By Howard Meyerson
Hank Shaw may, or may not, age his venison after he shoots a deer. The California author, forager and food blogger hunts black-tails in an area where temperatures can reach 105 degrees. Properly aging venison requires having access to cold-storage, and aging results in a loss of meat volume.
“It isn’t worth it for other than the biggest buck,” explains Shaw, who’s “Hunter Angler Gardner Cook” blog Honest-Food.net won the James Beard Foundation award for Best Food Blog in 2013. Shaw has a developed a nation-wide following of wild-game enthusiasts and foodies.
He is unequivocal about other slices of venison cookery. Too many hunters waste good parts, he says, and far, far too many overcook the meat.
“It may or may not be the most popular game meat, but it (venison) is definitely the most abused,” Shaw writes on his blog. “…if you overcook it and handle the meat poorly when you kill the animal it will be poor fare at the table.”
Shaw, now 44, is an admitted late-comer to hunting. He shot his first deer in 2002, a mule
deer in Montana. He was 32-years old, but the idea of eating natural foods, those he hunted and butchered, fished or foraged, inspired him to make lifestyle changes. He hasn’t purchased fish or meat, other than a few times, since 2005.
“It’s been a whirlwind,” said Shaw about his growing success, during a phone interview from his Sacramento-area home. A former line cook and 15 year veteran political reporter, Shaw began foraging in an effort to find what he calls “honest foods,” those that grow naturally and don’t come pre-packaged in plastic. Continue reading