View Full Version : Deer liver

September 14, 2006, 07:51 PM
Anyone bother to eat it? Worth saving from your deer?

September 14, 2006, 08:09 PM
I know people who eat it. My guess is I'd like it about as much as I like cow liver, which is to say, I'd much rather eat fecal matter. :barf: :p

September 14, 2006, 09:16 PM
It's more like calves liver, not as tough as beef liver and definitely better than fecal matter. :D I'll save some, occasionally. I usually chunk it and deep fry it with mildly hot breader.

It makes pretty good catfish bait, too.

Dave Haven
September 14, 2006, 09:30 PM
I'm just not into eating used filters.....
On the other hand, I like used pumps.
Last time I harvested an elk, my co-workers were extremely "generous" in offering to help me dispose of the backstrap, etc.
I cooked the heart and the tongue in my Crock Pot and took them to work to share. My co-workers weren't so "generous", then. I had to eat most of the heart and tongue myself. Dammit.:)

I left the liver for the ravens. I'm sure they enjoyed it.

Quickdraw Limpsalot
September 14, 2006, 09:41 PM
Liver and heart are always the first meal from a freshly downed deer in this house.

September 14, 2006, 10:39 PM
We always had the liver and heart first on our deer. I still do that today. Very good eats in my opinion.


September 14, 2006, 11:16 PM
Organ-meats are tastey.

Fat White Boy
September 14, 2006, 11:32 PM
My dad always carried a couple of onions to fry up with deer liver. I never acquired a taste for it...

moose fat
September 15, 2006, 01:10 AM
If you haven't tried deer liver or the heart or the tongue you're missing out on some good food.

Just had moose liver night before last, now I have to get a moose. Tis the season.
Fry bacon and then onions in the bacon grease and then the liver in the onionbacon grease.

September 15, 2006, 01:47 AM
I won't. Nope, nope, uh-uh. Out West, there are a lot of deer infected with liver flukes. Won't hurt you to eat it, it's just the thought of eating flatworms.

MMMMMMmmmmmmm . . . just like Mom used to make 'em.

September 15, 2006, 02:56 AM
Beware of the area that you are eating deer livers from. Dow chemical is supposed to have severely contaminated some land in lower Michigan to the point where it is advised not to eat deer or squirrels from there. I believe that the liver concentrates some polutants in itself.

September 15, 2006, 09:42 AM
We used to eat them in my dad's camp until we found one with a huge tapeworm in it. Never ate one since.

September 15, 2006, 12:01 PM
If you are liver-lover... absolutely!

The only liver better is Elk liver

You're making me hungry!!! :D

September 15, 2006, 06:30 PM
Deer Liver & onions fresh cooked, is nothing, I repeat nothing like store bought cow liver. Very mild in comparison.



dale taylor
September 15, 2006, 09:18 PM
Meatco is correct. Liver is mild. Heart is good also. The first thing on ice, cooked in evening. I avoid large hog livers [email protected]

September 15, 2006, 09:58 PM
Interesting range of reactions, here. Nothing to do but try it myself. Organ meats do concentrate toxins, but one deer liver per season shouldn't be too dreadful. And I already know I like tongue, albeit it's only beef tongue that I've had. Another reason to study a little anatomy, and probably get a lesson or two from a guide in field dressing & butchering a deer.

moose fat
September 16, 2006, 02:53 AM
There you go.
When you butcher you should be looking critically at what you're cutting up. If it doesn't look "right" or smell right leave it for the bears, ravens, wolf's, eagles etc.

Any game biologists reading this that can describe "bad meat", or butchers? Sort of off the thread.

Thats the thing about catching your own food, you know what you're getting.

September 16, 2006, 06:48 AM
Do not overcook a liver... Cow, deer or elk...

Unless you like it dry... :barf:

Slice it thin (about 3/16")

Saute the onions separately, and when you put them on top of the liver...
add a little butter and salt to taste... :)

September 16, 2006, 07:09 AM
Well, let me put it this way:barf: ....I'm getting nauseous just READING about eating it:barf: ....But I feel the same way about beef liver:barf: ---I literally can't even watch someone else eat it!:eek: Guess I'm a wuss, at least when it comes to some things.

September 16, 2006, 08:15 AM
I love people like you...

In the field when I see a successful hunter... I can count on him not liking the liver and he will almost always give it to me! :) :) :)

September 16, 2006, 09:46 AM
Save the liver for folks that like it, is what I do.
The heart mixed in with the ground meat gives a extra pound or so of hamburger.
I keep a couple of plastic grocery bags in my small backpack to carry them out with.

September 17, 2006, 09:21 AM
Deer Liver & onions fresh cooked, is nothing, I repeat nothing like store bought cow liver.

Interesting. Thank you. Maybe I can work up the nerve to try it. Does it taste just like deer heart? I've had that and can tolerate it, even though it has that "livery" taste and smell a bit.

If it doesn't work out, the catfish bait idea is a good reason to keep it. I like using as much of the animal as possible, and leave very little for the buzzards & coyotes.

Hey, tapeworms & flukes are just extra protein, guys! :eek:

Long Path
September 17, 2006, 02:39 PM


Aflatoxin (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aflatoxin) is a common fungus found in corn that has gotten damp and turned mealy. Corn with too-high a level of Aflatoxin is not allowed to be sold for human or cattle consumption, and thus is sold as "wildlife feed" or "deer corn." It's not that harmful to the deer, usually, because the amount of corn that they eat from bait feeders is only a fraction of their regular diet (they are usually not "fed" so much as "baited"-- the corn is a treat that they love to eat, but isn't usually much of an impact on their diet, unless they are eating large amounts from multiple baiting stations.). Still, what toxin is eaten ends up concentrated in the liver. Aflatoxicosis causes damage to the liver, and contributes to cirrosis, hepatititis, and, in chronic or acute cases, death.

Now that I've scared y'all with that mess, let me back up and say that I'm not in the least worried about the rest of the meat from deer that have eaten a little deer corn, and don't think that you're in trouble if you had a fresh deer liver in camp (which is the great joy of deer liver, as I understand it: super fresh from the animal and not over-cooked, the meat is supposed to make liver-haters wonder how they ever could have hated it.). But if you're in an area rife with feeders and little in the way of food, and you volunteer to accept everyone else's livers in camp because they know you love it so much... well, you might wanna reconsider.

September 17, 2006, 04:07 PM
With Deer liver, I prefer to get it on ice first thing, and when ready to cook later that night, rinse it well with fresh water before cooking. Slice it thin, fry it in hot butter along with sliced onions. A bit of salt & pepper, and you're ready to feast!

Don't over cook!

Serve it with a tossed green salad, and iced beer. After a hard days hunt, you'll think you've died & gone to heaven!

By the way, I absolutely HATE Steer liver!! But, fresh Deer liver is a whole different ball game.


Smokey Joe
September 17, 2006, 08:35 PM
Gotta side with the liver lovers here. And I too usu end up a deer season with one deer's worth of meat, one hide, and 4-5 livers and hearts. I LIKE hunting with people with food prejudices! :)

Have always liked beef liver & pork liver, and deer liver is just the same, mebbe a bit daintier in flavor.

For that matter, the only notably different liver I've ever eaten was from a sheep shot on a game farm--it had just a hint of that distinctive mutton flavor along with the standard liver flavor. But it was still great.

BTW, tapeworms do NOT live in livers!! Liver flukes, yes, tapeworms, no. Tapeworms are intestinal. And the liver processes toxins, it doesn't store 'em long-term. The liver is the body's amazing chemical factory--it has over 400 different functions that it performs, and researchers are constantly finding new ones. Another thought--Polar bear liver is so high in Vitamin A that it is toxic to humans, so avoid that particular liver. It's the only one to avoid AFAIK.

Fry bacon to get the grease. (Thick-sliced, really smoked bacon, not sugar cured, if you can get it!) Set bacon aside to drain. Fry sliced onions in the bacon grease. Set onions aside with bacon. Fry thinly sliced liver in the bacon grease, but ONLY until it is done (not pink) all the way through, not one second longer.

Serve. Eat. And Eat. Heaven on a plate.

Now heart, you fry in butter. Gently. Again, only until done. Most folks that think they hate liver or heart, have never had it except overcooked.

September 18, 2006, 01:04 AM
another fan here, but i like heart the best.:D liver and heart fried with onions and mushrooms served with some spuds you'd be in heaven.

September 18, 2006, 04:28 AM
Liver lands in the gut pile....coyotes and crows gotta eat too

September 18, 2006, 11:11 AM
I eat a lot of things that would make a lot of people puke: hearts, gizzards, chicken feet, frogs, tripe (cow stomach), trachea, esophogus, tongue, face, pigs & cow feet, intestines, etc.

Some people in my family even like fried lungs.

Having said all that, I've tried cow liver a few times, and man oh man, does it make me :barf: . The consistency is what does it in for me.

Then again, some people like oppossum and racoon, so I guess to each their own...I wish I liked it b/c that would just give me one more thing to enjoy...

September 18, 2006, 01:05 PM
Moose Fat and Pointer have it just right---Cast iron skillet, big chunks 'o bacon (thick, lots of fat--not that wanna-be alomst bacon stuff), then onions, then liver. But I shake my liver slices in flour with salt, pepper, and then toss in some chopped garlic while it's frying. AND the only liver better than deer is ELK! Oh yes, that's one part that usually doesn't make it out of camp. Then I rely on all the guys I know who don't eat liver to bring it back from theirs so I have something to enjoy at home all winter. In winter, I like it about once a week if possible. Tasty eats, but darn-good for you through the flu/cold season, too.

September 18, 2006, 08:07 PM
Well, the things you learn. Eat the esophagus? I never would've thunk it. I have to go hunt, some lifetime, with a couple of the omnicarnivorous posters here. Somebody is going to chime in next with advice on boiling hooves for stock.

Aflatoxin is also a new reference for me, I've heard of it but not in a hunting context.

September 19, 2006, 12:21 PM
Flukes, tapeworms, whatever. That was just plain gross. We do keep the hearts though. I either boil them until tender then pickle them or throw them in the sausage. Last year my buddy didn't want the elk heart and that thing was huge, close to the size of a football.

Smokey Joe
September 19, 2006, 01:04 PM
NRA4life--Parasitism is just another way of life. Life is what it is. Almost all living things feed on other living things in one way or another.

You want something truly icky, check out what a hagfish is and does. John Steinbeck referred to its "revolting personal habits."

September 19, 2006, 02:49 PM

The mere mention of hagfish just about makes me sick. I know exactly what they do. I know about parasites, but like I said, it's still gross.

There was mention earlier in this thread about getting livers from other people's deer. That reminded me of something. These old boys that used to hunt on a farm next to me used to come over and ask if we'd shot any bucks. They'd go harvest the "oysters" from them.

I've also heard of people pulling off the thick fat around the kidneys and using it like butter. I think they referred to it as kidney butter.

To each his own.

September 19, 2006, 04:00 PM
Nope, I'll pass.

September 19, 2006, 07:57 PM
What? No mention of boiling hooves? Oysters - I've heard of that, certainly, and the thought sets mine to retracting. :) "Kidney butter," now that's new to me. Never mind the fat; anyone eat deer kidney? I have distant memories of eating kidneys as a kid, though my spouse would upchuck at the thought and I haven't done so in four or five decades. What about it, all you relentless carnivores; deer kidneys, yes or no?

September 19, 2006, 08:08 PM
Nope, can't say kidneys even sound appealing. If I HAD to, all well and good--hopefully there's lots of ketchup in reach. But by choice? Nope, it's just getting a little too close to the "exit" end of things, and I'm not that hungry.

Jack O'Conner
September 20, 2006, 09:43 AM
We love mule deer and elk liver. Very tasty.

Antelope liver is really bad. But coyotes and crows gotta eat too, so its not wasted.


September 21, 2006, 12:48 PM
Only good use for that is catfish bait:p . We actually have a ritual where the rod and reels are broke out as soon as a deer arrives in camp.

Dave Haven
September 22, 2006, 10:44 PM
I've never tried kidney. I've heard the best way to prepare it is to "boil the piss out of it".:D

September 23, 2006, 12:34 AM
Um, nah man...kidneys don't do it for me, either. They just LOOK nasty as hell...and plus they remind me of the sickest story of Jack the Ripper & how he sent one of his victim's kidneys to the police and said he fried & ate the other one.... :eek: :barf: :eek: :barf:

OMG, just the thought of that is enough to make me dry heave...

September 23, 2006, 02:25 AM
Oh, man this thread is making me hungry. I need to shoot and eat something ASAP. If you don't like guts you must have never had them cooked like we do them up down here...

Poverty + Bastardized French Cooking Tradition = Tastey Guts

September 23, 2006, 08:54 PM
OK, all you guys send me your cell phone #s, and Huntress, you too. Never mind hunting, as soon as I squash something with the 4runner, I'll call you all up and we'll have a party. :D :D :D

moose fat
September 25, 2006, 05:42 PM
:D One of my buddies likes raw moose kidney, just after gutting and before packing out the quarters. Says it gives him lots of energy, never tried it.

September 25, 2006, 06:37 PM
Don't bother getting his phone #. That's farther then I'll go, even once. Raw?

October 4, 2006, 02:42 AM
One unusual way to prepare liver is to partially freeze the liver then slice it thin (3/16ths) inch. It is floured and seasoned (salt, white pepper, black pepper and cayenne) after it is cut into small rounds the diameter of canadian bacon. The Canadian bacon is sauteed in clarified butter and drained, the liver rounds are then sauteed quickly in the same calrified butter. Each liver round is served with an almost equal portion of canadian bacon. Spectacular dish. This is NOT healthfood, it probably has enough cholesterol for a plattoon. Then again how often do you eat venison liver?

October 6, 2006, 08:01 PM
So far, never. But ... we'll see. The raw stuff mentioned, not in this life.
Interesting thread, ain't this?

October 8, 2006, 05:07 AM
Get your deer liver ( or kidneys) and soak for an hour or more in a dish of milk to just cover them. Get the fry pan going, no too hot a little melted butter and put in the liver , sliced if you want, not too thin and add good splash of claret and fry lightly to leave slight pink in the middle ( not real raw) add some mushrooms and another splash of the red stuff and put on your plate along with already fried bacon and eggs, fresh bread and butter. To die for!

October 8, 2006, 07:17 AM
I live in the Texas Hill Country and the livers from the hill country dear are fantastic. I save the heart and liver. Kidneys for flavor in stew. I am not a lover of any other liver. Wife cooks it several ways even as a stew or dice and cook with the liver and onions...it is all great. like others have said immeditately on Ice or cold fridge, clean well making sure you have pulled the small gland attached to it off carefully, wash and soak in ice cold water and follow some of the above cooking methods. Don't knock it until you have tried at least a bite of it. Who knows, you might just like it!!

October 8, 2006, 06:14 PM
there's an interesting parallel to Foxman's method of preparing liver and kidneys in salt water fishing. Smooth or spiny dogfish are a common catch in the NE. (Nobody wants them, but you can't avoid them, either). These are small sharks, and they have a lot of urea, as would a kidney - maybe a liver,too. Dicing the fillet into small pieces and soaking in milk is a widely recommended preparation for neutralizing the urea.

Well, if I don't mess up my first deer beyond all redemption, I've had plenty of advice on what to do at home. Still not gonna eat the esophagus, though. ;)