“Now, I have to get up at 4 tomorrow morning, get dressed, have breakfast at 4:30, pick Pete and Harold up at 5 and be at Leroy’s by 5:30,” explained my father. “We have to be on our stands by 6.”
My mother was a new bride determined to be the best wife in Hayward. She sliced the breakfast bacon, got the percolator ready to go on the stove and made my Dad’s lunch before setting the alarm clock and going to bed. This was many years before at least one wife decided to sleep in on the opening day of deer hunting season while her husband cooked his own breakfast.
The alarm went off, Mom woke Dad and started breakfast while Dad clothed himself in long underwear, a wool jack shirt, three pairs of socks, wool breeches that laced above the ankles and tall leather boots that laced nearly to his knees.
After a strengthening breakfast of bacon, eggs, toast and coffee, he got out his pocket watch to see if he had time for another cup before picking up his fellow hunters.
“What!!” says he as he holds his watch up to his ear to see if it has stopped. “It’s midnight!”
So it’s off with the clothes and back in bed to snuggle with Mom after checking to make sure that the alarm is set for 4.
“I was just so nervous,” Mom would explain as Dad told the story. “I wanted to be sure to do everything right.”
Dad would laugh and say that at least she got him up in plenty of time.
I don’t remember whether he got his buck that morning, but he shot a lot of deer over the years. We ate a lot of venison when I was a kid. Mom fried it, roasted it, canned it and made chili and stew with it.
The one thing she did not do was serve it rare or even medium rare. Meat was well done in our house until I started cooking, and then most family members refused to eat my attempts at gourmet cuisine. Maybe if I had had a good marinade like this one….
I found this recipe on the web and have used it many times since, both for venison and beef. This marinade seasons and tenderizes lean meat exquisitely. Once you try it, you will be using it often.
2 cloves garlic
1/2 small onion
1/3 cup red wine
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tsp. sugar
Dash of allspice
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp. dried thyme
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
4 venison steaks or chops
Mince two large cloves of garlic and finely chop half a small onion. You should have about one-third cup of chopped onion. Combine the onion and garlic with the other marinade ingredients in a small bowl and whisk them together.
Put the steaks or chops in a plastic bag and pour the marinade over the meat. Seal the bag, making sure that the meat is well coated with the marinade. Marinate the meat for three to five hours in your refrigerator, turning it every hour or so. Take it out of the refrigerator a half hour before cooking to let it warm a bit.
You can grill or sauté the meat. Grill the meat over a hot charcoal or gas grill for two or three minutes on each side, depending on the thickness of the meat and your preference. If you choose to sauté the meat, have your skillet very hot. Add a small amount of shortening and sear the meat in the pan on each side, again for two or three minutes. Venison should be served rare to medium rare.
NOTES: This marinade goes well with beef grill steaks or even round steak if you do not overcook it. If you don’t have any Dijon mustard, substitute a half teaspoon of dry mustard.