Deer season is right around the corner and if you’re looking for new ways to serve up venison on a platter or stick, a former Minnesotan has put together a book keenly focused on the popular game meat.
Hank Shaw, former St. Paul Pioneer Press political reporter, is about to release his third book titled “Buck, Buck, Moose,” which looks at the simple and complex cooking techniques of this widely enjoyed meat, from white-tail to moose and all antlers in between.
Shaw currently lives near Sacramento, Calif., and enjoys hunting and gathering for as many of his meals as possible. He can count on one hand the times he has bought meat since 2005.
“I’ve been fishing and gathering things since before I could walk,” Shaw said.
It was not until his stay in Minnesota in the early 2000s that he fell in love with the opportunities to hunt. He continues his love of hunting in California, which he says is the No. 2 state for duck hunters.
“California shoots more ducks than any other state other than Louisiana,” Shaw said. “Duck hunting is a religion here.”
There he got the idea for his previous book, aptly named—”Duck, Duck, Goose: Recipes and Techniques for Cooking Ducks and Geese” (Ten Speed 2013). That book focused on, you guessed it, waterfowl. His first book, “Hunt, Gather, Cook: Finding the Forgotten Feast” (Rodale 2011), took a look into his passions of getting his own food and cooking it well.
His latest focuses on preparing venison the right way. He says you won’t find another book like it.
“I don’t think there is a worst cooked animal than venison, with the possible exception being duck, in terms of people who just don’t know what to do with it,” Shaw said.
“I think it baffles people,” Shaw said of venison. “I see a lot of overcooked backstraps and that makes me sad.”
Shaw chose to have his book printed in Brainerd at Bang Printing for various reasons.
He wanted to have it done well, done in America and done by a publisher who understood how to market a book for the venison hunter. What better place than Minnesota’s northwoods. He funded the book through a kickstarter campaign, raising over $100,000. That accomplishment meant he could go big with this book. It’s 300-plus pages including 120 recipes and lush photos of all the delicious ways to enjoy your next meal, including some very detailed pictures and explanations on every aspect of field dressing and butchering—making sure you can enjoy the meat to its fullest potential.
Shaw says his book goes into the very basic properties of venison to explain how to enjoy it in simple and complex ways.
“I hope it opens up whole new worlds for those who hunt deer, elk, moose, antelope and caribou,” he said.
He visited Brainerd last week to sign 500 copies of the book and be on his way starting an epic book tour across the country, largely by car in the West. He’ll hit major cities and seek out the deer capitals of the country as he looks to educate on how to cook venison the right way.
A person whose diet consists only or principally of locally grown or produced food in considered a locavore. Shaw helped pioneer the locavore movement via his popular blog, Hunter Angler Gardener Cook. Check out his blog and “Buck, Buck, Moose” to find out how you can be more self reliant on your ability to cook your venison well. Whether you are able to bring home any venison is still on your shoulders.
His latest book is due out in September. Shaw said hungry readers can find his book via Amazon or Barnes & Noble and any where book sellers want it to be.