Get a bunch of hunters sittin’ around a fire and ask ’em what they think of axis deer meat. I’m guessing that the consensus, after a couple of contemplative sips of beer and a good deal of head-nodding, is that axis meat is top notch. The flavor and texture are superlative. For several years, I’ve heard hunters say that they’d just as soon eat axis as any other variety of wild game, with the possible exception of elk. I have to agree.
This is the beginning of my comparison between Axis and whitetail meat. After a sip of beer, I’ll share my experience.
This is a football roast from a small axis. It is from the hindquarter. It’s larger than that of a whitetail. Also, notice the thick layer of silverskin. I discovered that it isn’t as tough or chewy as whitetail. The roast has been placed on a roasting rack and placed over a small oven-proof pan to catch drippings. I have to admit that this set-up is a little precarious and requires some coordination when it comes to placing the roast in the oven. What can I say? I ride the ragged edge of disaster. Use a roasting pan that is larger than the rack if you wish. Problem solved.
Notice the rich, mahogany color of the meat. I cut the roast most of the way through, then filled the cavity with minced garlic and salt and pepper.
I tied up the roast on the roasting rack.
I covered the entire top of the roast with more minced garlic. Yeah, it’s a lot. A lot of fabulous!
Take thick-sliced, maple bacon, cut each slice in half and lay across the top of the roast. Place in a 350 degree oven. Roast for about one hour.
I always throw a pan of root veggies in the oven at the same time as the roast. I add sliced onions, carrots, potatoes, cubed sweet potatoes, a drizzle of olive oil, plenty of kosher salt and fresh ground pepper, all tossed together with my hands in a 9×13 baking dish. Add about a cup of water or stock to the pan. This can go into the oven with the roast and will be ready at the same time!