Venison fat, like the fat of most wild game, has a bad reputation. Depending on the diet of an animal, fat will have a wide variety of tastes. For example, Mule Deer in Western states who have been eating predominately sagebrush diets have one of the worst reputations. Though, after experimenting with samples of venison fat from our Whitetails in the Southeast who rely heavily upon mast (acorns) to pack on fat, we have found most of this venison fat to be very neutral in flavor, which is perfect for cooking fat. Using fresh fat trimmings, the fat was rendered and filtered through cheesecloth (to keep meat particles out) and tested as a source of cooking fat normally reserved for butter or pork lard. The results? Surprisingly good.
As we are constantly searching for ways to make venison dishes taste more like, well, venison…. and less like bacon or other dominate fat sources, this is the purist approach. Likewise, having a reserve of wild game cooking fat cuts back on the grocery costs of having to buy butter, lard and oils, not mention ups the yield of your deer kills. Give it a try. Start by smelling the fat trimmings and even sampling a tiny bite. If the flavor is neutral, render the fat as you would bacon.
Images by: Grant Me Access