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Recipes for Hunting Season

I'm soon going to lose my boyfriend for several weeks to a pick-up truck and a rifle, but I'll be rewarded (hopefully!) with a freezer full of venison.

What are your favorite recipes for the spoils of hunting season? Venison, goose, pheasant, squirrel, elk.... Whatever it is you hunt in your neck of the woods.

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  1. This pheasant recipe is one of the best things I've ever made. I did it with butcher shop pheasants and it wasn't nearly as delicious as with wild: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

    1. Squirrel make a great Brunswick Stew.
      Venison Grand Veneur
      Roasted Goose with Potato Dumplings, Braised Red Cabbage etc...

      5 Replies
      1. re: chefj

        That stew looks good! (Except for maybe the lima beans, but I guess I should try to broaden my horizons....) I might have to send him out after some squirrel, too. :D

        1. re: chefj

          Goose, potato dumplings and red cabbage is the only meal my mother cooked and that was only for special occasions.

          We are friends with great hunters/cooks. Last Christmas, one did chunks of wild goose meat that had been marinaded (something simple like oil and red wine) and then grilled on skewers. They were one-two bite portions. It was fantastic.

          Vension backstraps grilled and more often than not, wrapped in bacon.

          I haven't had pheasant in years but always enjoyed it. In my area, they were hunted heavily over the past 30 years and only recently am I seeing them again, which is the result of stocking efforts.

          1. re: chefj

            I think he's overcooking the venison with those instructions. It really should be served rare. Unless the deer is old and/or suspecting to be gamey, there's no need to marinate a saddle.

              1. re: carbonaraboy

                It is a good marinade he's got there -- almost exactly what I use for sauerbraten. I would also avoid putting the marinade in the roasting pan -- the meat will tend to steam. Better to dry roast at a high temp. Sauce Grand Veneur is a classic with venison, and that's a good quick version but it would be better to use demi-glace (reduced brown stock).

            1. I don't hunt, but I do buy game at the farmers market.

              Venison - usually treated as steaks

              Pheasant - pot roast

              Duck - simple roast

              Rabbit - casserole or turned into burgers (needs some fatty pork).

              The guy on the market usually has packs of mixed game - I use those for stews or pies.

              1. Upland game bird season is in full swing in my neck of the woods (Michigan) and that means woodcock! I don't go for the traditional cook with entrails in, or eat the entrails on toast preparations. But I do like the cleaned birds barded with bacon and roasted. They're so small I just salt and pepper the cavity and stick a pearl onion in. They are very delicious and taste somewhat like a cross between turkey and venison.

                For venison, I'd be interested in doing a preparation like a sauerbraten, i.e. brined in vinegar and juniper berries.

                1. I'm interested in this too as, starting tomorrow, I will also become a hunting "widow". BF is going for both deer and elk. The other plus is if he gets one of either, he has to buy me a nice big upright freezer, and I'm anxious to get more use out of my new meat grinder :)

                  I do have these two recipes I've been saving for awhile, both happen to be from Chow:

                  Italian Venison-Sausage Sandwich with Peppers and Onions

                  Elk Meatballs with Bourbon BBQ sauce

                  I also made tacos with a 50/50 ground elk/ground beef for Super Bowl back in February, and they turned out pretty tasty. I just made them the way I normally make ground beef ones.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: juliejulez

                    Growing up, the men in the family processed their own deer and all the meat was frozen. Where I live now, everyone takes theirs to a butcher and people get it made into a lot of ring bolonga.

                    Making jerky is a winter tradition. Our close friend and brothers do it at their cabin, drying it over the wood stove.

                    Sausage would be interesting. I can't remember ever eating vension sausage. I know no one in my family would have got to the trouble to make it.

                  2. Was probably 20-21 yo before I ever tasted venison. Went to college in Pocono Mountains of PA and best friends dad was a hunter. Was at her house... an OLD house they were slowly rehabbing. Friend's mom said stay for dinner... worked for me. When she asked how I like my venison?? Didn't know. When asked how I liked my steaks... medium to medium-rare. Didn't know at the time, but musta been treated to the tenderloin. Looked like a filet mignon, nothing "gamey" about it, and VERY tender.

                    Had a friend who either made his own venison ring bologna... or had a friend who made it for him. A little like Lebanon bologna to me, with little/no fillers... just meat, spices and smoke!?!

                    First time a ever had pheasant... again back in college dates (circa 1492). Room-mate's dad belonged to a "club" in the burbs of Philly. He was heading out to "hunt"... shotgun, Britney Spaniel, and looking just like Elmer Fudd! When he came home... handed his wife a plastic bag with what looked like 2 chickens iinside?!? They were roasted (like a chicken) and nice tasting.

                    Have never had goose, but have a story about my Uncle. He's gone now but was BEYOND frugal. He told us about coming home one day and finding a goose kinda flopping in his driveway with an arrow thru it. He was a hunter and knew the thing was a goner, so mercifully dispatched the bird... then cleaned and cooked it.

                    1. This recipe uses the stewing meat of the venison and is so delicious. Venison braised in Guinness with horseradish dumplings: http://www.shonaskitchen.co.za/recipe... . I don't focus on their dumpling recipe (it's the biscuit type that cooks on top), but use my own and add the horseradish and other flavors (I like horseradish, mustard, fresh thyme and chives). I also add carrots to the braise.

                      1. I'm primarily a partridge and woodcock hunter but I have stacked my freezer with venison before and hopefully will again. There is just no substitute for well cooked wild game in my book.....well except pork....pork is just love on four feet.

                        The brunswick stew recipe would be a solid choice.......I am also looking forward to some hassenpfeffer come snowshoe hare season......hare is very different from a cooking standpoint compared to rabbit.

                        I look forward to other entries in this thread.....as it is near and dear to my heart and passions.

                        1. To me there's only one wild game cookery website: http://honest-food.net/

                          Great reading even if you don't hunt. The author is a chef and he makes a ton of old-world european recipes with the game he kills. I really want to try his corned venison recipe if I can finagle a deer haunch this year.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: RealMenJulienne

                            I have been a fan of Hank Shaw's site for a while, very good site and a decent book as well.

                            Good call.

                            1. re: RealMenJulienne

                              Yep, Hank has a good site...

                              I like his Spanish Braised Squirrel/Rabbit recipe.

                              Also his Cochinita Pibil recipe for wild pig is great.

                            2. In my PA experiences I have enjoyed venison backstraps sliced thin and flash-fried in a CI skillet, especially during poker games at the camp with ample bourbon. We call them "speedies".

                              During my Texas years, we had a large chili-making event every year after the season at Scrappin' Valley, with lots of shiny aircraft, and we packaged about 3000 lbs. in 2 lb. boxes and allocated it in proportion to those who contributed, deducting for Lady Bird Johnson's annual boxes, and a few for her Secret Service detail, who had a fairly boring job.

                              1. It's that time again, so I thought I'd just bump this up.

                                I've decided that I'm going to take a little more control of the process this year. Normally he just kind of hacks the things up and we end up with a suspicious amount of jerky meat.... I'm going to build a sturdy table for the back porch, a proper butchering set, etc. Even trying to get ahold of an old fridge for some aging! (It doesn't stay reliably cold enough here to just hang'em for a week.)

                                I'm excited to get some normal-looking steaks, and RIB ROASTS! So stoked. :) Normally I dread the beginning of November, but I think he's converting me.

                                1. Here's a James Beard recipe for pheasant that is fantastic.


                                  1. venison loin steaks, seared in a hot pan in butter with a red wine reduction/sauce like you would see for beef steak. Also done these with just bacon wrapped around the edge and seared with butter. Have also done venison like a beef burgundy.

                                    Pheasant baked in teriyaki sauce is a good recipe. Done like yakitori on a charcoal grill would likely be even better.

                                    The Epicurious recipe for a crisp roast duck is pretty amazing and worth following all the steps in the task.

                                    1. Grass widow, eh! The quality of your wild game meat depends on anumber of factors which include how the animal died: head shot (instant death) vrs lung shot (animal fills with adrenaline and fear hormones) then was the animal vacated chest and gut cavity properly washed after gutting and was it skinned in the field (extreme care is required) or hanging in the field or in your garage. Then cooling the meat with control (butcher shop or vented garage). Now having properly treated meat you can cook it any way you would cook beef but note: the meat is darker (redder) than beef and if you over cook the meat (med rare is best) it will be tougher than if cooked to med-rare. My favorite way is to Bar b Que with a sprinkling of Montreal
                                      Steak Spice.


                                      You could also use the wild game in a Thai cuisine dish like Thai grilled Venison Salad. Have you tried these free gourmet vegan or meat Thai recipes and tutorial videos at http://ChefLeeZ.com?

                                      1. We harvest a cpl to a few more deer each year. We do our own butchering . We make either stew meat or steaks. We find that roasts are too lean.
                                        We either cook it long and slow. or fast and hot.

                                        1. I'm in Montana. We've been hunting grouse since Sept. and have a bunch in the freezer for the year. (Love these little guys.) My BF loves coconut grouse (he's allergic to shellfish and loves coconut shrimp so this is the sub). I also grill them, roast them- you name it. Any chicken recipe tastes better using grouse IMO. We make a lot of venison into sausages- really good with added pork fat. I make sausage and pepper hot sandwiches, pizzas, pasta sauce, beans & rice w/ sausage. I turn ground venison into anything made with ground beef. I use our grill- game and grill just go together. We have a smoker that gets heavy use also. I smoke mushrooms, tomatoes, peppers- basically anything. I'm not a 'hunting widow' because I go hunting too. I turn whatever game is left from last year into meals for hunting trips. I make lots of stews- kept hot in thermos- and bread- buttered and kept warm under our jackets. Best meal when you're drenched and huddled under a tree to eat.

                                          We have friends who also hunt and fish. We all do a swap of different meats and fish so all our freezers have lots of variety. Obviously we all have multiple chest freezers. This is my favorite time of year. I start planning my thanksgiving and xmas menus as we fill the freezers.

                                          1. I made this recipe tonight:


                                            Only difference is I used beef broth instead of red wine, as I didn't have any on hand. Served it with whole wheat rotini, though egg noodles would have been the norm for me.

                                            My boyfriend gave it a thumbs up.

                                            1. Do any of you ever mess with deer ribs? I think my fiance is the only one in his hunting club who doesn't just throw them away. He normally boils and then grills, but lately he's been cooking them too fast and they come out tough as hell.

                                              I got him a smoker for Christmas, so we'll be trying that out next year. (It's got a bad weld on one of the legs, so we have to wait for a replacement before it goes up.... Too late for this year's ribs.)

                                              2 Replies
                                              1. re: Kontxesi

                                                I have a hunter spouse too. We've never had ribs, but that is an interesting idea. I bet those would be great in the smoker! We usually get loin, steaks, stew meat, sausages and ground venison. My new favorite is ground venison cheesesteak subs for a quick supper, so much less greasy then ground beef.

                                                1. re: Kat

                                                  I just put 21.5 lbs of ground meat in the freezer. A few 1-lb bags for burgers and such, and the rest to use for our upcoming sausage adventures! He normally uses it for jerky, but we are trying something new.

                                                  Before this year, we would get butterflied tenderloin steaks, roasts, stir-fry strips, and jerky meat.

                                                  This year I tried some steaks from the rump, but I'm not sure I cut them right. I also got him to change the way he butchers them slightly so I can keep the shanks. I'll try to get him to save the flank
                                                  next time and see if it's any good.