MADISON, Wis. (WSAU) -- Now that you've got that deer out of the woods, what's the best way to prepare it? UW officials have a number of tips.
You'll want to make sure you field dress your deer properly before you get it out of the woods, and let the carcass drain out. Once you're getting ready to butcher, UW Food safety expert Barbara Ingham says good preparation is key. "We want to make sure the surfaces in the areas we're working are clean, hands are clean, cutting boards are clean, so we're not contaminating the meat source that is potentially hazardous itself."
Cooking your venison is just like any other meat once it's cut up. Ingham says the basics of food preparation remain the same. "Those four general food safety steps of Cook, Clean, Separate and Chill are really the foundations that will help us keep venison safe to serve to our families."
Many people like to turn their venison into jerky, but Ingham says you should only be doing that through hot processes. "Because it does so readily does support microorganisms, meat should only be dried where heat is involved. So that would be a temperature of no lower than 145 and ideally 155 degrees Fahrenheit." She also recommends giving that venison jerky a final pass through an oven at 175 degrees to make sure all harmful bacteria are cooked out of the meat.
You could also try canning your meat. The UW Extension has a guide on the process, and Ingham says it's an effective way to keep your tougher cuts of meat ready to go all through the year. "They're certainly last for at least year. It's a time investment upfront to get that meat into the canner and through the canning process, but it really can be an investment worthwhile."
You can get more tips on canning, cooking and storing your venison online at the UW-Extension's Food Safety Page.
ON THE WEB: http://foodsafety.wisc.edu
You can listen to our interview with Barbara Ingham on our newsmakers podcast HERE.