The neck of a deer is a little-used and under-appreciated piece of meat that hunters often toss on the scrap pile or grind into venison burger or sausage. However, the neck is surprisingly meaty, sweet and rich in flavor. Browning the meat in oil, then slow cooking it in plenty of liquid is the secret to success, breaking down the fibers and sinews of this tough, muscular cut. Add vegetables for a hearty meal-in-one, or incorporate neck meat into soups or other hot dishes.
Cut a clean, trimmed deer neck into 1-inch chunks. Sprinkle the chunks lightly with flour, salt and pepper.
Heat a small amount of cooking oil or bacon drippings in a heavy skillet, then fry the meat, stirring occasionally so all sides are brown.
Transfer the meat to a Dutch oven or slow cooker. Cover the meat with boiling water or broth. You can also add liquids such as wine, beer or apple cider.
Stir in additional flavorings such as bay leaves, thyme, sage, marjoram or onion soup mix, if desired.
Add your choice of vegetables such as potatoes, celery, carrots, onions or canned tomatoes.
Simmer the neck meat on the stovetop on low or medium-low heat, or in a slow cooker set on high. Cook the meat for two to three hours, or until it is tender and a meat thermometer registers at least 160 degrees Fahrenheit. A slow-cooker may require more time. Don't allow the liquid to boil.
- You can also stew an entire neck bone, then remove the meat from the bone after cooking.
M.H. Dyer began her writing career as a staff writer at a community newspaper and is now a full-time commercial writer. She writes about a variety of topics, with a focus on sustainable, pesticide- and herbicide-free gardening. She is an Oregon State University Master Gardener and Master Naturalist and holds a Master of Fine Arts in creative nonfiction writing.
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