As much as the hunting, for us, deer camp means celebrating time together in the outdoors, doing what we all love the most. A big part of that celebration is enjoying camp meals together between and after hunts.
One of our favorite traditions is to cook up the heart and tenderloins from the first deer killed to share among camp attendees.
This recipe is a great way to cook up a meal everyone will enjoy. We clean and slice the heart and tenderloins into big bite-sized pieces, then roll them in seasoned flour and fry just until the exterior is nicely browned. We then cook up a big pot of onion gravy and nestle the meat down into it to simmer.
The results will warm everybody up and fill empty stomachs after a long day of hunting.
1 deer heart, cleaned, trimmed, and sliced into roughly 1x2-inch strips
2 deer inside loins, trimmed and cut into similar-sized chunks
4 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 cup of Kentucky Kernel or your favorite brand of seasoned flour, divided
3 sweet yellow onions, sliced
Salt and pepper to taste
1 can of your favorite dark beer or 12 ounces venison or beef stock
Start by cleaning the heart. Trim away all fat from the surface. Slice down one side (follow the obvious seam in the muscle) and fold the heart open flat. Trim away any connective tissue from inside the heart. Rinse well. Slice the heart into roughly 1x2-inch strips. Clean and cut the tenderloins into similar-sized pieces.
In a Dutch oven over a campfire or medium heat on a camp stove, heat the butter and oil. Dust the meat in enough of the seasoned flour to coat well. Reserve the remaining flour for the gravy.
Brown the meat in batches, just until surface is nice and golden, 1 to 2 minutes per side, turning frequently, until all sides are browned. Remove the meat from the pan and cover with foil.
Add the sliced onions to the pan. Salt and pepper well.
Place the lid on the Dutch oven and cook until the onions are soft and caramelized, stirring often. This should take around 10 to 15 minutes, depending on the heat level.
Sprinkle 1/3 cup of the reserved flour over the softened onions. Stir well. Pour in the beer — we used Hazelnut Stout from Country Boy Brewing — or stock and stir to make a gravy.
Bring the mixture to a simmer and stir until thickened. Return the meat to the pot and stir to combine with the onion gravy. Place the lid on the Dutch oven and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes.
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