‘Tis the Season for hunters who enjoy one of the great outdoor activities this time of year: whitetail deer hunting, which is in full swing until Jan. 2 in northern Texas and until Jan. 16 in the southern part of the state.
And, while hunters are hanging out in the deer stand, they might encounter a few of the more than 2.6 million feral hogs here. Hunters often have different criteria for calling a hunt successful or not, but for this article, a successful hunt is one in which an animal is responsibly killed and harvested.
So, you’ve had a successful hunt; what to do with all that meat?
Preston Hollow resident Emily Carty is a trained chef who comes to Dallas via Washington, D.C., and Kerrville.
In Washington, she was the director of FreshStart Catering for the DC Central Kitchen, an inspiration for José Andrés’ World Central Kitchen.
In the Texas hill country, she was the private chef at the ranch of the oil tycoon and philanthropic Bass family.
While in Washington, Emily honed her skills at stretching ingredients with creativity to make healthy, delicious meals. In Kerrville, she learned to harvest deer, hog, and Axis in the field, taking more than just the backstrap, but cuts of meat that are worth the time and effort required if you know how to prepare them.
Armed with a profound dichotomy of experience, Emily settled in Dallas with her husband, Will, venture investor and son of former American Airlines CEO Don Carty, and their daughter. She works private cheffing gigs around town and has plans to start a meal service soon.
Emily’s tips for preparing fresh game go well beyond venison chili and wild hog breakfast sausage.
Emily’s tips for preparing fresh game go well beyond venison chili and wild hog breakfast sausage. She makes a mean venison carpaccio drizzled with good olive oil, lemon juice, sea salt, Dijon, and chives. She also prepares venison ham, a cut usually sent to grind, but she lightly smokes it then oven roasts with garlic and rosemary. “It’s important to introduce fat, as Texas venison tends to be very lean. Bacon is the obvious choice,” she adds, “but if you can get your hands on some caul fat, wrap it around the venison, and it will baste the meat as it cooks.”
Chef Carty prefers younger, smaller hogs to make baby back ribs, slow-baked in the oven and finished on the grill. Her favorite feral hog recipe is braised cochon de lait, which requires a very young animal, which she serves over creamy polenta. She also recommends making a rich broth with lean hog meat and aromatics to add to soups, stews, and to masa to make tamales. And if you decide you only want to backstrap, then marinate it in buttermilk, vinegar, citrus, or even pickle juice before cooking to tenderize.
Knowing how to work with and prepare wild game is a passion for Emily Carty. If you’ve got some hunts planned over the holidays, reach out to her [email protected] for recipes, tips, lessons, or catering.