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Take a Bite of Bambi: Venison in Chicago

By JoshMogerman in Food on Jan 30, 2011 8:00PM

Deer Buck Tongue by jonnnnnn via Flickr
The Trib digs deer. Eating them that is… Crack foodie reporter Monica Eng ran a pair of stories this week extolling the virtues of venison from standpoints of both a taste and sustainability. Gone are complaints about gaminess as locavores turn their attention to deer as a responsible eating option. After all, plenty of suburbanites have them eating hydrangeas in their back yards---culling would really cut your food miles!

We are bought in, but Eng notes that if you aren’t buddies with a hunter or do the shooting yourself, venison can be hard to come by since poaching laws prevent hunters from selling their harvest. Our contacts in Wisconsin are limited... So what’s an interested City dweller to do? Enter Kevin Pang, another of the Trib’s crack food reporters. In a Twitter exchange that quickly turned into a crowd sourcing project, Pang helped identify a number of sources for venison at local meat counters. Fox & Obel sells a bite of Bambi for $50/pound. More budget-friendly butchers offering venison in Chicago include Olympia Meat Packers, Paulina Meat Market and Chicago Game and Gourmet. Out in Homer Glen, Czimer’s Game and Seafood offers venison along side an array of more exotic critters that makes you wonder if they are plundering Brookfield Zoo.

A quick call to the Butcher & Larder, came up empty with staff bemoaning the lack of access to wild venison, which is considered to be of much higher quality than the farmed meat sold in many markets. Echoing Eng, they noted, "it almost makes you want to get a hunting license, eh?”