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Tasty, Digestible, Aoudad (Canning and Preserving)
The first Aoudad we were given was so tough we could not even eat it after we ground the roasted haunch and made it into a spread for sandwiches. We COULD, however, can the meat and eat it, and we could grind it and it was not too different from hamburger (needs more salt - a lot more salt - and it needs some Soy Sauce to get that rich deep meaty flavor).
The second one is even tougher. Too much silverskin, and when we canned it, it shattered like wood splinters.
Aoudad is notoriously dry, tasteless, and tough. I mean not just chewy, but something you work on until your jaws tire if it is not a young and tender one, and even then, tougher than venison.
So what to do? It is the meat we were given, and we NEEDED the meat.
This is what we did, and what we discovered!
NOTE: If you have a tough old beef, or moose, or elk, or even some chewy deer or antelope, this method works for those as well.
My meat grinder would not grind Aoudad like it does venison. Not strong enough. I knew we'd not be able to shove that tough and stringy stuff through the cutting dies without it getting wrapped around the auger and bound up.
So first of, we cut it up into 1" chunks. (If you have an even WIMPIER grinder than I did, like the one we used BEFORE this one, then you'll need to cut it in even smaller pieces. If you have a Back To Basics, like my first real meat grinder, then you can do barely larger pieces than 1". If you have a tough workhorse, then you can probably do 2" pieces.)
Second, I used a 1/4" die on my meat grinder.
It worked marvelously! We ended up with a medium texture ground meat that went through the grinder pretty easily. I packed that into the freezer, and proceeded to think about how I could use it.
The first thing I tried was Chili Soup. I was afraid to make chili with too much meat in it, if the meat was Aoudad, so I made the soup, so there was less meat to wrangle over, just in case.
Your favorite Chili recipe, thinned out a bit, with about 2 cups dried beans, and 2 lbs meat, to make about 5-6 qts soup.
I always make the Chili or Soup for dinner, then can the leftovers.
We ended up with 10 pints of chili soup, and you just can't tell that it is Aoudad in there, it tastes like beef.
Next I tried cooking the Aoudad for spaghetti. I put 4 lbs of Aoudad burger into the Instant Pot, put 1 cup of water in the bottom, and then poured a can of tomato over the top. I then PRESSURE cooked it on the longest and hottest cycle my pot allows - maximum pressure, for about 50 minutes.
When it was done, I broke it up, and mixed half of it with spaghetti sauce, and the other half I made into a well cooked vegetable beef style stew, about 5 qts. We had the soup for dinner and canned up the leftovers.
Again, I cannot tell that it is Aoudad in there, and it canned up just great.
The spaghetti was the same. It was just good spaghetti.
I tried some Aoudad that was pressure cooked with tomatoes, to make Hamburger Helper. I won't do that again. It was not beefy, more gamey and chewy.
Then we got a call. Did we want an elk? Did they really have to ask? Only the freezer is FULL!
Have to empty it out.
So I cooked up 5 lbs of Aoudad, with tomato over it, and used 8 jars of spaghetti sauce, plus about 5 cans of the most nasty peely stewed tomatoes I've ever seen - the flavor was good, but the tomatoes had skins on (this was a national brand, bought on sale during a case goods sale, so of course I have plenty of the terrible things). I blendered the stewed tomatoes, which took out the sweetness from the spaghetti sauce just perfectly.
Filled the jars halfway with cooked Aoudad, and then filled the rest of the way with sauce. Canned that. Ended up with 12 jars of canned meaty spaghetti sauce. The meat is tender and almost indistinguishable from beef.
I had too much broth and some tomato juice that I'd drained off the stewed tomatoes so they would not be too soupy, so I cooked up another batch of Aoudad, another 5 lbs with tomato over the top.
When that was done, I broke it up, and put it into 4 quart jars, and then added the tomato broth from both batches. I ended up with the equivalent of ground beef with broth, for soup starter.
NOTE: The ground aoudad that I canned in tomato and aoudad broth was good, but it tastes like ROAST BEEF, and not like hamburger. Be aware, it will have a rich beefy and tomato flavored broth, and it kinda ruins goulash, but it does work well for soup or stew, or for anything else you'd use Roast Beef in.
I'll do two more things, and maybe they will work, maybe not.
I'm going to make Goulash Starter, with cooked ground meat, onions, blendered stewed tomatoes, and corn.
I'll also open the jars of plain canned Aoudad that I canned up this year, add some tomato sauce, and then re-can them. I short cycle can raw meats, to keep them from being overcooked so badly I cannot eat them, so I should be able to get away with this.
I won't use Aoudad, or other tough meat in a Sloppy Joe or a Taco or Burrito meat, because there's just too much concentrated meat there, and the gaminess just doesn't blend out like it does in foods with a lower concentration of meat.
The big secrets I learned about Aoudad are:
1. Pressure cook it.
2. Cook it or can it with TOMATOES on it, and use it in recipes with tomatoes.
3. Salt it good, it is a very low salt and tasteless meat otherwise.
4. If you need some more savory flavor, use Soy Sauce to deepen the flavor.
5. A little Redmond Real Salt Seasoning Salt rounds out the flavor amazingly.
If you've never eaten Aoudad, you'll have no idea what I'm going on about. If you have, you just WON'T believe how good it is when you get it done right.
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