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John's Journal... Entry 180, Day 1


Venison Meatloaf

EDITOR'S NOTE: Alice Walker, along with her husband Bob, owns the R&J Smokehouse, in Livingston, Alabama, that specializes in deer-meat processing. Here she provides some of her famous venison recipes. The Walker process deer for me and my family, and we enjoy their unique custom cuts and ready-to-prepare venison.

QUESTION: Alice, what's the biggest mistake most hunters make after killing a deer, in terms of preserving the meat?
ANSWER: They don't bring it straight into the meat house. Some hunters gut the deer and then drag them through mud and fields. By the time they reach the truck, the deer is covered in flies and dirt. For the best-tasting venison, once you bag a deer, put it in your truck, and bring the deer to us. We'll deal with it properly and keep it in the cooler until we process it.

QUESTION: What do you do as soon as a deer arrives at your meat-processing place?
ANSWER: Well, we skin it, gut it and then put the deer in the cooler with a tag on it that has instructions as to how the meat is to be cut.

QUESTION: Why is refrigeration so important to the quality of the venison?
ANSWER: Refrigeration keeps the meat from deteriorating and preserves the taste.

QUESTION: How do you process the meat after refrigeration?
ANSWER: We read the instructions given to us by the customer as to how they want it cut. We offer a wide variety of different ways to prepare the venison. We can make hamburger meat, cubed steak, London-broil, fillets, meatloaf, stew meat, several types of sausage, summer sausage, link sausage, bratwurst, jerky and a bacon burger that the customers love.

QUESTION: How long does processing a deer take?
ANSWER: On a typical day with a full crew, we can process 25 to 30 deer. We need more time for processing any deer that have to go into the smokehouse for curing or making sausages.

QUESTION: What're some of the recipes that a person can use for cooking venison meat after they get it back from you?
ANSWER: One of my favorites dishes is meatloaf. Our meatloaf is already seasoned, ready to be thawed-out and put in a casserole dish. Once I unthaw our venison meatloaf mixture, I pour a jar of salsa on top, cover it and bake it for an hour and a half at 350 degrees. You also can top it with onions, bell peppers and tomato paste. I've had customers say they cut the meat up and eat it like a hamburger.

For more information about R&J Smokehouse, and the company's mouth-watering Cajun-injected turkey breasts, smoked turkey breasts and smoked and spiral hams as well as venison processing, write the company at PO Box 537 Livingston, AL 35470, call (205) 652-2489.




Check back each day this week for more about YOU CAN HAVE DELICIOUS VENISON ...

Day 1 - Venison Meatloaf
Day 2 - Cubed Steak
Day 3 - Grilled Venison
Day 4 - Venison Taco Pie
Day 5 - Grilled Venison Potluck

John's Journal