Frequently Asked Questions
These are some of the most frequently asked questions from our gourmet customers. Our Helpful Information and Recipes sections may also be beneficial to you. If you have any other questions please contact us and we will be happy to help.
We are a working ranch, based in the Texas Hill Country, where we harvest and process wild game meat, such as venison, antelope, and wild boar, under full inspection by the Texas Department of Health. We are not a “store front” purveyor who only warehouses meat from other sources or suppliers. (top)
No. We harvest deer from the Broken Arrow Ranch several times a year, but most of the animals are harvested on other area ranches. Ranchers use our harvests to maintain a naturally sustainable population on their property. If the population was not managed then overgrazing, starvation, and disease would occur. An additional incentive for the ranchers is that we pay them for the animals we harvest. A true win-win all around.(top)
We work with many ranches throughout Texas to bring you the finest free-range venison and antelope meat available. None of the deer and antelope we harvest are penned or farmed. Rather, they are truly wild game roaming the open ranges available down here in Texas. (top)
Our process is unique in the world - the only fully inspected year-round harvesting of truly free-range wild game. Avoiding stress during slaughter is a major factor in controlling meat quality. Our field harvesting technique is to quietly search the ranch for animals ready for harvesting and killing the animals by a single long-range head shot from a suppressed rifle. The free-range deer and antelope we harvest are never under any stress and the resulting meat quality is the highest possible. The meat is then processed on the ranch in our proprietary mobile processing facility under full inspection. (top)
We take the utmost care to ensure that all our animals are harvested in a humane and respectful manner with no stress to the animal. For one thing, it’s the right thing to do. Additionally, harvesting stress-free animals results in meat of superior quality.
We strongly support sustainable agriculture efforts, and many of the ranches we work with utilize us as an integral part of their game management plan. The animals we harvest are not native to the United States and, thus, have no natural predators. Were it not for our services many deer and antelope would begin to starve due to overpopulation. (top)
Harvesting truly wild deer and antelope is always a challenge. If they were trapped and transported live to a traditional slaughter plant the animals would be put under a tremendous amount of stress and the meat quality would suffer. So instead of taking the animals to the plant we take the plant to the animals. We pioneered the mobile processing concept in 1983 as a way to harvest animals in a stress-free manner while still satisfying all of the necessary food safety and government inspection regulations(top)
Harvesting and processing our own meat allows us to maintain the high quality of the products we sell. The products we provide are available only by ordering directly from us. Obviously, there are other sources of venison and wild game meats, but there are distinct and important differences.
About 85% of the venison sold in America is raised on deer farms in New Zealand. All of the deer and antelope we harvest live as free-range animals wild on large open ranches. They subsist on a widely varying diet that gives the meat a rich and complex flavor. Another important difference is the unique way in which our deer and antelope are harvested. (top)
Many people falsely believe that it is illegal to sell meat from wild (not farmed) animals. The correct assertion is that it is illegal to sell meat from any animal that has not passed inspection by a government meat inspector. However, the only way to harvest a wild animal in the field so that it can pass inspection is to take a government inspector out of the plant and into the field with you. Well, that's exactly what we do. More information can be found in our articles about our field harvest technique and unique wild game meat inspection requirements. (top)
“Organic” is a term that is often confused and misused. A general designation for “organic” products is those that are grown naturally, as opposed to products grown synthetically or with enhancements. The South Texas Antelope and Axis Deer harvested by Broken Arrow Ranch range freely on open land that is not treated with herbicides or pesticides. They choose the food they eat from many species of grasses, bushes, herbs, trees, berries and nuts. The animals grow at a natural rate, without artificial stimulation. We do not specifically label our wild game meat as “organic” but it is indeed an all-natural product. (top)
We cannot produce the very highest quality at the lowest cost. The steps we take to provide you with the highest quality wild game meat do add cost to our products. We think the extra effort is worth it, though, and many fine dining chefs agree. (top)
For our gourmet customers we offer high quality products from the following animals:
Axis Deer – Axis venison is considered by many to be the finest venison in the world. A native of India, the Axis deer was introduced to ranches in the Texas Hill Country over 50 years ago. The meat is finely textured and tender. More information about Axis Deer can be found here.
South Texas Antelope – Our best selling game meat. These animals are native to the Himalayan foothills of India and Nepal and are traditionally called “nilgai” antelope, translated as “blue bull.” The meat has a mild flavor with a good texture – much like veal. It is extremely low in fat, averaging less than 1% for most cuts. More information about the South Texas Antelope can be found here.
Wild Boar – Wild boar have been used as a source of food on every continent except Antarctica. We employ the services of several trappers who catch the boar in trap boxes and bring them live for slaughter under USDA inspection. These wild boar produce the hormone androstenone that gives the meat a unique flavor, distinct from ordinary pork. More information about wild boar can be found here. (top)
Typically, all of our meat is delivered frozen. Everything we do is intended to provide you with meat of the highest quality possible, including why and how we freeze it. We can provide some of our meat fresh, but that is a custom order not available through the website and requires a bit of lead time. (top)
After field harvesting the animals we age the meat on the bone for 21-28 days. This aging process creates a more tender and flavorful meat by allowing natural enzymes in the muscles to break down connective tissue and allowing muscle fibers to "relax." (Just like aged beef sold at high-end steakhouses.) Once the meat is fully aged we cut it, package it, and flash-freeze it. So, by delivering frozen meat we are able to ensure that you are getting meat that is at the absolute peak of its quality. An important distinction here is that our meat is FULLY AGED BEFORE FREEZING. The meat will not get any better than it is at the moment it is frozen and freezing it naturally preserves that perfection for you to enjoy. This technique is time consuming and expensive, but it produces a superior product - and to our knowledge we are the only producer in the world who does it this way. Fresh does not necessarily equal better in this case. (top)
Like many things, there is a right way to freeze meat and a wrong way. You can be certain that we didn't put so much effort to produce high quality meat just to "ruin" it during the freezing process. The difference between meat that is frozen slowly (wrong way) and meat that is frozen quickly (right way, our way) happens at the molecular level. When meat is frozen slowly the water molecules inside expand and destroy cellular walls. This results in poor texture and significant purge (loss of moisture) when thawed. However, when meat is quickly frozen the water molecules do not have time to expand and there is little to no cellular destruction. This meat maintains a quality and texture that is almost indistinguishable from fresh meat. (top)
Broken Arrow Ranch products are served in hundreds of fine dining establishments nationwide. If you live near a major metropolitan market, then chances are that someone near you is using Broken Arrow Ranch products. Some offer it periodically as a "Chef's Special" for a limited time, but others keep Broken Arrow Ranch products on their menu full time. If you see venison, antelope or wild boar offered and want to be sure you're getting the best, ask your waiter if they are serving Broken Arrow Ranch products. Click here for a list of recent restaurant customers.(top)
We have many free-range, high quality wild game meat products available online here on our website. If you have any questions or experience any problems please call us at (830) 367-5875 or use the "contact us" form. (top)
Yes, any order must include at least $50 of product. This is to ensure that the products ordered can be shipped safely to our customers. All website orders are shipped overnight in insulated coolers, and the product mix/quantity achieved with a $50 order is appropriate for safe transport in our smallest cooler. This minimum order level is a safeguard that prevents us from shipping products in a mostly "empty" cooler where quick thawing may occur. (top)
All consumer orders are shipped in a reusable insulated container, chilled by gel packs and delivered to your door. We use UPS overnight service for shipping. Standard overnight service will have your product delivered by 4:30 PM the next business day after shipping. Our Shipping Information section provides additional details. (top)
People often ask how much wild game meat they should order, especially for parties. The answer depends on many things. The number of people, the number of courses, big eaters vs. light eaters, the cut of meat all must be taken into consideration. To help you estimate how much you will need follow this link to some estimated serving information. (top)
Unfortunately, due to our shipping methods we are unable to ship orders to addresses outside of the 50 U.S. states. (top)
Yes. When you checkout online there is a "Comments" field available where you enter your credit card information. Simply put a message in the "Comments" field indicating the date you would like the product shipped. Please note that we only ship orders on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays. Our Shipping Information section provides additional details. Also, your credit card will not be charged until the day your package is shipped. This is because most charges are based on actual weight and those will not be known until the the product is packed. (top)
I want to ship a gift, but I do not want any cost or payment information included in the box. Can I do this?
Yes. When we receive an order where the "Ship To" name is different from the "Bill To" name we assume it is a gift. A packing slip, with product descriptions but no prices, will be included in the package. A copy of the invoice, with prices, will be mailed to the "Bill To" address. (top)
Venison is a general term used to describe the meat of a deer or antelope. Here on the ranch we make a distinction between the two so our customers know exactly what they are getting. Many products are labeled with the specific animal species, such as Axis deer or South Texas Antelope (also called nilgai antelope). There are subtle and interesting differences in flavor between the two, but both make outstanding dishes. Our products labeled as “venison” may contain a mixture of deer and antelope meat. (top)
Venison and antelope in packages with tight seals can be stored in your freezer for up to 1 year. Wild boar and quail can be stored in your freezer for up to 6 months. Once thawed the meat should be cooked or refrozen within 5 days.
Meat stored in your freezer for longer than the recommended time is still safe to eat but the quality (texture, flavor, etc.) may have diminished. (top)
Refrigerator Method (Best) - Thawing meat in the refrigerator is the slowest but safest method and will result in the least amount of moisture loss in comparison to the other methods. The temperature of the refrigerator should be maintained at 35°F to 40°F to discourage growth of harmful organisms as the meat thaws. Leave the meat wrapped and placed on a platter or a tray to catch any drippings. Allow 4-5 hours per pound of meat to fully thaw. After thawing in the refrigerator the meat can be refrigerated safely for 3 to 5 days. If you decide not to cook the meat within this time, the meat can be refrozen. Remember however, that each time the meat is frozen it loses a little of its flavor and texture quality. Do not refreeze meat that has been thawed using the cold water or microwave methods.
Cold Water Method (Quickest) - Thawing meat in cold water is a faster method than thawing in the refrigerator and it is safe as long as the proper precautions are taken. However, there may be a slight loss of moisture during the faster thawing process that can result in meat that is more dry to the taste. Fill the sink with enough cold tap water to cover the cut of meat, keep the meat in its vacuum packaging and put it into the cold water. Be sure that the meat is sealed tightly so that it is not exposed to the water. Meat exposed to the water will result in flavor and color loss, and will have a greater chance of bacterial growth. The water must be replaced with fresh cold water every 30 minutes. Do not use warm or hot water because it will encourage the growth of bacteria and even more moisture loss. Allow 30 minutes to 1 hour for smaller cuts and up to 3 hours for larger cuts/roasts. (top)
Depending on the cut of meat you are preparing, wild game meat should be cooked in one of two ways: a little or a lot. Tender cuts (such as loins and filets) should not be cooked past medium rare. If done so the meat will become tough and dry. Working cuts (such as those from the shoulder or leg) should be cooked at low temperature for several hours. This process breaks up the natural connective tissue of the muscle creating extremely tender and flavorful dishes. As a rule of thumb, you can substitute Broken Arrow Ranch venison in almost any of your favorite beef, lamb, or pork recipes. For more detailed directions check out our recipes and tips we have compiled from years of cooking here on the ranch and from our customers. Our article on How to Cook Venison is also helpful. (top)