|Dat deer hash doe! See what I did there?|
If any of you have families who hunt, like mine, you may be finding yourself with an abundance of venison in your freezer. If you do, lucky you!! I'm personally a big fan of any wild game for a couple of reasons. First, I just like it. I know some people don't like the "gamey" flavor, but it has never bothered me. It's a flavor unique to wild game, and I can appreciate that. Secondly, hunting is a way to balance the environment. I grew up in Indiana where there has always been an abundance of healthy deer. In fact, many years ago they decided to put more restrictions on hunting deer and the result was not good! They had to lift restrictions and temporarily extend the deer hunting season to control overpopulation. John Durant discusses hunting in his new book The Paleo Manifesto, and he talks about the fact that without hunting there can be an overpopulation of certain animals and when that happens, it's the young that suffer because there is a lack of food. Too many deer (or insert wild game here), not enough food. Also, look at what the increase in wild boar/pig population is doing in the South. They are destroying & taking over. Hunting is necessary, but not wasteful!
Let's be honest, it doesn't get more Paleo than eating wild game, and for most people that means venison. There are several cuts, and several different ways to have it processed. Smoked deer sausage is outstanding-- especially a little spicy! And I leap for joy when my Uncle brings me a little bag of deer jerky.
I love deer hash. It's personally my favorite way to eat venison! I'm relatively new to cooking deer meat myself, so I've been working on perfecting my recipe. Venison is a lean meat, and you do have to cut the fat off, so how tender your meat is can vary-- not just from cut to cut, but from animal to animal. How tender the meat is depends on a few things. First, the cut -- rump is more tender than shank, which is why shank is used most commonly for ground meat, and the rump for roast. It also depends on the age of the deer-- the younger the deer, the more tender the meat. And finally, the deer's diet. Deer living near agricultural areas will be more tender from eating a diet of corn and soy beans, but deer from hilly or mountainous areas are less tender from consuming a more wild diet. Living in South Carolina, the venison I have comes from deer that eat a more wild diet, so I have the challenge of dealing with a less tender meat. However, I believe I have figured out a way to get a tender flavorful hash no matter the age or diet of the venison you have.
|Freeze those leftovers to save for later!|
Also, deer hash freezes fantastically!! Yay for food prep!! Simply double bag some cooled hash meat into freezer safe bags, make sure all air is removed, seal both bags well and freeze!
Tips for tender deer hash:
1. Use a roast cut (usually the rump, neck, or foreleg)
2. Leave the bone in if processing yourself, or request that the bone be left in your roast cuts. Cooking any meat with the bone will make for a more tender meat.
3. Trim off as much fat & skin as possible. It doesn't taste good. Sometimes it doesn't taste like anything, but it's a gamble you don't want to take!
4. Soak your meat in salt water overnight. This draws out the blood, taking some of the gamey flavor out, and it helps to tenderize
5. Add fat to the pot when cooking. This is necessary with such a lean meat.
6. Cook low & slow & long.
7. Use wine. I know that wine is not strictly Paleo, and it is not necessary if you wish to eliminate it, but wine is a natural tenderizer and does make a difference.
Ok, now that I've shared my tips for cooking deer hash, let me share my recipe with you! You can use deer hash just as you would pulled pork or chicken meat. Add to your frittatas, or stuff a Paleo tortilla, or mix with some Mayleo and make a creamy deer hash salad. Stuff jalapenos & wrap them with bacon & bake for a delicious snack or appetizer! The possibilities are endless!
Laura's Deer Hash
1 venison roast bone-in
1 liquid cup of red wine
1 Tbs onion powder
1 Tbs garlic powder
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp sea salt
4 Tbs ghee, grass fed butter, bacon grease, or lard of choice
2 Tbs salt (for soak)
First, as I stated earlier, soak your roast over night. In a deep bowl or pan, cover meat with water. Add 2 Tbs of salt. Allow the meat to sit in the fridge overnight.
After the roast has soaked, remove from the water and pat dry. In a crock pot, slow cooker, or large oven-safe lidded pot pour in the wine. Make a dry rub mixing all the seasonings together in a bowl. Coat the roast with the dry rub and place into the slow cooker/ crock pot/ oven safe pot. Top with fat/lard of choice. Cover and cook on low (or 275*F in the oven) for at least 6 hours. Check the meat & if it falls apart easily it is done. If not, continue to cook and check hourly. The hash is done when it is falling apart & shredding easily.
When done, remove the bone, pull apart & shred with two forks. Mix the meat up with the liquid at the bottom of the pot.
Serve with my my Butt Smackin' Good BBQ Sauce, a side of my Pink Horsey Slaw, and ENJOY!