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Oh, deer! Cooking the hunt

By Jennifer Moonsong
Jobe Publishing Features

It is deer season in Kentucky and many hunters are taking to the woods to carry out the age old, seasonal tradition of hunting deer to bring home to the dinner table.

Although hunting has changed tremendously since the pioneer days, cooking the kill has stayed much the same, and the ways hunter’s once prepared deer, elk, turkey and other wild meats has remained greatly the same.

A favorite in 1850 and 2017 for hunters hailing from Kentucky is Southern Fried Deer Steak; A simple but flavorful preparation.

Chicken Fried Deer Steak

Chicken Fried Deer Steak

• 2 lb of ground deer burger or cube steak
• 1 cup of buttermilk
• 1 eggs
• 3/4 cups of all-purpose flour
• 2 tsp of salt
• 1 tsp of ground black pepper
• 1/2 cup of vegetable oil for frying
• 1/4 cup of the leftover oil from frying the steaks
• 1/3 cup of all-purpose flour
• 3 cups of milk
• 1/2 tsp. of salt
• 1/2 tsp. of black pepper

1. First, if you use ground deer burger instead of cube steak, try to make each steak 1/4 of a pound, which means you should get four steaks from each 1 lb pack of ground deer burger.
2. Add a little dash of salt and black pepper to the burger and then press it into patties like you would for a hamburger.
3. Mix the milk and eggs in a bowl and set it to the side. Then mix all of the dry ingredients together and set it to the side.
4. Coat each side of the steaks with the flour mixture and then coat it with the milk and eggs mixture and then back to the flour mixture. Set the deer steaks to the side once they are all coated.
5. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. I like to use my 16″ electric, non-stick skillet because I can fry more at one time, but if you have a smaller skillet, only place a few pieces at a time in the pan.
6. Line a large plate with paper towels and set it to the side for later when the steaks are done.
7. Once the pan is heated, place the steaks in and let it fry until the edges of the steaks start to turn brownish-gold. Then gently turn it to the other side. It will usually take between 2-4 minutes for each side–depending on the thickness of the meat.
8. Deer meat gets done quicker than beef, so don’t overcook the steaks.
9. Once the steaks are done remove them from the oil and place them on the paper towels. Try to give the steaks enough room so that they are not touching or overlapping. If not, the oil will remain on the steaks and the crust will get soggy.

Gravy Instructions:
1. Remove all of the leftover oil from the skillet you fried the steaks in. Put the oil in a clean bowl. Heat the skillet to medium-low. Measure out 1/4 cup of the leftover oil and put it back into the skillet. Be sure to remove any pieces of crust from the oil.
2. Once the skillet is hot, add the flour and stir with a whisk or fork. If it looks too greasy add a dash of flour until it looks right or if it’s too lumpy or pasty add a dash of grease until you have the correct texture. It should have a smooth consistency
3. Cook over medium-low heat until you make a brownish-gold paste. Now add the milk and steadily whisk. If you don’t give this step enough attention you’ll have lumpy gravy, so please don’t skimp on this. Add the salt and black pepper as soon as you have time
3. Cook the gravy over medium-low heat until it’s smooth and the thickness you desire. It should take about 4-8 minutes. If it becomes too thick add milk. If it’s too thin try cooking it a little longer. If that doesn’t work, you can always thicken it with cornstarch or flour.
4. Top a steak with about 1/2 cup of gravy. Serve with kettle beans and cornbread. Enjoy!

Jennifer Moonsong

A word from the writer: I believe every person and place has at least one story in them, and I love helping them share their stories in their own words, with the people of South Central Kentucky. If you have or know someone who has a story to share in Metcalfe or Monroe counties, please email me at

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