Cache Creek Enterprises

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An Authority on Game Cookery
& Avid Outdoorsman

Certified Chef Albert Wutsch

Bringing the Field to Your Table

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Backcountry & Lodge Hunting
& Fishing Camp Chef

Cache Creek Enterprises
38 Canyon View Drive
Missoula, MT 59802

chef@venisoncache.com

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Have friends ever given you a jar of their home canned venison? How did you react? What did you think? I accepted my first jar with grace, but thought, "Yuck, this looks like something my golden retriever would enjoy."

The truth is, most people respond that way at first. Only now, I appreciate the product, the process and the person who preserved it. I admit that canned venison - or any other meat - doesn't look too appealing in a jar. But if we judged every food by its looks, there would be a lot of hungry people in the world.

Making canned meat connoisseurs out of people who freeze their venison is another story entirely. 

 

Women In Outdoors Magazine

Originally printed in Women in the Outdoors, Winter 2002 

Benefits of Canned Venison


A benefit of canning is the abundant food supply when fresh products aren't available. By canning venison, you can enjoy the fruits of the hunt all year long. And  once you've canned your venison, there's no cost to store it. Freezing, on the other hand, requires electricity. Canning is a time-saver, too. Just reheat and serve with side dishes.

Canning Basics


There are two basic types of canning: water bath and pressure canning. The water bath method works best for jellies, pickles and items high in acid. But it is not suited for canning meats, vegetables and potatoes because they contain little to no acid. 

The U.S. Department of Agriculture cautions that there is only one way to can meat - with a pressure canner. The lid on a canner maintains a certain pressure, usually between 10 and 15 pounds. The amount of pressure and how long it takes for the food to process will depend on the kind of food, the size of the jar, the elevation and the manufacturer's instructions. (Editor's Note: Expect to process quart jars for 90 minutes at 10 pounds pressure.) Refer to your equipment manual or call your county agriculture extension agent for specifics.

Wholesome food is the key to quality canned products. In other words, don't  use meat that's freezerburned unless  you want a freezerburned taste. And be sure to follow your county or university extension's procedures. These offices can help with all the ins and outs of canning. They will even measure your dial gauges, teach classes on food safety and preserving methods, answer canning hotlines and provide Web sites for more information.

Extension agents say not to use antiquated canning equipment and materials because they aren't accurate and some aren't safe.  For instance, research by the University of Georgia shows that old timetables used to process low-acidic foods can cause botulism. The manufacturer's manual and instructions are as important as the recipes and ingredients.

Never Fear

The process of canning foods has been refined to a science. The technology available is more advanced then it was 10 years ago and the process is more efficient and a lot safer.  Regardless of what you've heard, canning is a safe way to preserve food. The biggest hurdle is dispelling stories of the past when people used techniques that weren't sanitary.

If someone gives you a jar of home canned venison, just make sure it was preserved the right way.

 

Canned Venison Stew

  • 1 Quart of canned venison with liquid
  • 1 pack of McCormick beef stew seasoning
  • 1 15-ounce can of whole white potatoes with liquid
  • 2 7-ounce cans of button mushrooms with liquid
  • 1 15-ounce can of whole carrots with liquid
Combine ingredients, bring to a boil and serve with bread.
 

Steps to Canning Venison

1. Clean meat, removing all sinew and fat. (Editor's Note: Meat should be cut into walnut-size chucks or larger.) Fill jars with raw meat (cold pack). For every quart jar, you'll need about a half-pound of meat.

2. Pack the meat into each jar with the handle of a wooden spoon. Metal spoons might scratch the glass, which could break the jar under high temperatures. Remove the air bubbles by placing the spoon at the jar's edge. If bubbles aren't removed, they could surface when cooking and create too much space at the top of the jar.

3. The meat should be about an inch from the top of the jar. This is called "headspace," which allows the contents to expand without overflowing. Overflow sometimes causes the lids to seal improperly. You can now add salt to the meat, but it is only an optional preservative.

4. Wipe the rims of the jars for a good seal during pressure canning.

5. Using jar holders, lift the jars out of the pressure canner. Place them on a rack or counter where they will not be disturbed. The food and liquid will still be boiling. Be careful not to touch the lids so they seal properly. Let the jars sit for 12 hours. You will hear the lids pop within the first 30 minutes, which means they are sealing.

 

Originally printed in Women in the Outdoors, Winter 2002. Visit venisoncache.com for more recipes and to order my books, "The Art Of Cooking Venison", "The Art of Barbecuing and Grilling Game"  and the dvd, "The Art of Backyard Butchering". 

Sports Shows

We added a new section to our website, As Seen At Sport Shows The section contains recipes demonstrated at sports shows around the country, relevant articles, an image gallery and products I recommend.

Mark your calendar for the 33rd Annual Allegheny Outdoor Sport & Travel Show, February 15 - 18, 2018 at the Monroeville Convention Center.

NRA News Cam & Co Interview Chef Wutsch

Chef Wutsch is interviewed by Cam Edwards of Cam & Co. at the 2014 Great American Outdoor Show. Chef Wutsch was also interviewed by Cam & Co. Interview by phone.

Canning Venison

For more information don't forget to view my PowerPoint Presentation on Canning Venison.

“Chef Wutsch's delicious recipes and handy preparation tips underscore his mastery of the true art of cooking venison."

Jackie Bushman, CEO & Publisher
Buckmasters

“Chef Al’s Grilled Turkey Breast with Peach Chutney is out of this world!”

Mark Drury, Owner, President
Drury Outdoors, Bloomsdale, MO

 “When it comes to barbecuing and grilling game, it doesn’t get any better than this!”

Steve Stoltz, World & Grand National Champion Turkey Caller, Hunter's Specialties, MO.

 

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