My friend, Morris Gresham, recently wrote a book called ‘Musings of a Country Boy.’ Which was confusing because Morris lives in Dallas, so I was wondering whose musings he had written about, when he sent me the book by email so I could read it. As it turns out Morris grew up in the country, and in fact he did a fine job with the book. It’s about, well, growing up in the country. But then, it’s possible you already figured that out.
The musings part was kind of a mystery to me, though, since I’ve never mused, as far as I know. At least not in public, that I would admit. That’s how accidents happen.
Morris, as it happens, once introduced me to Bobby Bare. It was at the ribbon cutting ceremony for the new Bass Pro Shops store in Dallas, which was the first one in Texas. Morris and I were standing in an area roped off for writer types, so we wouldn’t mingle with the crowd and infect someone. The VIP section was right next to the writer section, due to some computer error, I imagine. So we were standing there and Bobby Bare came out with some other folks, and Morris called him over to say hello.
Of course, Morris had never met Bobby, either, so he introduced himself at the same time as he introduced me. So there you go.
But Morris sends me other stuff, too, besides his books. Recently I got an email from him that puts to rest, finally, the old question about whether venison is better than beef. Here, in its entirety, is the email, written, supposedly, by a fellow named Ted Malkowski, of San Angelo, Texas:
From the U.S. Venison Council:
Controversy has long raged about the relative quality and taste of venison and beef as gourmet foods. Some people say venison is tough, with a strong ‘wild’ taste, others insist venison’s flavor is delicate. An independent food research group was retained by the Venison Council to conduct a taste test to determine the truth of these conflicting assertions once and for all.
First, a Grade A Choice Holstein steer was chased into a swamp a mile and a half from a road and shot several times with arrows tipped with insufficiently sharp broadheads. After some of the entrails were removed, the carcass was dragged back over rocks and logs and through mud and dust to the road.
It was then thrown into the back of a pickup truck and driven through rain and snow for 100 miles to get it home so we could drive it around another eight hours showing it to friends, and about another hour taking pictures, before being hung out in the sun for a day.
It was then lugged into a garage where it was skinned and rolled around on the floor for a while. Strict sanitary precautions were observed throughout the test, within the limitations of the butchering environment. For instance, dogs and cats were allowed to sniff and lick the steer carcass, but most of the time they were chased away when they attempted to bite chunks out of it.
Next, a sheet of plywood left from last year’s butchering was set up in the basement on two saw horses. The pieces of dried blood, hair, and fat left from last year were scraped off with a wire brush last used to clean out the grass stuck under the lawn mower.
The skinned carcass was then dragged down the steps into the basement where a half dozen inexperienced but enthusiastic and intoxicated men worked on it with meat saws, cleavers, hammers, and dull knives. The result was 375 pounds of soup bones, four bushel baskets of meat scraps, and a couple of steaks that were an eighth of an inch thick on one edge and an inch and a half thick on the other edge.
The steaks were seared on a glowing red hot cast iron skillet to lock in the flavor. When the smoke cleared, rancid bacon grease was added, along with three pounds of onions, and the whole conglomeration was fried for two hours.
The meat was gently teased from the frying pan and served to three intoxicated and blindfolded taste panel volunteers. Every member of the panel thought it was venison. One volunteer even said it tasted exactly like the venison he has eaten in hunting camps for the past 27 years.
The results of this scientific test conclusively show that there is no difference between the taste of beef and venison.
So there you have it – there is no difference between beef and venison. If I had been conducting this test I would probably have selected an Angus steer, or maybe a Hereford, but still, you can’t argue with the facts.
Plus I was impressed with the level of sanitation involved. I don’t think it’s necessary to scrape old hair, etc. from the cutting board, but your science types are pretty picky about stuff like that. I guess that’s why they get to wear the snazzy pocket protectors . . .
Kendal Hemphill is an outdoor humor columnist and public speaker who never cleans out the grass from under the lawn mower. Write to him at PO Box 1600, Mason, Tx 76856 or firstname.lastname@example.org