Have you ever watched Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and thought to yourself, damn, that looks like some nice eatin'?
Although, we're sure there's someone out there that feels that way -- hey, people are strange.
Well, if you're looking for an alternative to, um, venison, you should try to track down some reindeer for the holiday season.
We spoke to executive chef Greg Schiff -- and wild game enthusiast -- of the Dubliner about four ways to cook Santa's favorite mode of transportation.
4. Reindeer Burger
If you're a regular old American, there's a good chance you eat a regular old beef burger at least once a week -- it's called $5 Burger Mondays. But hey, sometimes that ground meat patty, cheese, bun, and LTO combination gets old. Why not grind up some Rudolph and throw it between two buns? Since it's not pumped full of antibiotics and grains -- domesticated cows are because ruminants don't process corn well -- it's actually a healthier option; if you hold the bacon, that is.
3. Reindeer Tenderloin
According to Schiff, reindeer tenderloin should have a very similar flavor to venison. He suggests butchering a tenderloin into six ounce portions, encrusting it in a combination of red, black, and green peppercorns, searing it, and slicing it into strips. For a sauce, Schiff recommends serving it with a merlot reduction.
"Anything gamey goes well with dark reductions," said Schiff. "It plays up the nice smokey palate."
2. Rack of Reindeer
Everyone's had rack of lamb. Why not seek out a different kind of rack? Schiff suggests cutting the rack into two bone chops and creating a simple marinade with woodsy herbs like rosemary, tarragon, or sage "to take the game off" and grilling them off as you would lamb.
"You could also use a whiskey sauce with a touch of cream of a red wine reduction," said Schiff. "It would be great with roasted rosemary potatoes and simple vegetables.
1. Eggs and Reindeer Sausage
You can't get much more American than eggs and breakfast sausage -- maybe, it's time to switch it up. While the traditional pork-product is prevalent through the continental United States, in reindeer country Alaska, they reindeer sausage is all over the place. While it may sound odd, Schiff assures us it's actually quite good.
For anyone looking to try one of Schiff's recipes, reindeer meat and sausage is available for mail order through americanpridefoods.com/wild-game.
Follow Sara Ventiera on Twitter, @saraventiera.