Corned venison is as simple as it is delicious. We’ve all met people who claim not to like venison. I’ve never seen anyone fail to light up when they take a bite of this.
Many cuts work well, but a boneless roast from the hindquarter is best.
Loins or even steaks work too, except they tend to fall apart while simmering. You can prevent that by securing them with twine or butcher’s netting (after the brining, before the cooking).
Or you could choose the “sous vide” method — which takes a bit longer but produces better texture and flavor, with less shrinkage.
Salt and Cure
- 8 oz salt — By weight. by vol, if using canning/pickling or table salt, 8oz = 3/4 cup
- 8 g cure — by weight. Called Instacure #1 or Prague Powder #1. Some call it "pink salt" - but DON'T confuse it with "Himalayan pink salt" which IS NOT A CURE.
After-brine rub (optional)
Remove all bone, and trim well, removing all surface silverskin before weighing meat.
Dissolve salt, cure and dextrose in water, then mix in the remaining brine ingredients.
Using a non-reactive vessel such as glazed crockery, glass or food-grade plastic, submerge the meat in the brine
Hold between 35 and 39 degrees. Your fridge is perfect. The garage, barn, root cellar, under the deck, etc will be too warm, too cold, or will fluctuate too much.
Stir the brine and re-arrange the meat daily, making sure all surfaces get exposed to the brine. This is called "overhauling" for some reason. It is more important than it sounds – don’t skip it.
After 5-10 days (5 days for small thin roasts, up to 10 for large, thick roasts) remove and rinse the meat. Brining too long is better than too short, within reason. If, when slicing after cooking you see a grayish core at the center of the roast, you didn't brine long enough.
Cook option 1: Simmer
Place roasts in a large pot of water.
Optionally toss in a couple fists full of pickling spice.
On high heat, bring to a slow boil while watching carefully. Turn the heat way down when you see simmering or boiling.
Cook at a very slow simmer, 2 1/2 hours, covered. A water temp of 185°F is perfect. Check occasionally — but nothing to stress about so long as you keep it below boiling.
Remove the roasts. Serve hot or cold. They will have shrunk a lot. Don't worry, all the meat is still there!
Cook option 2: Sous Vide (shrinks less, retains more moisture, fantastic)
Optional rub - more traditionally associated with Pastrami than Corned meat, but I love it: After rinsing roasts, pat dry, then moisten with Worchestershire sauce and pack on as much of the rub as they will hold - don't be shy.
Remove from bag and reserve the liquid.
Strain reserved juices, saving the liquid for use simmering vegetables such as cabbage and potatoes. It will be INTENSE stuff, especially if you rubbed the roasts. Also useful to moisten sliced corned meat while gently reheating.
Corned meat freezes very well, and like any cured meat lasts a long time in the fridge.
Serving suggestions: Corned venison and cabbage, corned venison hash, or venison reuben sandwiches. Om nom nom!
Pastrami is a fantastic cousin of traditional corned meat. Instead of cooking in water the roasts are first smoked then steamed. It is always rubbed prior to smoking. Here's a good recipe from "The Meat Eater"
Some EXCELLENT sauces to accompany this wonderful meat: Mustard Sauce (1c Sour cream, 2T Dijon mustard, 1t sugar) or horseradish sauce (3T butter melted with 2T flour > light roux, 1T sugar, 1T cider vinegar & 1/4 cup prepared horseradish)
|“Eye of round” roasts, or loins from smaller deer are perfect to slice into medallions for hors d’oeuvres. A platter of miniature open face reubens on slices of rye “party loaf” would be sure to get rave reviews.