A majestic animal, known as Reindeer in Europe and Caribou in the USA. Large males can weigh more than 300 kilograms with antlers spanning well over 1 meter. They are prized for their fur, milk and used for transportation.
Reindeer are also quite delicious.
Eating venison is neither strange nor unusual to a lot of folk, being widely available across most continents. It usually comes alongside the perception the meat will be extremely lean, to the point of gamey, and needs to be either cooked thinly and quickly, or slowly and chunky.
Domesticated and farmed reindeer is different to a wild caught deer, so different you’d be excused for thinking it came from a completely different family of animal. Having eaten a fair few “Bambi’s” in my time, I expected reindeer meat to have the usual gamey taste and texture of venison, with a hint of beef. Jokingly referring to it as “beefhorse”.
Reindeer meat isn’t gamey in the slightest. As expected, it’s extremely lean, which makes it taste very different to beef. It’s not tough like other venison though, and is surprisingly mild. A slight tang of metal to the palette, but otherwise very pleasant.
Perhaps it’s kudos to Bryggeloftet & Stuene, who serve it as “Fillet of reindeer, beets and Brussels sprout and game sauce”, for ensuring the cut and cooking was exemplary. I opted for medium rare, which was perfect, with no hint of the chewy texture or heaviness that often comes from game meats.
Surely the wild version is different again, but if you do have the chance to try a fillet of caribou or reindeer, you won’t be disappointed! Santa mightn’t be too thrilled with the idea of you eating prancer and dancer though!