"Bayou Bill" Scifres
Dedicated to the conservation and enjoyment of Indiana's natural resources
About Bayou Bill
Recent Rambles
DNR Doings
Wild Recipes



Delicious Chicken-Fried Venison
Copyright © 2004 by Bill Scifres

With all due respect for those who tunnelvise that big chunks of venison must be roasted, I submit (strong evidence supports my thinking) that they are missing some delicious chicken-fried venison.
My culinary mind has been wandering along these trails since a day many years ago when my good friend, Dan Gapen, the Minnesota fishing tackle manufacturer, and I returned to his pickup camper on a windswept lake in northwestern Manitoba with a double limit of bluebills.
By the time we had finished cleaning (picking) those 20 ducks the sun was failing and we were hungrier than a pair of grizzly bears just out of their hibernaculum. It was 30 or 40 miles to the nearest settlement that could afford any kind of eatery, not to mention that we were right where we wanted to be for a daylight hunt the next morning.

Circumstances decreed that our din-din would consist of a can of whole-kernel corn--and some fried potatoes he had started on the stove. That was not the fare our tired bodies needed. Our bag of ducks offered plenty of meat to augment the corn and taters, but the oven of his camper had gone “kerbluey” some time before and there was no way--nor enough time--to roast a duck or two.

Fishing a filet knife from a drawer of cooking gear, Dan announced that we would have a duck dinner. Grabbing a fat bluebill and shaving off quarter-inch strips of meat from the breast, thighs, and those cute little drumsticks, Dan soon had a neat little stack of duck. When the cooking oil started to sizzle in an old iron skillet, Dan started placing a single layer of duck strips in the bottom of the skillet.

There was no flour for dredging the strips, but Dan administered salt and pepper as he stood there turning the sizzling strips of meat almost constantly. When they were starting to brown a bit, he removed the strips of meat, replacing each with a strip of raw duck.

By the time the potatoes were browned, the corn was hot, the little stack of browned duck strips were on a platter, and in the dying quivers of the day we sat down to duck dinner that was as good as any roast duck I have ever surrounded.

I have never forgotten Dan’s culinary caper, and I have tried to duplicate it on a few occasions, even though boning a duck, like filleting a fish, tends to waste some meat. Add the fact that I have been frying squirrel, rabbit, quail and other species of wild game for many years and it is easy to understand what would motivate me to try the same with a venison roast, steak or even chops.

In any event, a week or so ago I pushed my venison-roast tendencies aside, hauled out my favorite fish filet knife, and proceeded to slice strips of venison off of a large shank roast.

I salted and peppered the strips liberally, dredged them in flour (just like frying chicken, rabbit, squirrel, or any other raw meat), and browned them on both sides--just like frying chicken. When the strips of venison were browned (some of them tended to curl a bit), I sliced in some onion and crumbled in a handful of dried hen-of-the-woods mushroom before adding an ounce of water and covering the skillet over low heat. As the venison simmered the water and flour combined to produce a rich, brown gravy and I had turned a venison roast into tender chicken-fried venison.

Served with veggies and a green salad, it was as tender and tasty as any venison I had ever eaten.

Later, strictly as an experiment, I simply sauted strips of the venison as Dan had sauted the strips of bluebill. It was equally as tasty--though not quite so tender--as the chicken-fried venison.

The kicker for my thinking on alternative methods of preparing venison for the table came last Saturday at the annual Wild Game Cookout at the State Fair.

One of the first of many interesting methods of preparing wild game and fish for the table I saw was members of the Indiana Deer Hunters Association deep frying dredged strips of venison. It was as good and tender as any venison I have ever cooked.

Conclusion: I will continue to roast large cuts of venison, just as I have done for many years. But I will also prepare it for the table in my old iron skillet just as I fry chicken or any other wild game.

All columns, essays, and photos are copyrighted by Bill Scifres and may not be reproduced in any form without prior permission from the author.  For reproduction permission and media usage fees, contact: Bill Scifres, 6420 East 116th Street, Fishers, IN 46038, E-mail: billscifres@aol.com

 Return to beginning of document
Return to Bayou Bill's Home Page