Kosher venison available in the UK for the first time in 100 years

The taste of venison - meat from a deer - is described as similar to the one of beef but more complex, stronger, "with a somewhat sweet taste to it that will remind you of both lamb and beef."

September 26, 2019 14:42
2 minute read.
Steak from Gillis Steak House

Steak from Gillis Steak House. (photo credit: Courtesy)

Kosher venison - meat from a deer - is on sale in the United Kingdom for the first time in over a century.

Kosher Rare Meat Company has started importing the meat that is slaughter from an unnamed European country and then selling it.

"For many years we were thinking about how there are many other meats that are kosher [besides those widely available], why can't we access them?", a spokeswoman for the company told the London-based Jewish Chronicle.

In order to produce the meat, the company teamed up with the UK Federation of Synagogues, an orthodox organization established in 1887 which today comprises 17 member synagogues and nine affiliated synagogues in London and Manchester.

As a ruminant with split hooves, deer is a kosher animal. However, an additional requirement for Jewish dietary laws is that the poultry has "a mesoroh - an established tradition that this species is kosher and was eaten," as Dayan Yeoshua Posen explained in an article on Federation's magazine Hamaor.

Since ritual slaughter of deers is very rare, the daayan – religious judge - had to conduct extensive research and consultations to ensure that producing kosher venison would indeed be possible.

Among other proofs, he mentioned that "here in England, it is known that in the beginning of the 19th century, shochtim [ritual slaughterer] used to shecht deer on the Rothchild family estate on an annual basis, in order to maintain the mesoroh."

According to Kosher Rare Meat Company's website venison is "the healthiest of all red meats," with "less than 2% fat (that's less than skinless chicken)," and "the highest protein content of any major meat."

In terms of flavor, the taste of venison is described as similar to the one of beef but more complex, "stronger, with a somewhat sweet taste to it that will remind you of both lamb and beef."

The spokesperson of Kosher Rare Meat Company told the JC that they are selling "filet mignon, steaks, shoulder, stewing joints all selling well," and that "the response of the public has been overwhelming."

"Deer is not an animal that can be shechted all year round, rather there are very specific seasons when it is permissible to do so. Likewise, permission needs to be granted from the relevant Agricultural Authorities before shechitoh (the Jewish ritual slaughter) can be carried out. Due to these sensitivities, and the fact that it is 100 percent organic, it can be classified as a specialty meat item which we hope will grace many tables for Shabbos, Yom Tov and special occasions going forward," Posen concluded.

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