lab and yorkshire terrier

Game Time Yorkie Treats

at the ram's game

Game time! When you hear those two words together, what do you think of? Spring baseball? World Cup Soccer? Magic: The Gathering? Living in the boonies, “Game time” makes me think of deer tenderloin. This time of year is deer season in Missouri and this year I was fortunate enough to get some fresh deer liver to make dog treats. I’ve never used it before and, while this “recipe” will probably just make you shake your head, I decided I had to share.

I’m going to digress a little here – I must share a recent “game time” experience”. After the biggest Cyber Monday we’ve ever had, Laura and I needed a little escape. We got a chance to do just that on December 11th.

Our cousin, Julie is married to her high school sweetheart, Scott, who, besides being a really great guy, happens to be a totally awesome football player. He plays for the St. Louis Rams at center. Laura, my excellent sister and Yorkie Splash and Shine’s CFO, asked Julie if she could get us tickets to the Rams’ game on the 11th. The next thing I know, we’re in my car making the 3 hour drive to the Lou for the game. We got decked out in our “63 Wells” gear and cheered until we were hoarse. I’d never been to a professional football game before, and let me tell you, it’s amazing!

After the game, we met up with Scott, Julie, and my Aunt Kim and went down to the field and took a few pictures. It was so great to hang out with family in such a surreal location. Sharing memories of Thanksgivings past on the field in the Edward Jones Dome is not something I ever expected to do. The unexpected parts of life are usually the most memorable. I would insert a ridiculous Thanksgiving story here, but someone would probably give me a beat-down (dead mouse, anyone?).

But this post isn’t supposed to be about the football game, it is supposed to be about using game to make treats (I said I’d digress). If you’ve been following our blog, you know that my furbutts go bonkers over liver treats. I generally use beef liver, since it’s readily available from my local grocer. But, every now and then, I get a chance to use something other than beef. A few years ago we purchased a whole hog from a butcher and so I was able to use pork liver. Catherine loved that! A couple of days ago, thanks to living in the sticks and having friends who hunt, I was able to make her some treats with fresh deer liver, and Catherine is now completely obsessed.

Let me start by saying that I received an entire, whole deer liver. It was HUGE and tough. I tried to cut it into manageable pieces, but the sucker was just not cooperating. The plan was to cut it up and blend it like I usually do with beef liver. I hacked at the liver as best I could while wearing my spiffy yellow kitchen gloves (there was no way I was touching that thing with my bare hands). I put a few handfuls of meat into the blender and turned it on. Nothing good was happening, so I added a couple of eggs to help get the blade turning. Things got moving, so I added a few more scoops of meat chunks. All of a sudden, the blender started smoking and made a grotesque noise like it was about to propel itself into outer space. I immediately did what any rational person would do – I took the lid off the blender. Liver puree went flying everywhere. I somehow managed to turn off the blender and get it unplugged and away from anything flammable. Smoke billowed from the back of my poor Oster while I tried to decide what to do with the gloopy mess I had left inside the blender. I stirred in a little brown rice flour and poured the concoction onto my baking-mat lined cookie sheet. I didn’t take many pictures because, let’s face it, I had already decided there was no way I was posting this epic failure of a recipe on the blog. But, there was only one deer liver and I can’t try again, so, I’m sucking up my pride and posting anyway.

If you are brave enough to attempt this at home, the “recipe” I ended up with is about 3/4 of a deer liver, partially pureed, 3 eggs, and 1 cup brown rice flour. Apparently it smelled delicious because the dogs were hovering the entire time the tray of disappointment was baking. The whole house smelled like a mixture of German grandmother kitchen and sweaty gym socks (after the baking, I immediately went to Walmart and bought massive quantities of Glade plug-ins). What came out of the oven after about 40 minutes on 350 was the most monstrous tray of treats I have ever seen. There are no words, only shame.

Still, the dogs were salivating. I managed to cut the “treats” into pieces that resembled squares. They may be the ugliest, but I guess they’re the best tasting treats I’ve ever made because Catherine has never acted so excited in her entire life. She actually bit my fingers when I gave her the first one, and the second. Dakota, the lab, nipped me a little, too. I can only assume he was trying to get the treats in his mouth as fast as possible. I’ve since taken to “tossing” the treats into their gaping mouths.

Lesson learned, even utter failures in the kitchen can turn out to be delicious!