As you may have surmised by now, Farmer H has friends in low places. And high places. And surprising places. But one thing not surprising is his friendship with Buddy, an old high school pal. In fact, it was Buddy who lured us out here to build our palatial Mansion on these very grounds. This area used to be part of a huge farm, and already had a couple of gravel roads running through it. The owner split it up into 10-acre sections.
When one became available, Farmer H suggested we buy it as a future home site. We had not even tied the knot yet, but plans were in the works. I was living in my $17,000 house in town, and Farmer H still had his one-bedroom apartment in the complex where I'd had my townhouse. We purchased it together, and the tax bill still comes in our separate names. Eight years later, Farmer H started building our dream home.
Anyhoo...that's not really here nor there. Just a peek into the Buddy/Farmer H dynamic. Only about five families lived out here then, and people used their land for hunting. Farmer H went on many a deer hunt with Buddy, but despite building the very best deer stand of all (they still call him MacGyver, and accuse him of putting a couch, refrigerator, and TV in his tree stand), never shot a deer himself. He was all about helping the others butcher theirs, though. After all, he worked in a plant that manufactured butcher products! In fact, he got them a professional grade meat grinder at a discounted rate. Four or five guys chipped in, and still hold part ownership, but Buddy has custody of the meat grinder.
A few months ago, I opened up my mini deep-freeze in the laundry room, and found no room to stash my frozen food. There were five parcels of butcher-paper-wrapped meat taking up my space. I had to rummage in FRIG II's freezer side to salvage my purchases. You can bet that Farmer H got an earful for not warning me about this new addition to our larder before I went to the store.
"HM. It's just some deer meat that Buddy gave me. Tenderloin!"
In case you don't know much about meat (like me), the tenderloin is the prime cut. At least on deer. Farmer H says it's the part they make filet mignon with from beef. I'll take his word for it. He's a big fan of filet mignon.
Saturday, I cooked Farmer H's tenderloin. He at first said he was going to grill it. I didn't quite cotton to that idea, thinking it would get overdone and dry. Deer aren't very fat! I wasn't planning to eat any of it myself, but I couldn't see ruining such a prime cut. I have no aversion to deer meat. I made some delicious BBQ with it a long time ago in the crock-pot. I guess you'd call it Pulled Deer. Suitable for eating on little rolls. Anyhoo...I told Farmer H that I could bake his tenderloin, and said I'd look on the internet for a temperature and how long.
I told Farmer H that I found a recipe that called for wrapping the tenderloin in bacon. Of course that set his saliva flowing. I just wrapped it and tucked the bacon in underneath. I couldn't see poking toothpicks in to hold the bacon strips, because I though that would let the juices out. Here's the tenderloin after thawing, but before bacon-wrapping:
No, I didn't remove the touch silvery connective tissue. Again, I didn't want to do any cutting or puncturing to let the juices escape during cooking. I figured Farmer H could trim it out while eating, or chew on it like deer-flavored gum. I wrapped the bacon around, put it in my black-and-white speckled metal roasting pan with the lid on, and baked it at 350 for about 20 minutes. The recipe kept saying 40-45 minutes, but people who tried it commented that theirs was overdone.
Farmer H wanted mushrooms and onions and brown gravy to go along with it. So I browned some onions, then some mushrooms, in a little bit of the bacon grease I poured out when checking on the tenderloin. I cheated on the brown gravy by using a packet from The Devil's Playground. Of course I forgot to take a picture when it was done, but I got one the next day of the cold leftovers.
Yes. It pretty much looks like a ball of bacon. I assure you, the bacon is cooked completely, though it's not crispy. Farmer H declared the meal to be delicious, and has now eaten it for three nights. There's just a little section of deer left, and he said he's done with it now, so the dogs can have it for their evening snack. Farmer H wants the bacon, though.
Oh, and HOS just killed a deer up on our other land Saturday morning. He was bow-hunting. Farmer H called Buddy at 8:00 a.m. to ask for the meat grinder. Don't know if HOS will be sharing or not. Farmer H still has plenty in the mini freezer.