When people get all exited about 'quality heads' I always joke: Never mind the antlers, how about the venison?
My current food project is to learn to produce fermented and air-dried sausages at home, so salami-style, using some 60% venison and 40% pork, of which a large proportion is hard back fat. This batch of 'Droge Worst' or 'Dry Sausage' or 'Boerenmetworst' is a Dutch recipe and basically identical to Italian salami, except for a few different spices. It has been made 2 weeks ago and needs another 2 weeks drying before it is ready to eat. The venison is from a young Roe buck shot by me early April near Stow-on-the-Wold, Cotswolds; the pork is from home-reared free-range pigs reared by my stalking partner. Fermented sausages making is the pinnacle of the art of charcuterie, as it made out of raw meat which is then kept for 72 hours in a WARM room to ferment, before hanging in a humid drying chamber at around 14C. A very unnatural thing to do, but with immaculate food hygiene, and by using the correct curing salt and a starter culture that will promote the 'good' bacteria and limit growth of 'bad' bacteria, the process is actually pretty safe.The objective is that you reach a given Aw (Water activity) and Ph (acidity) to suppress any baddies such as Listeria, Salmonella and Botulism, the arch-enemy of the fermented sausage maker. You can see the first blossoming of the white mold which is a Penicillin strain, and desirable on this type of sausages.