Every Year when St. Patrick’s Day rolls around everyone thinks of corned beef, but here on the homestead we do it a little different. We make corned venison and it has now become sort of a tradition, which we love. We have no illusion that this is some sort of long lost traditional Irish meal. Much like Rome was not built in a day, neither is corned venison. Planning for this dish starts when we are butchering the deer in the fall. We always set aside the roast that looks most like brisket for our corned beef and be sure to label it as such. About a week before we defrost the roast, and then the magic happens.
1 venison brisket, about 3-4 lbs (feel free to substitute beef, also delicious!)
2 garlic cloves, cut in half
1 quart of water
1/2 cup kosher salt
1/4 cup white vinegar
2 tbsp sugar
2 bay leaves
1/2 tsp whole peppercorns
1/4 tsp mustard seeds
In a sauce pot, combine all the brine ingredients and bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar and salt. Once dissolved, set aside to cool. I am kind of impatient, so I use a little trick I learned from my grandma, pour the hot brine into a heat proof glass measuring cup, then put the measuring cup in a metal bowl of ice water. Stir occasionally and your mix will be cool in no time.
Place your brisket and garlic in a large gallon size freezer bag and pour the brine over it. Seal the bag, place the bag in a baking dish and refrigerate for 6-7 days, turning once each day.
After those very long days, remove your brisket (don’t be alarmed by its color, the “cooking” process has already started from the vinegar and salt) and thoroughly wash off the brine under cold water.
Place the brisket in a large pot, add one beer and enough cold water to fully immerse the brisket and cover. Bring the liquid/brisket to a boil, turn down to a simmer and allow to cook, covered for about 2 hours, or until the brisket is cooked through. In the last 20 minutes or so, add cut up potatoes, cabbage and carrots.
Just for comparison, the sliced meat on the top of the plate (darker in color) on the left is the corned venison, the other is a flat cut store-bought corned beef. The venison is much leaner and you won’t believe how great it tastes, you may never go back to that store bought one! Whenever we treat venison like other meats we are pleasantly surprised with the results. Having so many delicious recipes for venison allows us to make full use of our yearly harvests, and having another versatile source of protein makes us more self sufficient, even on St. Patrick’s Day.