From the field to the table

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Hunters rejoice. Now that you've caught your wild game, all that's left to do is get it ready for cooking.

Jeff Baysinger of Mountain Meat Packing in Craig said the first thing to do to an animal is make sure it's properly tagged for your hunting license.

After that, field dressing is just as important.

"Make sure to get the entrails out as soon as possible," Baysinger said. "Then get (the meat) to a locker plant or cold storage area."

Baysinger said it is good for the meat if it hangs for a few days before it is processed.

"That makes it more tender," he said.

Baysinger said Mountain Meat draws a lot of hunters because it's easier to have someone else process the meat.

"A lot of hunters like sausage," Baysinger said. "We offer 20 different types."

He said Mountain Meat also processes a lot of steaks and ground meat.

Dave Murray, the kitchen manager for the Butcher Shop in Steamboat Springs, said he has been eating wild elk and deer for most of his life.

Murray said that when it comes to cooking wild game, he likes to add fat to the meat for flavor.

"(Wild game) is very lean," he said. "With meat, fat is where the flavor comes from."

Other than that, cooking wild game is very similar to cooking beef, Baysinger said.

"The only difference is there's a slight variance in flavor," he said. "A lot of the time, just adding salt and pepper and a little olive oil will be perfect. You don't want too strong of a flavor to take away from the meat."

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Venison chop with blackberry brandy sauce

Courtesy of David Murray

Makes 2 servings

Ingredients

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 venison rib chops rubbed in salt and

pepper

¼ cup sweet onion (Vidalia or Maui)

½ cup button mushrooms (cut in quarters)

½ pint fresh blackberries

4 ounces brandy

2 tablespoons sugar

2 ounces demiglaze

In a hot saute pan, add the oil then the chops, brown evenly on one side, turn over and place in a preheated oven (475 degrees) about 6 to 8 minutes or until medium rare. Remove from the oven, place on high heat, remove the chops, add the onions, mushrooms and the berries, saute slightly, add the brandy and flame. Let reduce by half, then add the demiglaze and the sugar. Season with a little salt if necessary. Serve with sauce on the chops or sauce on the side, whichever is preferred.

Demiglaze:

Yield: 1 cup demiglaze

¼ cup carrots finely chopped

2 tablespoons onions finely chopped

2 tablespoons celery finely chopped

2 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons flour

2 cups beef stock

1 tablespoons tomato paste

1 cup beef stock

Saute onions, carrots and celery in butter until well browned. Add flour and stir to make a roux, continue cooking until roux is browned. Slowly pour beef stock, stirring constantly until mixture comes to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and skim the surface. Continue to cook until reduced to 2/3 of original amount, skimming surface as needed. Strain and cool.

Combine sauce and stock in a saucepan and simmer until reduced by half. Strain and cool.

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