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Food & Drink

On your game

Two recipes to help use up that freezer full of venison

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Venison Marlene
(named after my mom)

big hunk of venison: rump roast, shoulder, stew chunks, whatever you got
a 12-ounce can of root beer
your favorite barbecue sauce from a bottle, or you can get all fancy and make some
(optional: bacon)

Put thawed meat in slow cooker. Pour the root beer on top. (You can use more than one can, but I find it makes the finished BBQ taste strongly of root beer; 12 ounces really does do the job.) Turn on low and cook 6 to 8 hours, until tender. Turn the meat a couple of times if you think of it; it's better that all of it spends some time submerged in the root beer. Remove from cooker, pull apart into shreds, and mix with barbecue sauce.
(Bacon option: Drape slices of bacon over meat before pouring in root beer, and remove and discard bacon at the end. Venison is incredibly lean, and adding a little fat definitely makes this even more delicious.)

'Tis the season

If you haven't been blessed with the gift of fresh game by anyone in your life yet this season, you can still go out and bag your own.

For antlered deer, Florida is in "General Gun Season" right now, meaning you can hunt mature bucks using "all legal centerfire rifles and pistols, shotguns, muzzleloaders, crossbows and bows." Deer hunters must have a deer permit, as well as a hunting license.

Check the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission's designated hunting zones at myfwc.com/hunting/season-dates/zone-map. Orange County is split between Zone B (season ends Feb. 17) and Zone C (season ends Jan. 20). Also there, find information on bag limits, permit and license prices, and seasons for other species.

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