Deer FAQ's

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Listed here are some of our most Frequently Asked Questions.

They are categorized by Beef, Pork, Deer and Website Frequently Asked Questions.

Beef FAQ's

 I've been looking all over for F.W. Witts Seasonings like I used to buy. Do you know where I can find them or do you carry any Witts Seasonings?


F.W. Witts Company was bought by Newly Weds Foods Inc. about 4 years ago. Most of Witts retail seasonings are now labeled "Spicecraft" Seasonings. You can still get some of Witts commercial seasonings labeled Witts from some meat processing plants. If you can't find "Spicecraft" Seasonings in any of your local grocery stores, drop us an e-mail.  We are able to special order any Spicecraft seasonings you may want.


Do you have an awesome spicy beef jerky recipe? I just receive a dehydrator for a gift but no recipes.


I'm sending an answer about beef (and deer) jerky making that I've written before.
The extra ingredient I use on our "Smokin' Hot!" beef or deer jerky is cayenne pepper. You can usually find it at your local grocery store. I find that the fine or ground red pepper is better than the crushed, or coarse red pepper. Just add about one half an ounce of red pepper, along with the other seasonings, to 8 pounds of meat, or adjust accordingly to the meat you have. 
We'll start with some of the basics first, then get into the actual recipe. (And I know of a least 50 different recipes for making deer jerky, so I will just give you a basic one to start with. You can add or subtract many of the ingredients as you experiment.)
1. I'll be talking about making "whole muscle" deer jerky. This is not the same as ground and formed or hamburger type jerky.
The best piece of deer meat for jerky is the top round out of the deer hind quarter or ham. This is the oblong shape muscle along side the "thigh" bone. You could also use the boneless loin, but I don't because it is really the best cut of the deer (expect for the tenderloin, which is THE best).
2. If you don't have some kind of mechanical slicer, I suggest you buy one or take the deer top round to a butcher shop for slicing. Rival and Chefs'Choice are two companies who make food slicers for retail sale. The reason why you need one? To make really good jerky, the jerky meat needs to be the same thickness throughout the meat, one-fourth of an inch thick is standard. It is impossible to cut the top round by hand consistently at one-fourth of an inch.
Here's a good tip: freeze the deer top round about one hour in your freezer before slicing, this will make it easier to slice!
I personally slice the meat across the grain. I think this is about 50/50 in the real world. Half the people say to slice it with the grain, the other half against the grain. I've done it both ways many, many times, and it seems that if you slice against the grain, the jerky is not so hard to chew when it is dried. (And for people with bad teeth, like me, that is worth trying slicing against the grain!)
3. I always use a rub for my "cure" for deer or beef jerky. Some people use some type of liquid, such as soy sauce or Worcestershire sauce, but I think the jerky tastes better without liquid. This is because you are trying to remove all of the moisture out of the meat when you make jerky, so why add extra to it.
4. As for as what seasonings to use? I basically use salt, black pepper (fresh ground), red pepper (powder and crushed), garlic salt or powder and sodium nitrite (more about sodium nitrite in #5 step).
I mix the ingredients in a sealed one gallon container and keep in the freezer between uses. Roughly, I personally use: 50% table salt; 25% black pepper, 10% ground or powered red pepper, 10% ground garlic and 5% red pepper flakes. This is my formula for what I call "Traditional" jerky. I also make a Bar-B-Q, Cajun, Peppered, and Hot jerky, by adding different seasonings to this base.
5. Sodium nitrite, also called curing salt, is used VERY sparingly. The recommendation from the government is 6.25%. This breaks down to 4 oz. per 100lbs, or 1 oz. per 25 lbs. Some people don't use curing salt to make their jerky, but I HIGHLY recommend to for food safety. (A close approximation would be 1 tsp. per 5 lbs. of meat.)
6. I sprinkle the seasoning on both sides of each jerky strip. (Sorry, but I still just "eyeball" this, so I can't give you any exact measurements.) I place the seasoned jerky strips in a plastic container, cover with a piece of wax paper or plastic wrap loosely, and place in the "refrigerator" for 20 hours. (I don't recommend over 24 hours, I think this makes the meat mushy and less flavorful.)
7. I then lay the jerky strips on stainless steel screens in my smokehouse for 6 to 6.5 hours at 150 to 165 degrees. A close approximation to this would be place in your oven for about the same time and temp., and remember to leave the oven door slightly open. This helps in moving air over the strips and drying the meat.
That's about it. If you make a larger batch, you can easily and safely freeze what you won't eat in the immediate future. It will last over a year easily.
If I left something out, or you have another question, please ask! I'll be glad to try and help.

According to a study published by the American Medical Association, E.Coli can survive
drying times of up to 10 hours and temperatures of up to 145 degrees F. It is recommended
that venison being dried for jerky should be precooked to an internal temperature of at least
165 degrees F. Hunters and other consumers need to understand that wild game should
be handled and cooked with the same caution recommended for other meats.


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Answer a question for me. I seem to be very confused about beef and the color it should be when purchased. Most tell me that the better beef should be Bright Red in color to be good.


My experience and that of some meat processors tell me different. They say, the redder the meat the more likely it is to be used for dog food.  Here we can get into grades of beef. I could care less about labeling the meat packages Choice or Grade A. I'm talking about how the beef is stamped on the carcass as it arrives as in the numbers 1, 2, 3 or more, with the lower being the best. Anyone else know about this? I guess Grocers don't do their own meat cutting anymore. It's most likely brought in by truck in those little white Styrofoam packages anymore. So no real need for a meat market per se.

I think a steak should stand on it's own without any marinades or rubs or anything. If wanted, you add those things as an afterthought, not because it is needed. I also don't think beef should be brilliant bright red either. Usually the tougher beef. Am I completely wrong here, or is the marketing thing beginning to make me doubt my own conclusions?

Ok here's the facts on what you had asked. Yield grades are from 1-5 that are stamped on the carcass. 1 being the leanest but not always the best for the retailer to purchase if he's looking for quality. Usually a YG-3 is the best for fat cover and intramuscularly fat, (marbling) for USDA Prime or Choice grades. As far as color is concerned, the lighter the color of the meat, usually the better the tenderness is relative to a same cut with a darker color.  There aren't any large supermarkets that I know of that purchase carcass (hanging) beef anymore. Unless they're old timers, the butchers at those places wouldn't know a shank from a short loin and forget about even trying to bone a chuck out. Boxed beef is sold at these supermarkets so they don't even see a yield grade or any other stamp for that matter.  If you want to buy the best beef with great flavor you have to find a real butcher shop that sells carcass or hanging beef, NOT BOXED BEEF. Boxed beef is usually much less tasty than the old time hanging/carcass beef.

Are marinades dangerous?


Well, as with any food item, the proper care and handling of what you are cooking and care in handling your marinade will eliminate all problems. But you have to always be careful. You know how it is when you are grilling and smoking, you take out your marinade and go to the grill to mop on some more marinade. You finish and you set the marinade down in the sun as you start talking to your friends. Look out. You could be creating a problem right now. It doesn't take long on a hot day to turn your marinade or mop sauce into a serious problem that could make everyone who eats it sick. And when people get sick, it takes all the fun out of the event. You just don't have this problem at all with rub. Period.

Why does my jerky mold within two or three days?


There are a couple of possibilities. Also, not all jerky will mold, it depends on a few things. The number 1 reason jerky will mold is that not enough moisture has been removed from the meat during the drying process. Jerky should have around 90 to 95% of the moisture in the meat removed during drying. If it doesn't, the moisture still in the meat leads to the possibility of mold spores growing. If the jerky is dried almost completely, mold usually won't grow. If you like your jerky a little moist, you could try to vacuum pack your jerky. Mold will not grow without air ( or oxygen ). There are some decent home vacuum packers on the market now, and these might be of use. Also, mold seems to grow or develop quicker in a moist atmosphere. So, the refrigerator is not a good place to store jerky, unless it is vacuum packed. But since jerky is dried meat, it is not necessary to store it refrigerated anyway.

I need to know how to slice a beef brisket. I read you should "slice it across the grain".  What does that mean?

ANSWER:Whole Beef Brisket.  Cut from the lower chest section of a steer.




A whole beef brisket is oblong, or oval shaped. If you have a point cut or flat cut half of beef brisket, they are still longer than they are tall. With the brisket laying in front of you, with the longer piece laying left to right, (just like in the picture to the left) cut straight down from top to bottom. This will cut the brisket across the grain. Another way to visualize it is to compare the meat to a piece of wood board. Usually you will notice the "wood grain" running in a long line. Beef, or any cut of meat, has muscle fibers that run in "one" direction also. Just cut perpendicular to this long fibers of meat.

I assume you are cooking either the rib eye or eye of round as a roast, so I included one recipe for both as a roast. (I don't think a rib eye steak needs to be marinated personally, because it is very tender to start with.)

All of the recipes I have seen using a Marsala wine marinade have been for veal or poultry, but I think it could be used for either one of these beef cuts.
What is the difference between a boneless eye round and a rib eye? And can it be marinated in marsala wine before cooking?  Any recipes will be appreciated.


The eye of round is a cut from the round steak section of a beef hind quarter.

A round steak actually has 3 different "cuts" in it that you can buy at the grocery store. The bottom round (which can be labeled a London Broil roast, the top round (usually a steak), and the eye of round (sold either as a roast or a steak).

Of the 3 parts of a round steak, the eye of round is the most tender. (BUT, it is NOT as tender as a rib eye).

The rib eye, either roast or steak (both are always boneless) come from the front quarter of the beef, from the area of the backbone. It is often considered one the best and most tender cuts of beef, along with the Porterhouse steak, T-Bone steak, and the filet mignon (beef tenderloin).

 I personally like a porterhouse or filet mignon better than a rib eye.


We  raise our own beef and in the past it has been dairy, this year it is black angus,  I know that the loss from dairy  35% is higher than in the beef breeds,  Do you know what the ratio is for beef type?  Thank you  


What is the cut of beef that is called delmonico steak? Do they cut these steaks any more and what should I ask for at the super market? Thank you.


I have searched & searched - would you happen to have a recipe for jerky using ground meat? I have a jerky shooter, but can't find a recipe. I use beef,venison,elk & sometimes bear & antelope.


What is the best way to tenderize a steak.
20 years ago I could buy a steak grill it and be in steak heaven. No matter were I buy the steak now it is so tough it is hard to chew. What happen to melt in your melt steaks.
Last week I bought 8 T bones and let them sit in miller light beer for about 3 hours. They were the best steaks we have had in 5 years but not 20.
Any ideas?


We've built one of the "old refrigerator" type smokers which seems to be working pretty well. Problem is we want to make sure the meat is at the proper cooking temp so we don't make everybody sick. My husband poked a hole in "the smoker" and stuck a meat thermometer through the hole. It is registering up to 190 and he keeps it on the thermometer at between 150 and 160, but I don't know if that's the "real" temperature or not. Also, does the meat need to be cured before smoking and for how long? We are smoking mainly brisket and chicken right now. I keep reading about curing the meat first, but I don't have a clue what I should be doing and if the smoker is getting hot enough to smoke.
I butcher everything from deer to moose and really want to know the right way to do it. Should I purchase the beef butchering video? Can I figure it out from that?


Really, you would need the beef processing dvd to learn how to cut up the moose. It is cut more like a beef than a deer. A moose is usually similar in size to a beef instead of a deer.




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Last Updated:  Tuesday, May 22, 2012 09:39 PM