to 24 hours will add fat, but it’s going to penetrate so deep into the meat. Stab it with a fork or, better yet, one of the flat-bladed tenderizers from Victor or Jaccard, and let it bathe in a pool of good-quality olive oil, garlic and your favorite seasonings.
Nothing added to disguise the taste of properly cooked game. But if you insist on cooking your venison beyond 140 degrees, I’ll accept no responsibility for how it tastes when it comes off the grill. Keep in mind that you can always slap the meat back on the grill, but it’s impossible to un-cook it. Just ask any caveman.