Book Review: Meat Eater: Adventures from the Life of an American Hunter

Meat Eater
Book Review Steven Rinella: Steve writes about how he became the hunter he is today, and adds some wild game recipes in as a bonus.

I don’t watch hunting shows. Most of today’s shows are made purely for entertainment. I don’t hunt to be entertained. I hunt to eat (please don’t sue me Janis). So when one of my buddies told me about this show called “Meat Eater” with Steven Rinella, I was like, ok, whatever.

Then he would pester me every once in a while. “Did you see the show where he cooked the bear?” or “You have to see how he cooked the heart!”. It was time to check it out. I’ve never seen a hunting show where they actually cook what they kill.

The first episode I saw, Steve goes out in the mountains. He hunts for a whole week, busting his ass in the field, up and down these mountains. He had a harder hunt in one day than I ever hunted in my life (I have a nice river valley hunting camp – nice and flat, and I LIKE it like that!). He gets skunked, and goes home empty handed, but determined to try again.

Holy crap. Skunked?! And he made a show about it?! I can respect that. I was hooked.

One thing Steve does at the end of every show is cook some part of what he kills (if he has a successful hunt). This isn’t a cooking show, but to me it’s more a demonstration about what the hunt is about. Hunting isn’t about killing. It’s about living.

While this may seem like I’m going on about the show, the book is a very complimentary read to the show. Steve is a great story teller, and it shows in this book. A good part of the book covers Steve’s youth and background on how he got where he is.

Most books I read fall in two categories: I learn, or they have swords. Or magic. Or swords AND magic. While this book doesn’t quite fall in either of those categories, the stories were good. AND in similar tradition to the show, each chapter ends with a wild game recipe and some insight into that animal or recipe. One of the things I really appreciated about the book is Steve’s take on some of the ethical conundrums of hunting. Why do we kill these animals? Why do some fishermen do catch and release? These are conversations every outdoorsman  should have, with themselves, AND with other hunters.

So, check out Steve’s book, Meat Eater: Adventures from the life of an American Hunter. And check out his show. AND his podcasts. It’s a bunch of guys sitting around talking about hunting! He’s not paying me for this, so if a cynical hunter like me likes it, I think you’ll like it too.

Get his book from Amazon:


Book Review: Making The Most of Your Deer

Book Review Dennis Walrod – this book provides some of the most comprehensive information on fully using your deer that I’ve seen.

When I started hunting, I read tons of books and magazines about hunting. As I refined my tactics over the years, and settled into my own hunting property, I became much less interested in how to hunt deer, and more focused on what to do with deer after I’m lucky enough to harvest one.

One thing I don’t like about many of the books I’ve read on processing deer, is that they don’t focus enough on the actual processing. They spend unnecessary time trying to cover all the basics of everything involved in the hunt. From tactics to how to drag a deer – this is necessary for new hunters, but I really hunger for a “Deer Processing 201”, or even 301 book.

Making the Most of Your Deer by Dennis Walrod falls somewhere in the middle for me. He provides information that I haven’t seen before. The tanning and soap making sections were particularly interesting, as the more deer I take over the years, the more I try to make the most of every part of them.

His walk through on field dressing and butchering are also very well done. I would have preferred more pictures – but having butchered a good number of deer myself, I could make up for some of the missing imagery.

While some of my techniques on processing and butchering differ from Dennis’, I still read this book before each deer season (well, at least certain parts). I keep a small library of books that I have learned from, and go through a “refresher” every year. This book is in that list for me. When you haven’t butchered a deer in close to a year, a little review helps tremendously.

I made bird suet for the first time thanks to this book. I’m working up to soap. I’ve been able to get the wife to eat venison. I don’t know how long it will take to get her to bathe with it!

Buy it here on Amazon.


Book Review: Gut It. Cut It. Cook It. The Deer Hunter’s Guide to Processing & Preparing Venison

Books Review Gut It, Cut It, Cook It – One of the best illustrated, most complete deer processing books that I’ve seen.

When it comes to deer hunting, there are probably a few billion books out there on how to do it.

When it comes to wild game recipes/cooking venison, the numbers are up there too.

When it comes to butchering a deer, there are maybe five. Maybe I exaggerate a little, but you get my drift.

The hunting and even some of the recipe books may have an excerpt or two about how to butcher and process a deer, but I often find them lacking on detail. Or pictures. This book doesn’t lack on either. Gut it, Cut It, Cook It is one of the most comprehensive books on deer processing that I’ve found.

It’s a large book (physical size, not number of pages), set up in a binder type format. That means you could actually have it open WHILE you are processing your deer, and the page will stay where you are at.

On top of that, the pictures are large, with great detail, the authors do a great job of actually showing what they are describing in the text. It does not currently have a digital format, and I hate to admit it (I haven’t bought a physical book in 10 years, other than this one), viewing this on a small screen would lose detail, so no digital version is not a bad thing.

If you are a deer hunter, you should own this book. If you process your own deer and think you know everything, buy this book – you will learn something. If you don’t process your own deer, get this and you will see that butchering isn’t as complicated as you might think. I’m not saying that processing your own deer isn’t work, but the more you understand about the muscle structure of the animal, and better yet, the more you practice you get, the easier it is. Plus you will get more meat from your deer (hey, butchers have a time sensitive business, no offense to the butchers and commercial deer processors out there), and it will be processed exactly how you want it!

Buy it here, or read more about it here on Amazon.