With all of the rapid growth of these first few teen years, meat for my resident carnivores has been a big deal. Budget is also a big deal and I am not an extreme couponer. Even if I was a coupon expert, there are not often coupons offered on things like ground beef, roasts, and tenderloins.
So I do what I can. I buy when meat is on sale. I stretch the meat by adding beans or cheaper cuts that require a little extra prep but still nourish. But the number one thing we do to afford meat is hunt deer. We depend on a minimum of 2 deer a year to help us through. We process our own deer as well so that we avoid that $75 fee of hanging, cutting, and packaging. It takes time, but we find the effort to be worth it.
I use venison in any recipe that calls for ground beef. If I'm making hamburgers, I will add in some ground chuck because the leanness of venison requires some fat to hold together. Husband will even make his own sausage and jerky with some of the cuts.
Certain cuts (tip roasts, tenderloins, & backstraps) we do not grind but freeze whole for grilling, crock pot, or dutch oven recipes. Our family has learned to appreciate eating game when beef is not affordable.
With such a high value in our home on having venison, I was getting quite nervous as the season ended and no deer had stocked my freezer. Between work and a truck that wouldn't work, Husband had not had the time nor resource to get out into the woods for the yearly hunting expedition.
Three days after the season ended in our area and with all factors finally in our favor (truck, work, weather) Husband and Nate took off for the southern region where deer were still in season. They vowed to live off of pop-tarts and beef stew and not return until deer were in the coolers. I wished them well and settled down to dependence upon the twice a day check in calls.
And the call came! Nate had snagged a deer that morning--a big doe. Big means lots of meat! I was thrilled. As was he. He's only hunted the past few years, but every year brings its thrills. One down meant one to go.
That night, the second call came. Number two deer was on his way to the cooler. Success at last. Down to the last minute of the season practically, but we will take it. And eat it.