cooking, cooking venison, cooking wild game, homemade, homesteading, recipes

How to Make Corned Venison Move Over Corned Beef


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.

Corned Venison 

1 venison brisket, about 3-4 lbs (feel free to substitute beef, also delicious!)

2 garlic cloves, cut in half

The Brine

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.


cooking, cooking venison, cooking wild game, homemade, homesteading, sausage, venison

These Are Not Your Mama’s Venison Meatballs


There are a many ways to prepare ground venison.  Ground venison is very flexible and by adding a few spices you can really change its flavor profile.  One of our favorite ground venison dishes is venison meatballs.  Over the years, this recipe has evolved.  In the beginning, we treated the meat as if it were beef, but it still tasted a bit too gamey.  So over the years we added ingredients until we came up with these amazing gourmet venison meatballs. A tradition Italian meatball is made with veal, pork and beef.  With that thought in mind, we combined venison with beef and pork to make a spectacular meatball.

Venison Meatballs

1 lb each of ground beef, pork and venison

1/2 cup of plain bread crumbs

1/4 cup grated parmesan

1 egg, beaten

1 tbsp dried parsley

1 tbsp dried oregano

1 tbsp dried basil

1/2 tbsp garlic powder

1/2 tsp crushed red pepper

olive oil

Marinara Sauce, waiting patiently on your stove

In a large bowl, combine the 3 ground meats. Add the bread crumbs, parmesan, egg and seasonings. With clean hands (or I sometimes use gloves) mix all of the ingredients together until well combined.


Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Coat a large baking sheet with olive oil (I personally hate to scrub dishes, so I also line the baking sheet with aluminum foil). Shape into meatballs that are about 2″ in diameter. Don’t mind those few sausages that joined the meatball party, they were just waiting to be used in the freezer!


Place on baking sheet and bake for about 30 minutes, turning once during the baking time. After 30 minutes, remove the meatballs from the pan and place directly into the sauce. Simmer in the sauce for another 30 minutes or until the meat is thoroughly cooked through and absorbed some of the sauce.


Serve over your favorite pasta, or if you want to take it to the next level, put the meatballs and a little sauce in a 13 x 9 baking pan, cover with mozzarella, and pop under your broiler for a few minutes. After the cheese is melted and lightly browned, you will have made an amazing meatball parmigiana!



When we make a dish for the first time, we always spend time talking about what changes need to be made.  We can spend an hour after a meal thinking of the right changes to make.  We enjoy the conversation and usually the wine as much as the food.  A great meal is always more than a sum of its parts.  It is the hard work that went into the harvest,  The time spent cooking, and the great company that we enjoy.

cooking, cooking venison, cooking wild game, homemade, homesteading, recipes

Venison Chili The First Kiss of Wild Game


The most popular dish at any hunting camp is always Venison Chili.  In fact, I would bet that this is the way most people have tried venison for the first time.  I suppose venison chili is like the ultimate first impression, get it right and you have a venison lover, get it wrong and a half bowl of chili goes to waste.  I guess this is what has caused us to refine our recipe over the years.  A great venison chili starts when you are butchering the deer.  We have learned the more deer fat in our ground venison, the more gamey it would be.  We make sure not to put any of the silver skin in our ground venison either, and we vacuum seal  it to keep it nice and fresh.  We also use fresh, frozen, dried, or canned  vegetables from our garden.  The result is a homestead meal that anyone would be proud to serve for dinner or at camp.

Venison Chili

2 Lbs. Ground Venison

1 Tbs. Olive Oil

1 Small Onion (chopped)

1 Large Bell Pepper (chopped)

1 Qt. Canned Crushed Tomatoes, drained of any liquid

1 cup dry back beans, soaked overnight in 3 cups cold water

1 cup of frozen corn (optional, but very yummy!)

1 Tsp. Paprika

1/2 Tsp. Cayenne Pepper (more or less to taste)

1/2 Tsp. Cumin

1/2 Tsp. Crushed Red Pepper (more or less to taste)

1/2 Tsp. Black Pepper

1/4 Tsp. Salt

2 Cloves of Crushed Garlic

In a large pot or cast iron dutch oven (our preference), heat olive oil on med/high heat and add garlic and saute until softened and lightly browned. Add onion and cook for about 2 minutes. Add venison, stirring frequently  to brown, and cook all the way through.


Unlike beef, venison is so lean,  so no need to drain as there will be very little fat, if any.


Add green pepper, tomatoes, seasonings and beans. Stir to thoroughly combine. Bring the chili to a simmer and cover, stirring occasionally for 30-45 minutes or until beans are tender and cooked through.


Finally, add the corn and stir. Enjoy with a hearty corn bread and top with whatever you like, although we find that we like to eat ours as is!

A big cast iron pot of fresh chili looks almost as good as it tastes.  There is nothing better to bring ice fishing and share with your friends, and every time we do it is gone quickly.  The next time you make venison chili, don’t forget It may be someones first taste of venison, so make it your best.

cooking, cooking venison, cooking wild game, homemade, homesteading, venison

Sausage and Kale Stuffed Venison


At any given time, if you ask us what is in our freezer right now, we can give you a pretty accurate inventory. For those of you who live a similar lifestyle to us, you understand that it is essential to know what you have, what you are running out of, what needs to be used ASAP, and what you might need.

That being said, we have to figure out daily, the answer to “what’s for dinner?”, in a different way. Today while thinking of what was in the freezer, we decided it would be a venison night (we eat venison at least once a week, if not more). Then comes the inventory….what else do we have to make a simple venison roast spectacular and how are we going to prepare it?

The answer came in the form of a Sausage and Kale Stuffed Venison with an Onion Dijon Mustard Sauce. Who ever said homestead eating was boring???

The Recipe

Venison Roast (2-3 lb.)

1/2 lb bulk Italian sausage, sweet or hot

1/4 cup frozen cooked kale

1 small onion, chopped

1 tbsp Dijon mustard

1/3 cup Vermouth or white wine for de-glazing pan

1 cup chicken stock

Olive Oil

Salt and Pepper

Butcher’s twine

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a cast iron pan lightly coated in olive oil, over med/high heat, brown the sausage. Once browned, toss in the kale and stir to combine. Remove from heat and set aside.

Using a very sharp knife, butterfly the roast. Slice the roast in half as if you were going to filet it, but do not go all the way through. Open the roast like a book. Then on the left side, working from the middle crease, filet the roast again, also not going all the way through, open the flap you just created, then repeat on the right side. (I will confess here, I learned this technique years ago from a youtube video, so feel free to look that up) You will end up with a relatively flat quadruple sized roast. Lay a gallon sized freezer bag over the meat and pound out to about 1/2 inch uniform thickness.

Using about an 18″ piece of butchers twine, make a loop in one end and slide under the roast as shown. Spoon the sausage/kale mixture over the meat and spread out leaving about 1/2 around the edge. Set your cast iron pan aside as you will use it for the sauce.

Now the fun part. Start to roll up the roast as tight as you can, rolling away from you and keeping the twine underneath. Once rolled, place the seam side down. Grab the loose end of the twine and feed it through the loop. Wrap the twine around the roast and when you come back around, feed your loose end under the twine and repeat until you get to the end of the roast. Tie off in a knot and cut off any excess.

Season the outside with salt and pepper and roast on an olive oil coated rack on a baking sheet. 60 minutes for med rare, adding additional time for more well done meat.


While the venison is roasting, add a drizzle of olive oil to the cast iron pan you cooked the sausage in, and heat to medium. Once heated, add the onion and cook until the onion is caramelized and yummy. Remove the pan from the heat and add the vermouth or wine. Return the pan to the heat and stir with a whisk, picking up all of the leftover sausage bits. Once all of the bits are off the pan and combined, and the vermouth is reduced by about 1/2, add the mustard and chicken stock. Stir to combine and heat through. Turn the heat off.


After the roast is cooked to your liking, remove it to a cutting board. Let the roast rest for 10 minutes. Carefully cut and remove the twine and slice your stuffed roast. I like to cut it on a bit of an angle, it just looks so pretty! Arrange the slices on a plate, quickly heat the sauce and pour over the sliced roast. Enjoy!!!

NOTE: This recipe also works great for pork loin, or beef roast. Feel free to substitute spinach for the kale. Also, if you are not a fan of cooking with alcohol, simply go straight to the chicken stock. Which, by the way is  another item always in the freezer since all of our roast chicken (homestead raised, of course!) meals end in a beautiful stock for future for soups, sauces and gravy.





cooking, cooking venison, cooking wild game, homesteading

Home made pasta and venison stir fry

Here on the homestead we like to take advantage of all the things that we harvest and grow. Our dinners are often made without store bought ingredients.  This meal is no exception. Our family had a good year hunting so venison is abundant, this makes us search for new and creative ways to prepare it. If you don’t like venison this recipe will change your mind.

making the pasta

Unfortunately we do not have a way to make mass quantities of flour on the homestead. This year we did make some blue corn flour which i’m sure we will use later this winter.  To make our pasta we start by making a basic pasta dough using our kitchen aid mixer and dough hook.

pasta dough recipe

4 cups of flour

1 tsp salt

4 eggs (from our chickens and ducks)

2 tbs of olive oil


In the mixer, blend the flour and salt together. With the mixer off, make a well in the center of the flour/salt mixture and add the eggs to the center of the well along with the olive oil. With the dough hook attached, start blending in the eggs on a slow speed, increasing speed to 4 as the eggs incorporate. Once combined, continue mixing and add water, one tablespoon at a time, until the dough all sticks to the dough hook. Once the dough is in a ball, allow the dough to knead for 5 minutes. Then place dough in a bowl covered with plastic wrap to rest for at least 30 minutes.  After 30 min it is time to roll out and cut or use a pasta press like we do.  This is a wonderful attachment that hooks to our kitchen aid mixer.  You just put the dough in and out comes  pasta.  We then hang the pasta to dry briefly before cooking al dente.


Venison stir fry

We start with homegrown vegetables from the summers garden that we had blanched and frozen. Carrots, onions, green beans and peas all go into a large pan and get sauteed in olive oil and seasoned with black pepper, garlic powder and ginger until they are just warmed but still crispy.  Then they are removed to a plate and set aside.  In the same pan we saute strips of venison until brown and season with the same spices. Once the venison is browned  a cup of beef stock mixed with a tbs of corn starch. Next you can add back in your vegetables and stir to combine. Cook for five minutes or until the stock thickens . Add soy sauce to taste and toss with fresh pasta and serve.


Our family gets great satisfaction from eating our own food and trips to the grocery store have become fewer and fewer.  This meal cost us less than $2 to prepare.