Venison is on its way out as a name for deer meat as chefs hone-in on individual species to make their menus more accurate. Red deer, roe and fallow are the top three species of deer to find their way onto menus, but this is a mistake says Game Butcher of the Year, Tim Hanks of Hanks’ Meat and Game.
He advocates looking at the smaller deer species such as muntjac and Chinese water deer. He told The Great Game Guide:
“With venison getting more and more popular with diners it’s important that we push all of the deer species. But, if you’re not looking to the smaller species then I think you’re missing a trick. Their size makes them more cost-efficient and only a handful of restaurants are using them – which makes the price keener.
“Muntjac, or Munty as we call it, is one of the fastest-spreading of all deer species. They reproduce all year round and there’s no closed season. In some areas the population is bursting. However, despite all that muntjac are one of the best-tasting of all the deer species. The size is so manageable and they’re great for the freezer.
“Recently, we started supplying local pub, Ye Olde Ferrie Inn, with boneless haunches of muntjac wrapped in caul fat. They roast them up and serve them as a sharing platter for two. The feedback is that customers love them and are travelling from further than normal just to try them. The word is spreading!”
“Muntjac loins are perfect for an individual venison Wellington and are also very cost efficient for restaurants for their costings and margins. Later this month we will be stocking Chinese water deer which is also a smaller carcass and a different flavour.
“The blanket term ‘venison’ is no longer fit for purpose. Every species of deer has its own unique size and flavour, as well as texture and fat distribution. With the smaller carcasses more available it’s a unique time to get deer on the menu.”
To secure your prime cuts of Muntjac or Tim’s famous Jack in a Box call the shop on 01989 562216 or visit www.meatandgame.com