A Texas Christmas tradition passed down through generations
Deer hunting has long been a tradition passed down through generations of Texans.
Even though our roots are planted firmly in the sand and soil along the upper Texas coast, many of us appreciate the results of adventures on other terrains. And when it comes to putting fresh venison on the table during the holidays, there’s just not a whole lot to argue about. It’s lean and delicious, not to mention the act of harvesting and processing a deer instills core values and life lessons for those who participate in the experience.
Texas City resident Ed Mutch has been deer hunting since he was a young boy and has spent more than 40 years chasing whitetails while providing food for his family. When I asked him what the sport and venison meant to him and his family, his response carried a lot of weight.
“Deer hunting, cooking deer meat and the traditions that go along with it have all been constant facets in my life,” Mutch said. “They have played a huge role in molding me into the man I have become.”
Mutch has been fortunate enough to pass on the traditions associated with harvesting a deer and putting meat on the table to his children, and now his grandchildren, he said.
“Youngsters can be taught a lot of important lessons while deer hunting,” he said. “From respecting wildlife, nature and God’s creations, to being a responsible and ethical hunter, the core values they learn while participating in the sport can be applied to all aspects of life.”
Deer hunting also teaches children and others who are inexperienced in handling firearms about gun safety. Mutch believes that in a world where so many folks have a negative view toward firearms, hunting provides a way to positively educate others on the proper use of these weapons and how they should be handled and treated.
But Mutch believes the most important thing that deer hunting and preparing venison for the table has resulted in is time well spent with family, he said.
“The holidays have always provided my family with an opportunity to spend time hunting together,” he said. “There’s nothing like being able to sit in the blind with your own child or grandchild, experience the harvest and adventure together, and then enjoy a delicious meal as the final result. It’s a process that comes full circle and it is invaluable.”
Deer hunting and venison has become a huge part of my family and our holiday traditions. Unlike certain cuts of beef and other meats, venison doesn’t produce a bunch of grease when it’s cooked because it’s so lean. It’s hard to beat a hot, healthy meal that gathers loved ones around the table during this special season.
Of all the excellent options for dishes that incorporate venison, my absolute favorite is chili. It provides the perfect way to warm up on a cold and blustery December day, and you can just taste the emotion and tradition that went into the whole process of creating that big pot of steaming deliciousness. Pair it with some freshly baked cornbread, and you’ve got yourself a little piece of heaven on Earth.
Check out the recipe for cooking and creating an exceptional pot of homemade venison chili. Try it out during this holiday season and enjoy it with the people you love the most. From my family to yours: Happy hunting, happy holidays and Merry Christmas!
Start to finish: 1 hour and 20 minutes (20 minutes active preparation)
2 pounds of ground venison
1 (15-ounce) can tomato sauce
1 (15-ounce) can diced tomatoes
Half of a 10-ounce can of Ro-tel tomatoes
4 tablespoons chili powder
3 cloves garlic minced
1 cup diced onion
Pinch of cumin
¼ cup diced bell pepper
Salt and pepper for taste preference
Brown the meat, onion, garlic and bell pepper in a large skillet. Add 4 tablespoons of chili powder, cumin, salt and pepper. Transfer this mixture into a large pot.
Stir in the 15-ounce can of tomato sauce, 15-ounce can of diced tomatoes, and half of the 10-ounce can of Ro-tel tomatoes. Add enough water to cover the meat and cook on low heat for 45 minutes to an hour, while adding water if necessary. Serve warm.