Author: Kevin A. Gardner
Much the way the weather seems to have its own way of changing and switching back and forth, an occasional “departure from normal” can be found in most outdoor writer’s repartee as well. Writing largely to satisfy the need for information and guidance, it feels that there comes a time every year that really seems to have no home on the writer’s field calendar. A time when you have to mix it up a bit and stray outside of the four walls in which you normally play. Seasonally, it’s that time of year after the big game seasons end, and the spring thaws and fishing season begin. A “mud-season” as skiers call it, we find a degree of challenge to interest our readership. We often stare at a blinking cursor and ponder our next topic, then after hours and hours of frustration often fall back on things like wild game recipes or outdoor quizzes to fill the void. Having lived through this as many times as I have, I am choosing to just cut to the chase and deal with the problem head on. With that said, while I take a couple of weeks to compile a nice outdoor quiz to tide you over till fishing season, I hope you enjoy the follow recipes for big game meat.
These two recipes are undoubtedly my absolute favorites when it comes to game meat. On top of not only being fantastic table-fare, they have a sort of uniqueness factor because they are not made from the choicest cuts of the animal. These recipes are made from the cuts of meat that are usually the only choices left in the freezer by this time of the year. So it is a refreshing opportunity to pass on a couple of recipes that will help you to utilize all of the meat you worked so hard for all fall and winter, and turn you on to some alternative options that you may even choose over prime cuts.
How many times has it happened, that have a real yearning for a nice wild game steak or roast and you dig deep into the freezer only to find a partially freezer-burned round steak, maybe some stew meat or a small mountain of white and tightly wrapped hamburger packages? Unless you are very different than most, this has been an all too common occurrence. Alas, with a short trip to the corner grocery store and some digging deep into the back of the seasoning rack, you can pull out that round steak or hamburger and create some mouthwatering mainstays that just may change the way you look at the less-than-best cuts of meat.
The following are recipes I have picked up along the way and have made small adjustments here and there to satisfy my own personal liking. I would recommend for the first go at it that you follow the recipe as closely as possible, then make your changes, as some of the steps are critical to getting the recipe to work correctly and for the meat to be properly cooked.
We will do this the easy way, first a list of the “what you needs” then a list of the “what to do’s”.
1 round steak, roast, or any other cut of meat that can be cubed like stew meat
1 package of Bacon
Meat tenderizer (Seasoned)
Long sandwich toothpicks
Simply cut the meat into cubes about 1” square. In a bowl, thoroughly coat the pile of cubes with seasoned meat tenderizer and soak them, submerged, in soy sauce for anywhere from 2 hours to 2 days in a refrigerator, covered tightly with a lid or plastic wrap. The meat will turn as black as coal, this is normal. This soaking in soy sauce is an excellent way to remove any gamey taste (or freezer burn taste) from meat. Remove the cubes from the mixture.
Add remaining seasonings, coating the cubes liberally. Use any spicy seasoning you may enjoy as well. It’s really a matter of tuning the taste to your liking. Next, slice the pound of bacon in half, and wrap each piece of meat with a half slice of the bacon. Slide a toothpick through the bacon and the center of the cube to hold it all together.
Space the wraps evenly across an oven broiling pan coated liberally with cooking spray and bake at 400 degrees for about 15 minutes, depending upon how well you like your meat cooked. Switch the oven to the broil mode and brown the wraps flipping them periodically to brown both sides and insure the bacon is fully cooked. Use caution when flipping the cubes, as they will be very hot. Remove the pan from the oven and let the wraps cool, serve as an appetizer or as a main course.
Venison Egg Roll Wraps
1 lb. package of wild game burger
1 Package of egg roll wrappers (you will find these in the fresh produce area of the grocery store)
1 egg, beaten
1 package of cheddar cheese (shredded)
1 can of green chilies (whole)
1 onion (diced)
Tobasco sauce (optional)
Olive or cooking oil
In a frying pan, brown the burger and add the diced onion, continue to cook until the onions are softened. Season the meat mixture with seasoned salt, garlic salt, pepper, cayenne pepper and tobasco to taste (add you’re other favorites as well).
Next, probably the single most important factor in the process, is to completely cool the meat before continuing. While the meat is cooling, slice the chilies, long ways, into thin strips, approximately ¼” wide. Crack the egg into a dish, scramble and set aside to be used as glue for sealing the egg roll later.
Separate egg-roll wrappers and place one in front of you on a flat surface, positioned as a diamond. Add a spoonful of the “cooled” burger mix to the center of the wrap, then add a handful of the shredded cheese and a chilie slice to the pile. Carefully fold in the sides and roll the wrapper like an egg roll, folding in the sides and tucking them as you roll. Using the beaten egg as glue to seal the wrapper and hold it together, simply brush the inside of the remaining open edge or “tip” of the wrap with the egg using a basting brush.
Be careful not to stack filled egg rolls on top of each other before frying as the wrappers will stick together and tear while being separated.
In a frying pan, add approximately ¼” of cooking oil and bring to medium heat, (be careful not to overheat the oil and periodically remove the pan from heat to cool the oil if needed) brown 3-5 egg rolls at a time, on all sides flipping them with tongs. Remove them cooked egg rolls from the pan and pat them dry with a paper towel to remove excess oil.
Arrange egg rolls on a platter with a bowl of salsa in the center and garnish each wrapper with a spoonful of salsa on top.
After trying these two recipes, I was so impressed with the taste, that I have cooked almost an entire elk using nothing but these two methods. The fact that it is an alternative to a gamy piece of meat, a freezer burned piece of meat or the many packages of burger that haunt the freezer, make it a low risk adventure.
I hope you enjoy the table-fare and pass these recipes on to the rest of the hunting camp. I know that you too will enjoy them and find ways to make them even better.