Deer Box: Sustainably sourced wild British venison delivered straight to your door
It’s springtime, which means you should get your grill ready for barbecue season. This year, there is a new option on the menu for lovers of quality cuts, for chef, restaurateur and deer manager Mike Robinson and his professional partner Ben Heath have recently launched Deer Box, offering national home deliveries of one of Britain’s most underutilised, nutritious and delicious resources, deer meat.
The deer population has risen significantly during lockdown to over two million, the highest in level in over 1,000 years. This overpopulation can lead to destroyed habitats including woodlands where other species live. The most effective way to manage the herds is through selective culling, so there’s an abundance of wild venison – which is great news for conscientious meat-eaters.
Robinson is clear in his aims: “The mission for Deer Box is simple: to provide healthy sustainable wild venison in easy to prepare and cook packages. Venison is incredibly easy to cook, accessibly priced and very versatile, and we feel that now is the time it should be on many more tables on a regular basis. Wild venison has a fine texture, is very low in fat and the taste varies between the six deer species, but they are all very good indeed.”
It’s easy enough to sample the goods for yourself. Shop online at Deer Box and you can select one of the mixed venison boxes, or, if you prefer, make up your own box by selecting individual products. You can order individual cuts including venison loin, saddle, ossobuco, pave or rump steaks, chops, racks, mince, diced meat, burgers, sausages, shoulder and haunch. There are also speciality cuts of Chinese water deer and 28-day dry-aged Himalayan fallow deer.
The Wild Deer Mixed Venison boxes are priced at £60, £80 and £100, offering amazing value. “We mix up the species and make the boxes seasonal and with every pack there will be a choice of recipes to use. We guarantee that you will never get bored of what’s in the boxes!” says Robinson.
The chef has considerable expertise in cooking game and promoting sustainable hunting and land use: In May 2020 he was awarded Champion of Champions for the game industry; his restaurants (The Harwood Arms and The Woodsman) won two awards for game last year; and his larder Owl Barn was recognised as the Best Small Retailer Selling Game.
Robinson is committed to adapting to an eco-conscious, evolving industry: “We are in a changing world, where consumers want to know where their food comes from. How sustainable is the production and the ‘carbon footprint’ of the process surrounding it? We are seeking more healthy food.”
“All our wild deer carcasses have full provenance: the estate, the date when inspected and when butchered and packed. We are one of the few that offer from field to fork.”
“All the wild deer are harvested by trained hunters who take food safety very seriously. Only ‘lead-free, food-safe’ ammunition is used. Even though this is not a regulation, we operate at the highest standards.”
“Carcasses are hung for seven to ten days before being skinned, inspected by FSA Vets and UK stamped. They are then processed, butchered and vacuum-packed for ultimate freshness before being frozen. This guarantees that every box will arrive with its customer as fresh as possible and still frozen ready to be either defrosted straight away or stored in the freezer. All our packaging is biodegradable and recyclable and parcels are sent out mid-week on a next day service.”
“We use ‘wool cool’ as the insulation layer to keep everything frozen and super fresh. It’s natural (made of wool), biodegradable or re-usable and our boxes are made of recycled cardboard.”
To really help you make the most of this quality meat, check out Robinsons’s own recipe for venison lollipops below.
Venison lollipops by Mike Robinson
1/2 lb of ground pork
1/2 lb of ground venison (we like Muntjac for this recipe, but any venison will do)
1/2 cup of finely chopped parsley
1 tbsp salt
Black pepper to taste
- Soak the liquorice sticks in water for two hours.
- Mix the ground meats and herbs, seasoning with salt and pepper.
- Split the liquorice sticks in half along the grain.
- Form the meat mix around each stick to make little meaty drumsticks.
- Fry in hot oil in a deep fat fryer (or on your stovetop, but be extra careful!).
- Serve with pickles and ale.
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For standard delivery, all orders must be placed before 11.30pm on Mondays, to be shipped out on Tuesdays for delivery to your door on Wednesdays. Order online here.