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Tasty venison provides cooking and camaraderie

Venison offers a wide variety of homemade grub, but there’s one option that Oxford’s J Anderson loves the most: tenderloin.

Anderson, 39, has been hunting since he was 6 or 7 years old and he’s had some time to fine-tune venison recipes with his wife and three boys in the Wellsgate subdivision.

“I hunt a little bit of duck, dove, quail, but I’m primarily a deer hunter,” he said. “We probably cook more when we’re at our hunting camp than when we’re at the house.”

He is in a couple hunting clubs but his primary destination is one in Yazoo County he and a friend put together, and he travels down there just about every weekend.

“We cook some venison there,” he said. “Most of us there are there to hunt deer so we do a few different things. We make chili with our venison and we fry a lot of it. And then we also do shish kabobs out of the tenderloins, or sometimes we broil the whole tenderloin like you would a filet.”

Anderson said the key to a tasty meal is aging the meat before cooking it, and he said many hunting clubs have coolers, especially in the Delta.

“We try to age our meat before we eat it,” he said. “We have walk-in coolers that we hang the deer in after we process it and age it for up to three weeks. It really makes a huge difference. It makes it so tender it’s just like having choice beef.”

His favorite deer delicacy is, if it has been aged in the 38-degree cooler, the whole tenderloin.

Step one is to sear each side with butter for 10 minutes on a very high heat on a black-iron skillet.

Flip the first side and season it with Lawry’s season salt, garlic powder and a little black pepper. Do it again with the second side after it’s had it’s 10-minute sear.

When the side with the seasoning hits the skillet, use soy sauce and cook for five minutes.

Flip again for five minutes with more soy sauce.

Pull it out to rest and go over it with some lemon. After resting for 15 minutes, slice it.

“It’s probably the best thing you’ve ever eaten,” Anderson said.

Anderson said he enjoys cooking at the camp and teaching his sons the traditions.

“I probably enjoy the camping and the cooking more than the hunting,” he said. “My sons have gotten into hunting, so my main goal is to have them hunting. I’m more of a host now, I guess. My first priority is keeping them happy.

“We have a really good family atmosphere at our camp. We just enjoy the cooking and camaraderie.”