Roadkill on the Grill?

It was a fairytale ending; just not the one Bambi had expected.

Slicing tthe smoked venison.

Here in Virginia, like in a lot of other states, there are deer everywhere. They eat our crops, eat our gardens, threaten human life when they jump out in front of our cars.

Well, the latest visitor to a Charcoal Chucker smoker/grill was literally caught off guard — like a deer in headlights. And, quite frankly, it was a delicious way to get even with these garden marauders.

As it turns out, my neighbor Michael is on the call list in our community when deer are killed when they attempt to take on automobiles. Sitting around the evening firepit several weeks ago, the call came. Michael, another neighbor (Gene) and I hopped into Michael’s truck to retrieve the unfortunate victim. Michael is an Air Force guy and Gene is a retired Marine helicopter pilot, so you just know this was going to turn into a quick, but productive mission.

We found the little fella, as directed by our local law enforcement personnel, in a roadside ditch, where he had lost a battle with a passing automobile. We loaded the little guy into the pickup and brought him home, with the pride of hunter gatherers who had dispatched the quarry with our own wile, rather than a passing car’s wheel well.

Now, Michael is one of those guys who could survive in the woods on instinct alone. He’s a hardy Minnesotan and has a wealth of practical knowledge and the ambition to tackle anything and succeed. He dressed and skinned the fawn…and vital to our story today…reserved one of the wee venison hindquarters for my smoker.

The delicious fairytale started by a quick Google search of “how to smoke venison.” The key tips that stuck out to me were these:

  • Venison has very little fat content and can dry out if the heat is too high.
  • Try to stay away from too much salt.
  • And…everything is better with BACON.

Covered with bacon.

I started off by generously rubbing the meat with Mrs. Dash garlic and herb (lots of flavor, no salt). It worked great.

Step two: I took a pound of smoked, unsalted bacon and covered every inch of the little deer ham with bacon held in place with wooden toothpicks. After coating the meat with olive oil, this baby was ready for the smoker.

I took the cooking temperature up to about 250-270 and put the meat on, mopping every 30 minutes with some rose′ wine.

In spite of directions that said to take the internal temp up to a range of 145 to 160, I really did not feel comfortable with that low of a temp for wild game, regardless of how young or tender the meat might be. However, after about four and a half hours on the smoker, and the bacon drippings doing their job, I was surprised to see that the internal temperature had spiked to 180 degrees. I knew I had to act fast or risk a dry outcome.

Bambi came off the smoker with a fine dressing of deep golden bacon. After letting the meat rest for an hour, it was ready to serve around the firepit. The meat carried a moist, smoky flavor, and due to Bambi’s age, was extremely tender.

This fairytale did not have a Disney-esque ending for our furry friend, but for those who had a chance to taste the results, it was an evening with a happily-ever-after ending.

Smokeman’s Favorite Rub

This rub comes from Dr. BBQ, Ray Lampe.  I have to say it’s my favorite, it’s excellent on everything.

Big Time Rub

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup sugar in the raw
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons paprika
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme leaves (not powder)
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 2 teaspoons ground red pepper (cayenne)
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg

Mix together and you’re done.

Please note: This rub by itself is to salty for ribs, you’ll need to add some sugar for ribs

 

Skirt Steak with 4 cheese stuffed peppers & Spanish rice

I’ve been eating skirt steak for years and just learned that there are two types inner & outter.  The inner skirt is used for grilling or griddling & chopped into tiny bits for tacos and the outter skirt you would slice on the bias and serve as a steak.  I always liked the inner until I went to the outter it’s thicker, more tender & very juicy providing you don’t over cook it!!!  Ask you butcher to trim the steak out and give the skirt a couple of slices with a knive on the top & bottom side.   The outter doesn’t  need to be tenderized like the inner (the butcher will run it through a tenderizer machine which puts holes it and makes it more tender.

The prep: I mixed together in a bowl 14 cup olive oil, 2 cloves of chopped garlic, fresh oregano, kosher salt, fresh cracked pepper, diced onion, little bit of paprika and chipolte powder to taste and mix well.  Rub over meat and place in fridge for at least 4 hours over night is best.

Set up your grill for the direct method of grilling (meat over the flame) very high grill temp of 450 to 500 degrees and don’t forget to add a nice chunk of oak or hickory wood.  As always get the grill grate hot, clean & well oiled.  When ready place skirt on grill for about 3 minutes or until meat is unstuck to the grill  now give it a quarter turn this will ensure nice grill marks as pictured.  Flip to the other side and do the same.  Steak will cook fast it should read 130 degrees on a thermometer and let it rest.

As for the sides we made 4 cheese stuffed peppers,  spanish rice  roasted tomotillo salsa.  Start by splitting peppers down the side and clean them of seeds place them in a cast iron pan than onto a 350 degree grill for about 30 minutes until soft.  The peppers were filled with a 4 cheese egg souffle  we used queso, blue cheese, sharp cheddar and a  lot of parmesan now place cheese mixture  into peppers and cook in cast iron skillet on an indirect grill at 350 degrees until tender about 20 minutes.

Roasted tomotillo salsa:  Garden picked tomotillos with husk off, 5 garlic cloves skins off, onion and hot peppers roast in hot oven or hot grill for 30 minitues let cool for 15 minutes put in food processsor and whiz with salt, fresh squeezed lime juice and cilantro.

Spanish rice:  Check the back of the package of rice for cooking instructions.  Heat up some oil cook onion, garlic, 2 cups of rice, 3 cups chicken stock tablespoon of tomato paste, oregano & salt to taste let cook.



Brisket & Pork Butts with coffee, cocoa paste

I made a paste with 3 tablespoon instant expresso, 1/2 cup Dijon mustard, 1/2 cup dark brown sugar, 3 cloves garlic, minced, 1 tablespoon coarse kosher salt, 1 tablespoon paprika, 1 tablespoon fresh cracked tri-color black pepper, 1 tablespoon onion powder, 1 tablespoon cumin seed toasted & ground, 1 tablespoon coriander seed toasted & ground, 1 teaspoon cocoa powder, apple juice or cider or as needed.  Place the paste on a full brisket and place in fridge overnight or for at least 4 hours.  Layer the top of the brisket with bacon and fire up your grill for indirect cooking/smoking.

Try the same paste on pork butts which means you may need to double or triple the paste.

Place the meat in a 250 to 275 degree smoker for 5 hours while it’s smoking baste brisket & pork with this moping sauce which has 1 beer, 12 oz of apple cider, 1 can of beef stock, 1 cup Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce to taste,  kosher salt & fresh cracked pepper to taste.  If you’re cooking this much meat you might need to double or triple the moping sauce as well.

Once the internal temp gets to 170 degrees place the brisket in a foil pan with some moping sauce and the same goes for the pork butts. Cover the both of them with foil and lower the temp of the smoker to 225 to 250 degrees for 3 to 4 more hours or until the internal temp of the meat gets to 190 degrees.

Now, I know some of you are saying that I’m cheating, cooking them this way but  it works great, saves time & fuel and think about it after the first 5 hours how much smoke is really going to penetrate the meat after the burnt ends & bark have been established.

Tips:

If the meat is getting too dark during the 1st 5 hours cover the top of the meat with a layer foil.

Always let your meat rest in this case for at least 20 minutes before cutting.

Apple & pecan works well as well as hickory & oak.

The bacon may start to over cook after the 1st or 2nd hour feel free to remove it and use it in your sauce or beans.

You won’t be sorry you cooked them this way your guests will love it.  Enjoy & keep your grill on!!!

Marinated Flank Steak & Heirloom Tomatoes with Bacon & Triple Cream Blue Cheese

Marinade the flank steak with soy, garlic, shioxaing wine for at least 4 hours, overnight is best.  Prep grill for direct cooking and wait until the grill grate is 400 to 450 degrees.  Make sure the grate is clean and well oiled.  Place steak on hot grill for about 2 minutes or until the steak can be turned a quarter turn without sticking to the grill.  Now leave it on for another 2 minutes.  This is to ensure nice grill marks.  After a total of 4 or 5 minutes flip steak to the other side and cook until it’s firm to the touch or the internal temp is 130 to 135 for medium rare.  Let the meat rest for at least 5 minutes before cutting.

Side dish: Heirloom tomatoes with green onions, bacon, olive oil, salt,  pepper and triple cream blue cheese.  The cheese was purchased at Mariano’s Fresh Market.

Wine:  The featured wine is a Pinotage Grinder it has a natural hint of coffee due to the heavily toasted oak it sits in.

Buyer Beware!!!

I know we all want to save some money but remember you get what you paid for……

There’s a a home improvement store out there that is selling ceramic grills at a very good price but the warranty is only 1 year and you might not be able to get service or parts after the year is up.  The the grills in question are the Big Red Kamado Kooker & the Avocado.   The Avocado is a Big Green Egg look a like, it comes with a stand, side tables, double stack grate, and a plate setter.

The Big Red Kamado Kooker looks like the Kamado Joe red in color.  Joe also comes in black.  All of these grills will cook the same but as for the cheaper grills you get what you pay for no service and only a 1 year warranty, buyer beware…..

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