Many claims are made over which deer species produces the best Venison. Who makes these claims and why are they made?
Who makes the claims: Mostly producers and processors with a commercially based biased point of view.
Why they make the claims: The claims mostly emanate from producers & processors that have a lack of ability, limited resources and unwillingness to produce and process what the consumer demands. This is especially so with wild shot venison. The shooter can only kill what's available at the time. So, to get around this, they'll tell you, the consumer, what you should buy.
At Hahndorf Venison, we do not hold a bias toward one deer species over another. We farm and have the ability to process a number different species, Elk, Red, Fallow, Chital, Sika & more. Hahndorf Venison offers guidance and advise, but ultimately we let the product do the talking and let you decide.
In Australia, it is two breeds go head to head more so than the others. Fallow & Red, each with pros and cons. It's not their perceived differences in texture, flavour or tenderness, those qualities can be largely indiscernible, its more to do with yield and natural fall. Overwhelmingly, it's carcass size that wins, not the breed. Elk are the only exception to the taste test rule.
Red Deer & Red Deer X Elk have the distinct advantage in that they are bigger, grow faster than Fallow Deer and therefore can be processed at an earlier age.
Indisputable facts: a 4 month old Elk will easily achieve a live body weight of 90+ kilograms. A Red Deer X Elk will achieve live weight of 120+ kg at 9 months. The average Fallow Deer will struggle to make 50 kg's at 12 months old. Consequently, many of the fancy cuts like cheeks, onglet, babette & others are just not commercially viable to recover from small carcasses such as Fallow Deer.
So there you have it: Size does matter!
size = yield = usable kitchen friendly venison portions.