Wild Game Stuffed Mushrooms

Food Plot Venison Stew

Nothing in this stew is especially difficult or hard to find, although you really do want some sort of high-quality finishing oil to drizzle on at the end. I used a roasted pumpkin seed oil that really adds a lot to the dish, which is otherwise pretty low fat. Other good choices for a finishing oil would be walnut oil or a good olive oil.

Be sure to cook the rye separately, as it can take a full hour of boiling to get tender. Rye has its own earthy flavor, but barley, oat groats or wheat berries also work well — and cook faster.

Cowpeas are nothing more than a different name for black-eyed peas. Keep in mind they cook much faster than other dry beans; you don’t want them to disintegrate in your stew.

When it comes to the venison, you have two choices: Brown the meat first or cook the stew below a simmer. I cooked the stew below a simmer for the photos, but I also really like the flavor of the meat when it browns first. The tradeoff is that if you brown the meat, it might take an extra 30 minutes or so to get tender.

Serves 6-8.

Prep Time: 90 minutes, mostly soaking time for the rye and beans

Cook Time: 2 hours

  • 3/4 cup black-eyed peas
  • 3/4 cup rye berries (or barley or oat groats or wheat berries)
  • Salt
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 to 3 pounds venison stew meat
  • 1 large onion, sliced thin from root to tip
  • 6 cups venison broth, beef broth or water
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon celery seed
  • 1 pound turnips or rutabagas, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 4 cups chopped dandelion greens, chicory leaves, kale or chard


  • 4 to 5 red radishes, thinly sliced
  • Black pepper
  • Roasted pumpkin seed oil, walnut oil or somesuch, for drizzling
  • Vetch or pea flowers (optional)


  1. Put the black-eyed peas and rye berries in separate bowls. Bring a quart or so of water to a boil and pour it over the rye and black-eyed peas. Let this sit for at least 1 hour. You can also just soak them in cool water overnight.
  2. Bring a small pot of water to a boil and salt it well. Add the rye berries and simmer them until tender, 45 minutes to 1 hour.
  3. Meanwhile, get a large Dutch oven or other heavy pot and set it over medium-high heat. Heat the butter. While the butter is melting, take a few pieces of the venison and pat it dry with paper towels. Brown the venison in the hot butter, salting it as it cooks. Do this in batches so you don’t crowd the pot, and pat dry each new batch before you put it into the pot. Set aside the browned venison pieces in a bowl.
  4. When the venison is all browned, add the onion and cook over medium-high heat, stirring often, until the edges of the onions begin to brown, about 5 to 6 minutes. Return the venison to the pot and add the broth, thyme and celery seed. Bring this to a simmer and cook gently for 1 hour.
  5. After an hour, add the rutabagas or turnips and the black-eyed peas. Simmer this for another hour or so. (The rye berries should be tender by now, so drain them and set aside.)
  6. About 5 minutes before you want to serve, stir in the chopped dandelion greens and rye berries. To serve, ladle out some stew — it should be a thick stew, with lots of stuff and not too brothy — grind some black pepper over it, sprinkle the thinly sliced radishes and vetch flowers (if using) on top and drizzle with the oil. I’d serve this with a strong beer, such as a good IPA.

 venison stew


Venison Backstrap with Cumberland Sauce

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cumberland sauce recipe with venison

If there is a classic way to eat venison, this is it. Venison backstrap, which is the loin of the animal (like a ribeye or pork chop), seared medium-rare and served with this sauce. Cumberland sauce, which hinges on the tart-and-sweet red currant, is perhaps the oldest wild game sauce still commonly made today. It dates from at least the 18th century, and has been modified only a little since then.

The great food writer Jane Grigson, in her Fruit Book, writes that the first real reference to a Cumberland-like sauce is in Hannah Glasse’s 1747 cookbook, The Art of Cookery Made Plain and Easy. Glasse’s version of the sauce includes red currants, red wine, sugar and red wine vinegar; it’s basically a modern gastrique. The addition of Port wine and meat stock to the sauce arrives by 1817, and the sauce as we know it now — with the addition of mustard and citrus — is fully formed by 1846.

What’s the big deal about Cumberland sauce, and why should it persist so long in our kitchens? Because it is a perfect balance of sweet, spicy, savory and salty. Whenever you achieve this balance in cooking, people will remember you… or at least your food. A good barbecue sauce hits all these notes, as does all proper Vietnamese food.


And while there is no one true recipe for Cumberland, it always has at least the following:

  • Red currants, either in jelly or syrup or as whole fruits. You can substitute other tart red fruit, however, and I’ve used cranberries, highbush cranberries, lingonberries and even raspberries with good results.
  • Red wine or Port. No substitute, so if you cannot use alcohol in your cooking, you are out of luck. You can make a facsimile of Cumberland without wine, but it will not be the same sauce.
  • Citrus. Most recipes have either lemon or orange zest plus some juice, too. If you can ever get your hands on bitter Seville oranges, they are what was historically used.
  • Meat stock. As we just saw, the oldest versions of Cumberland don’t have this, but the addition of meat stock — especially demi-glace or glace de viande – adds a lot to the flavor. If you don’t have demi, use regular stock and boil it down. Only be very careful about any other salt in the sauce, as the boiled-down stock will get very salty.
  • Spices. English dry mustard (Coleman’s) is almost always used, and so is freshly ground black pepper. And I mean freshly ground: It makes a difference in this case, as black pepper is one of the primary flavors in this sauce. A lot of recipes also add a pinch of cayenne pepper. This might sound modern, but keep in mind that cayenne starts appearing in European food as early as the 1600s. The iconic French chef Auguste Escoffier added ground ginger to his version of Cumberland.

You can certainly make Cumberland sauce on the side, or you can do as I do and make it as a pan sauce when you are done cooking. I prefer this method because it takes advantage of the browned bits in the saute pan and uses fewer pots, which means less to clean up afterwards.

And you need not restrict yourself to venison here. Cumberland has been used for hare, lamb, duck and goose since it was invented. It is one of my all-time favorite sauces for a simply seared duck breast, wild or domestic.

What goes well with Cumberland on the plate? I like simple mashed potatoes, but boiled or baked potatoes are just as good. Polenta or fried hominy is excellent, as would any other mashed root vegetable. Or go simple and just serve it with a green salad and some nice, crusty bread.

venison backstrap cumberland sauce recipe

Venison Backstrap with Cumberland Sauce

You would be surprised how easy it is to find red currant jelly in supermarkets. Every decent-sized one will carry it, and I’ve even found currant jelly in towns as small as Fayette, Missouri, and Ashley, North Dakota. If you really can’t find it, though, use lingonberry or cranberry jelly. Raspberry is not as good a substitute. Oh, and if you can find syrup of any of these fruits, get that — it dissolves easier in the sauce.

I make my own demi-glace (really glace de viande), but it takes some time to make. You can buy it at specialty markets (it’s shelf stable), or you can buy demi-glace online. The sauce stores well for a couple days, and is surprisingly good cool or at room temperature; the English serve it cool with cold meats.

Serves 4.

Prep Time: 25 minutes, mostly to let the venison come to room temperature.

Cook Time: 15 minutes


  • 1 to 1/2 pounds venison backstrap, in one piece
  • Salt
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, duck fat or cooking oil


  • 1 shallot, minced (optional)
  • 1/2 cup Port wine
  • 1/4 cup of the appropriate demi-glace (duck, beef, venison or vegetable) or you can use 1 cup of regular stock
  • A pinch of salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
  • Zest of a lemon and an orange
  • 1/4 cup red currant jelly, highbush cranberry jelly or lingonberry jelly (not jam)
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  1. Take the venison out of the fridge and salt it well. Let it rest at room temperature for 15 to 30 minutes.
  2. Melt the butter in a saute pan large enough to hold the venison backstrap over medium-high heat. When it’s hot, turn the heat down to medium and brown the venison on all sides. Use thefinger test for doneness to cook the meat to the level you want. I prefer medium-rare. Remember it will continue to cook as it rests, so take it out a little before it reaches the doneness you want. Move the meat to a cutting board, tent loosely with foil and let it rest while you make the sauce.
  3. When your meat has come out of the pan, make sure there is at least 1 tablespoon of butter or oil in it. If not, add more. Saute the shallot over medium-high heat for 90 seconds, just until it softens. Don’t let it burn.
  4. Add the Port wine and use a wooden spoon to scrape up any browned bits stuck to the pan. Let this boil furiously until it is reduced by half. Add the demi-glace (or stock), the salt, citrus zest, mustard and cayenne and let this boil for a minute or two. Stir in the red currant jelly and the black pepper. Let all this boil down until it is thick, but still pourable. You can strain it if you want a more refined sauce.
  5. Slice the venison into medallions. Pour any juices that have come out of the meat into the sauce and stir to combine. Serve with the sauce either over the meat or alongside.

Momma V’s Cincinnati Style Chili

Cookin’ in Camo: Momma V’s Cincinnati Style Chili-spaghetti

This Cincinnati style chili-spaghetti dish tastes as good as it looks.

This Cincinnati style chili-spaghetti dish tastes as good as it looks.

This week’s recipe is a shout-out to my brother, Luke. It is tradition in our house to enjoy your favorite meal on your birthday, and Luke’s was two weeks ago. Growing up in the Cincinnati area, chili-spaghetti has always been a staple in our house. As a matter of fact, the night before my mother went into labor with Luke, she ate chili-spaghetti! Including some personally-harvested venison in this dish will only make it more mouthwatering.

  • Serves: 8 to 10 in large portions
  • Prep time: 30 minutes
  • Total time: 3 hours


  • 3 pounds boneless venison shoulder ground to a medium grind
  • 2 tablespoons bacon fat
  • 2 15-ounce cans spicy chili beans rinsed and drained
  • 1 15-ounce can black beans rinsed and drained
  • 1 28-ounce can tomato puree
  • 1 28-ounce cans crushed tomatoes
  • 2 cups vegetable juice
  • 1/4- up red wine vinegar
  • 2/3-cup sugar
  • 3 large sweet onions cut into 1/4-inch dices (reserve one for garnish)
  • 4 cloves minced garlic
  • 3 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon ancho chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons toasted and ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons fresh cracked black pepper
  • 2 cups fresh grated cheddar cheese
  • 1/2-cup pickled jalapeno rings
  • 2 pounds dried spaghetti noodles


Although I love wine, it shall stay corked for this dish. Nothing pairs better with chili-spaghetti than a quality craft wheat beer. If you are like me, a frosty mug is always ready in the freezer. Get pouring, and let’s get cooking.

Preheat a large heavy-bottom stockpot over medium-high heat. Once heated, add the bacon fat and 1/4 of the meat. Season liberally with salt and pepper. Allow the venison to become a deep, dark, brown color while achieving a nice crust. Remove the venison to a plate lined with paper towels to drain. Repeat the browning process, working in batches, with the rest of the venison. Remove to the paper towel-lined plate.

Add the onions to the stockpot, season with salt and pepper, and cook until starting to brown, or roughly 3 to 4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until the garlic becomes fragrant (trust me—you’ll smell it). Add both of the chili powders, cumin, and the cinnamon to the pot and give a stir to mix with the onions and garlic. Pour the tomato puree, crushed tomatoes, and vegetable juice into the stockpot. Now add the browned venison. Stir to combine and increase the heat to high. Once the chili comes to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and cook for roughly two hours. Now is the time to taste and adjust the seasonings if needed.

Meanwhile fill a large stockpot 3/4 of the way full with water and place over high heat. Season the water with kosher salt until it “tastes like the sea”. If I were to give a number, I would say 1/3-cup. Bring to boil.

Once boiling, add the pasta and cook one minute shy of the manufacturer’s recommendations. Drain the pasta in a colander. Shock the strained pasta with cold water. This will stop the pasta from overcooking.

Now comes the best part: plating. Twirl a nice helping of the spaghetti onto the center of a dinner plate. Top with a heaping ladle of the chili, handful of the grated cheddar, diced onion, and the pickled jalapenos. Get each diner his or her own roll of paper towels and dig in!

As always, hunt, cook, share, and enjoy!

Grilled Venison

Feral Hog Tacos

Peppered Loin of Texas Antelope with Sundried Cranberry Glaze

Peppered Loin of Texas Antelope with Sundried Cranberry Glaze

2x 16oz South Texas Antelope Boneless Loin
1 Tsp Minced Garlic
1 Tblsp Fresh Rosemary, minced
1 Tblsp Sage, minced
1 Tblsp Olive oil
1 Tblsp Seasoned Salt
1 Cup Venison or Veal Stock
½ Tsp Eatem Esparnole sauce base or Quick Brown Sauce
5 oz Port Wine
1 Tsp Raspberry Vinegar
1 Tblsp Minced Shallots
4 Tblsp Sundried Cranberries
1 Tblsp Black Pepper

Combine garlic, sage, rosemary, olive oil, seasoned salt and rub over tenderloins. Marinate 1 hour.

Roll tenderloin lightly in black pepper, press pepper into meat well and coat evenly.

Heat Teflon pan, sear tenderloins until brown and transfer to oven pan. Roast 8 minutes at 400 degrees for desired temperature of medium rare. Remove from oven and allow to rest for 5 minutes before slicing.

For sauce, place shallots, cranberry and port wine in sauce pan, reduce one third. Add vinegar, sauce base, stock and reduce by half. Check consistency and flavor. May need to thicken with cornstarch.

Serves 4

How to cook Bear meat in camp

Axis Bites

Grilled Venison Bites (Deer Balls) (Cajun). Photo by gammy in tx Photo by gammy in tx

Grilled Venison Bites (Deer Balls) (Cajun).

Total Time: 35 mins
Prep Time: 20 mins
Cook Time: 15 mi


Serves: 6-8Yield:
20.0 balls Units: US | Metric
1 lb venison
1 lb bacon
16 ounces Italian dressing
1 -2 tablespoon Tony Chachere’s Seasoning

1 Cut venison into bite size bits.
2 Cut bacon into 3-4 inch pieces. You may even want to cut the bacon strips in half, length-wise first, depending on the width of the bacon.
3 Wrap each chunk of meat with a piece of bacon, using a tooth pick to hold in place.
4 Place wrapped venison in a plastic bag and cover with dressing. Marinate over night.
5 Place marinated deer balls on plate and sprinkle with seasoning.
6 Grill until bacon is crisp, turning often. I found the easiest way is to use a fish basket, that way you can turn them all over at once. Another way is to use a skewer. No mater what method you use, watch for flare ups, since the oil in the Italian dressing will cause quite a blaze if you don’t keep an eye on it. I walked away one time to get a beer and when I came back my balls were burnt to a crisp.

Venison Bacon Buck Burger

Love this guys energy in the kitchen!

Mac N Cheese by Pioneer Woman Ree Drummond

Cookin’ in Camo: Coniglio alla Cacciatora (Hunter-style Rabbit)

Look good to you? Read on to learn how to prepare this "hunter-style" rabbit dish!

Look good to you? Read on to learn how to prepare this “hunter-style” rabbit dish!

Rabbit hunting is pretty emotional for me. Like many, I cut my “outdoors teeth” on small game hunting. Some of my earliest memories are of trudging through chin-high brush carrying a pocket knife decorated with an American flag, while my dad walked ahead of me toting a gun. Now a grown man, I still love hitting the fence rows and brush piles in search of those “wacky wabbits.” The difference between then and now is that I get to carry the gun!

  • Serves 4 to 6
  • Prep time: 2 hours and 30 minutes
  • Cook time: roughly 2 hours

Join me as we once again go “forest to fork” with this hearty and comforting coniglio alla cacciatora (Italian for “hunter-style rabbit”). After a cold, snowy December morning in the field, nothing screams warm and cozy more than this dish. Braising is one of my favorite winter techniques—it allows the flavors to meld and deepen while the rabbit becomes rich and tender. Pour a drink, turn on the music, and get cookin’ in camo! I promise this recipe will not disappoint.


  • 2 large wild rabbits, roughly 3 lbs each (if using farm-raised, they will be larger)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 branch fresh rosemary, leaves removed and minced
  • 1 sage leaf, minced
  • Salt and pepper
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 large yellow onions, coarsely chopped
  • 1 pound portobello mushrooms, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 4 ounces pancetta, finely diced
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 1 pound tomato puree
  • 1 cup chicken stock, recipe follows
  • Pinch sugar
  • Pinch red chili flakes
  • Chicken or rabbit stock (homemade preferred, quality store-bought is okay)
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • Fresh Italian bread (my local bakery makes some delicious stuff!)

Start by cutting the rabbit meat into small pieces.


Cut rabbit into 8 pieces. If buck shot is found, please remove unless you enjoy the “crunch” and are looking to visit your dentist.

Combine the garlic, rosemary, salt, and pepper along with enough olive oil to make a somewhat dry paste. Divide the paste evenly among the 8 pieces and let sit, covered and refrigerated, for 2 hours.

In a Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed stock pot, heat 3 tablespoons olive oil over high heat until nearly smoking. Brush the excess rub from the rabbit pieces and sear each piece on all sides until deep golden-brown. Remove the seared meat to a plate lined with paper towels. Add the onions, mushrooms, and pancetta and cook over high heat until onions are golden-brown and fat has been rendered from pancetta. Drain the excess oil, then add the wine and stir the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon to dislodge the browned bits. Brown bits equal loads of flavor! Add the tomato puree, chicken stock, sugar, and chili flakes. Bring to a boil. Return the rabbit to the pan. Cook for 20 minutes, then reduce the heat to medium and cook for an hour. Be sure to stir occasionally so the sauce does not burn on the bottom. Uncover and increase heat to medium-high and cook 15 to 20 minutes more or until sauce has reduced and the rabbit is fall-off-the-bone tender. Remove from heat and divide meat evenly among 4 to 6 warmed dinner plates. Top with plenty of sauce and some freshly-chopped parsley, and serve with the buttered and toasted garlic bread.



Barbecue Sauce

Scott Leysath |

Slathering a hunk of deer meat with barbecue sauce just seems like a natural thing to do, especially when the weather is suitable for outside grilling. My favorite parts are the burnt edges and ends that happen with sugary ingredients connect with open flame. With the Labor Day weekend upon us, it seems timely to share one of my favorite barbecue sauce recipes. Consider it an outline and adjust flavors to suit your own taste buds.

Prior to adding game to flame, rub it with olive oil and your favorite seasoning. If you’re not too adventurous, that might be just salt and pepper. Since barbecue sauces are traditionally a little sweet and a little vinegary, some folks add a little heat to the mix to create sweet-sour-spicy combo that tastes great and won’t overpower the natural deliciousness of the venison.

Orange Barbecue Sauce

Makes about 2 cups sauce

1/4 cup butter

1 cup onions, diced

4 garlic cloves, minced

1 jalapeno pepper, sliced into thin rings

2/3 cup packed brown sugar

zest from 1 lemon

zest from 1 orange

1/2 cup ketchup

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

1 cup orange segments with juice

2 tablespoons orange juice concentrate

1 tablespoon fresh rosemary leaves, minced (optional)

salt and pepper to taste

Sauce can be stored in the refrigerator for several weeks.



Venison Tacos

Scott Leysath |


This recipe can be used with your choice of soft or crispy flour or corn tortillas. Piled high on a bed of lettuce, tomato, grilled corn kernels, tortilla chips and avocado this seasoned meat also makes for a delicious main course “taco” salad.

4 servings (8 to 12 tacos)

Try it with your own favorite condiments like avocado, diced onion, salsa, black olives, grilled peppers and sour cream. Of course, a cold cerveza would also be a great accompaniment.

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 cup yellow onion, finely diced

1 cup bell pepper, finely diced

1 jalapeno pepper, stem and seeds removed, minced

2 garlic cloves, minced

4 cups “pulled” venison, from slow-cooked roast, chopped

1/8 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano leaves

1/2 teaspoon chili powder

1 14 1/2 can diced tomato, drained

corn or flour tortillas

shredded lettuce

shredded cheese

sliced tomato


Prep Time 15 min         Total Time 40 min         Servings 6

1          lb ground venison

1          large onion, chopped (1 cup)

1          bell pepper, chopped (optional)

1/2       teaspoon each of salt and pepper

1          cup shredded Cheddar cheese (4 oz)

1/2       cup Original Bisquick™ mix

1          cup milk

2          eggs

  • Heat oven to 400°F. Spray 9-inch glass pie plate with cooking spray.
  • In 10-inch skillet, cook venison, onion, and bell pepper over medium heat 8 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until venison is brown; drain. Stir in salt/pepper. Spread in pie plate. Sprinkle with cheese.
  • In small bowl, stir remaining ingredients with fork or wire whisk until blended. Pour into pie plate.
  • Bake about 25 minutes or until knife inserted in center comes out clean.

Impossibly Easy Cheeseburger Pie



Tyler Viars with a buck he harvested in fall 2013. Read on to learn his recipe for a delicious bacon-wrapped backstrap topped with chimichurri!

Editor’s note: This recipe is the first in a series of several provided by Tyler Viars, a dedicated “forest to fork” hunter and professional chef. Read on to learn the culinary secrets of one of America’s top home cooks—and get excited for deer season.

The buck in the picture above was bitten by my Hoyt Spyder on November 12, 2013. Now I get to reap the benefits of this beautiful animal through a process I like to call “forest to fork,” with the end result being a delicious bacon-wrapped backstrap with charred serrano-scallion chimichurri. How’s that for “organic?”

  • Serves 6 to 8
  • Prep time: 90 minutes
  • Cook time: 20 to 25 minutes

In the process of cooking this backstrap dish, you'll briefly be in possession of something resembling a bacon-wrapped burrito.



  • 2 pounds whole venison backstrap
  • 1 pound homemade or locally-made bacon, sliced thin
  • 2 tablespoons bacon fat (bacon fat when cooking bacon! Duh! Who would have thought?)

Venison marinade

  • 1/2-cup olive oil
  • 1/3-cup soy sauce
  • 4 scallions, washed and cut in half
  • 2 large cloves garlic
  • 1/4-cup fresh lime juice
  • 1/2-teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 3/4-teaspoon whole toasted cumin seed ground
  • 3 tablespoons dark brown sugar


  • 1/2-cup extra virgin olive oil
  • kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper
  • 2 bunches of (roughly 8 to 10) fresh scallions
  • 1 serrano seeded (use half if you like less heat)
  • 1/4- to 1/2-cup sherry or red wine vinegar
  • 3/4-teaspoon whole toasted ground cumin (toast whole seeds and grind them)
  • 2 tablespoons finely minced fresh chives
  • 2 tablespoons finely minced fresh parsley
  • 2 tablespoons finely minced shallots
  • 1 teaspoon finely minced garlic


Put on your camo apron.

Set one side of a grill to hot and the other to medium-low. Alternatively, heat stovetop to medium heat and preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place a cast-iron skillet or griddle over the heat.

If you do everything right, this is what your final product should look like!

Add the oil, soy sauce, scallions, garlic, lime juice, red pepper, cumin, and brown sugar to a blender or food processor and puree. Put pieces of skirt steak in a large, heavy-duty zip-top bag and pour in marinade. Seal bag, removing as much air as possible. Allow the backstrap to marinate for a minimum of 1 hour in refrigerator.

Meanwhile, drizzle the scallions and serrano with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and season with kosher salt and pepper. Over medium-high heat, grill until charred and wilted, flipping as needed. Chop the scallions really well and add to a bowl with the remaining olive oil. Finely mince the serrano. Fold in the sherry vinegar, chives, parsley, shallots, and garlic. Set aside. (A food processor may be used to do this as well. However, I like a more rustic and broken chimichurri. It’s just personal preference.)

Remove meat and marinade from the refrigerator. On a sheet tray or cutting board, vertically lay down the bacon, with each piece slightly overlapping. Remove the venison from the marinade and place the meat on the bacon, leaving approximately 2 inches of bacon overhanging. Wrap the overhanging bacon around the venison and continue rolling the meat away from you as if you were creating a bacon-backstrap burrito. Yum. If necessary, use toothpicks to keep held together. Put 2 tablespoons bacon fat in heated cast iron. Place the wrapped venison, seam side down, on the medium-heated skillet. Do not touch the venison.

Let the bacon render and build a crust, leaving it on each side for roughly 3 to 4 minutes. Brown the bacon on all sides until deep-golden. Place the venison on the cooler side of the grill (lid closed) or in the oven and bake 6 to 8 minutes, or until an instant-read thermometer reads 120 to 125 for medium rare. Pull the meat and allow to rest under tented foil for no less than 10 minutes. Slice the meat into 3/4-inch pieces and top with chimichurri. Now enjoy! Hunt, share, and, as always, keep Cookin’ in Camo.


  • Don’t be a hero! Get yourself a meat thermometer.
  • Toast and grind your whole spices. The resulting flavor is much deeper. Some store-bought ground spices might have been bottled during the Reagan administration.
  • If using dry herbs, use half the amount.
  • Letting the meat rest allows the juices to redistribute back into the meat. Slice too soon and the juice runs onto the cutting board. Dry meat is not good.

Images courtesy Tyler Viars

Bacon Steak Rolls

This could easily be done with venison!

A Starter Kit to Making Your Own Venison Jerky

June 30, 2014

A Starter Kit to Making Your Own Venison Jerky


There are a ton of great commercial jerky mixes available, and I always try to keep several different types on hand, including my all-time favorite Cracked Pepper & Garlic from Hi-Mountain Seasonings. That said, I believe every hunter worth his weight in dried venison should have a secret jerky recipe he developed on his own—if only so when your editor (a.k.a. The Boss) calls on Saturday asking for your best jerky recipe you don’t have to send him to Alton Brown’s Website (which has a killer jerky recipe, by the way) and risk looking like an idiot. (Or does this only happen to me?)

When working up your own blend, there are a seemingly infinite number of different directions one could go — from Asian flavors to South African biltong (another favorite) to something so spicy it requires a six pack of cold lager to cool you down. When I went about developing my own cure, I tried to stick with the Three-S Rule: Sweet, Salty, Spicy. While I’m not sure if my current jerky juice is perfect, it’s pretty darn good. And it’s going to remain a secret, as I need to have something in my pocket the next time The Boss calls on a Saturday.

That said, I will share my base recipe, which I think is where a good jerky cure should start. It’s enough for about 5 pounds of deer, elk, or other venison. Starting with these four ingredients, it’s easy to riff on whatever flavor profile you’re looking for, or you could just stick with this and end up with a pretty decent end product that’s slightly sweet and a little salty. For the hot sauce, I use a habanero blend, but Sriracha or another chile-garlic paste works well. Just make sure to whisk everything together well to incorporate the thick molasses. Then soak the meat overnight and dry in a dehydrator or oven. Lately I’ve been experimenting with smoking jerky in the Camp Chef Smoke Vault, but that’s a post for another day.

Base Jerky Cure

– 1 cup molasses
– 1 cup soy sauce
– 2 Tbsp. hot sauce
– 1 Tbsp. onion salt

Whisk together to fully incorporate molasses. Pour over five pounds of meat sliced ¼-inch thick. Marinate overnight. Dry in a warm oven or dehydrator set at 150 degrees until the jerky bends without breaking, typically 5 to 6 hours.

Pulled Pork – Wild Boar Crock Pot Recipe

Grilling Salmon – Fantastic Recipe 2014