Smoking Venison the Right Way

 

Smoking Venison the Right Way

Historically, it was all about food preservation when it came to the art of smoking. Native Americans and early settlers used the process of smoking for their venison, beef and pork, making it an integral part of our cultural past.
In 2017, of course, smoking methods are far more efficient. A smokehouse, although charming, is no longer necessary to get meat smoked to absolute perfection. Vertical box-style smokers include racks for the meat, a smoking box, a heating element and a water bowl that provides moisture for the slow-cooking process, which will most definitely lock in the flavor of both the meat and the marinade you create to make your meat absolutely delicious.

food preservation, art of smoking, healthy alternative, ultimate venison smoke, simple steps, health benefits

When it comes to choosing the wood or wood chips that will be used in the smoker, it’s important to know that dense hardwoods (i.e., oak, mesquite, walnut and hickory) are preferred because of their ‘longer life’ in the smokebox, as well as for their natural sugar content.

Venison is something that many are turning to these days, seeing as that it is a healthy alternative to beef. Although it, too, is part of the red meat category, venison actually has five times less fat than beef. Because of the slow-cooking method of smoking, the most popular meats up until now to smoke have typically been high in fat content, but when you choose the leaner venison smoking actually becomes both a challenge and a talent if you learn to do it well and follow the right smoking tips.

You have many options when it comes to smoking venison – from the hindquarter roasts to shoulder and neck roasts. food preservation, art of smoking, healthy alternative, ultimate venison smoke, simple steps, health benefitsWhen picking the ultimate venison smoke, it is venison sausage that tops the list when it comes to items being prepared in home smokers across North America today. And when it comes to having the right equipment, whether you use a conventional smoker or one of the propane models on the market, just be sure to smoke sausage meats to the temperatures listed in FDA-recommended manuals.

Although a great many hunters overlook the shoulders and neck because they’re too much “trouble” to smoke, the reality is they’re not. If smoking shoulders or the neck roast, your goal is to have the main bone slide out easily from the meat, leaving you with tender venison that can be shredded for the very popular pulled sandwiches. When it comes to hindquarters, after deboning and separating the muscles, just remove the tougher silver skin and tendons. To accomplish this, put the roasts into the freezer for approximately a half-hour; it is far easier to carve away that tough skin when the meat is partially frozen.

Backstraps and tenderloins work perfectly with your favorite rub or marinade. As before, make sure to remove that silver skin and do not overcook them. Always remember that venison is a lean meat and over-smoking can leave you with nothing more than shoe leather.

Use the simple steps below to make sure that your venison receives the perfect smoke.

1) Make that perfect brine just the way you like it. There are many recipes floating around on the Internet, but basic brine is accomplished by combining:

1 gallon of water

1/2 cup soy sauce

3/4 cup of kosher salt

1/2 cup of brown sugar

1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce

1/2 cup of molasses

2 tbs. of pepper

1 tbs. of rosemary

2) Submerge the meat into the brine until it’s completely covered and allow it to stand in the refrigerator for at least 12 hours, but no longer than 24. The brining process will increase the flavor and moistness of the meat. It is the added step to venison smoking that makes all the difference in the end.

3) If using wood chips, make sure to soak them in water two hours prior to smoking. To prepare the smoker, fill up the water pan, and the wood chip box with your pre-soaked wood chips.

4) Remove the venison from the brine, rinse it well, dry, and coat the meat with your special blend of spices.

5) Now it’s time to smoke. Check the temperature on the smoker, as well as the wood chips and water pan every half-hour or so. (The goal is to keep the temp. between 250 and 300F. If it exceeds 300 degrees, open the vent halfway. If the temp gets too low, add more coals.) Using an electric smoker is far easier because the actual model will do a good job regulating everything.

6) Smoke the meat for approximately 1.5 hours per pound, or until the meat reaches an internal temperature of 140F; then remove it from the smoker and allow it to rest for at least 20 minutes before diving in.

After that, enjoy all the flavor of a delicious meat and gain the health benefits that venison ‘brings to the table.’

Source:  Sportsmans Lifestyle

The Perfect Roasted Duck

 

The Perfect Roasted Duck

by Amy Lignor

 

The hunt, itself, is a memory that lasts a good long time. But for those who do not wish to head to the taxidermist, a recipe to create a mouth-watering meal is another path to consider.

The Perfect Roasted DuckSome will say that a perfect, whole roasted duck is more like a creative idea than an actual fact. Yes, it is true that a combination of crispy skin, tender meat and just enough fat to make a perfect roasted duck seems like something that can only be had if a true “wizard” lives in the household. However, there are ways that can make this dream a very appetizing reality.

Any wild duck that has a layer of fat one-eighth of an inch or less on its breast is at the center of a true feast. Then, when it comes to ultimate success, the temperature of the oven is the key. The smaller the bird, the hotter the oven. Various species have their own “best oven temp.” When it comes to Teal, the species cooks better at about 500°F, while a large mallard, canvasback or small goose (from the cackler to the Aleutian) cooks better in an oven set closer to 450°F. Preheating is also a must. Do not put the bird in until the oven hits the right temperature.

 

Now, we get in to personal taste. You need to decide what you want to feast on when it comes to the amount of crispy skin and perfectly roasted meat. Obviously, the longer your trophy bird cooks the more done your meat will be, and the crispier your skin will be. For those who like medium-rare breast meat, take it to a solid medium, even medium-well: still pink, but definitely cooked through for the perfect taste. Why is that? Because the legs can get cooked enough to eat. There are pictures swirling out there on the Internet of whole roasted canvasback, cooked in a 475°F oven for 22 minutes. Although everything is done, spots can be seen on the legs where the skin did not crisp.

 

It is also important to note that geese can be a little harder to roast. They tend to be older and tougher than ducks. Large geese, such as normal-sized specklebellies, snow geese and typical Canada geese can be roasted whole. So for those looking for a base recipe to help get that mouth-watering meal, this is most definitely a prime path to take:

 

Prep time for four small ducks (teal, wood ducks, wigeon); or 2 to 4 larger ducks (or small geese): Make sure to prep for thirty minutes in order to help the birds come to room temperature.

 

Cook Time: 12 to 30 minutes, depending on the duck chosen.

 

Make sure to have on hand lemon or orange wedges, salt, celery stalks, as well as black pepper.

 

Set the oven to 450°F or higher. Small ducks are best cooked at high temperatures. Then let the oven preheat a good 20 to 30 minutes, and check the temperature before cooking. Let the ducks rest at room temperature while the oven heats up.

 

If the duck is reasonably fat, use a needle to pierce the skin where there is a great amount of fat under it. This comes at the front of the breast, between the breast and legs, at the flanks, and all over the back of the bird, but be careful not to pierce the meat of the breast.

 

Rub lemon over the bird and dust it well with a good salt product (Fleur de Sel is a great choice). Then stuff the spent lemon or an orange wedge inside the duck.

 

Place a few celery stalks onto an oven-proof pan so you can rest the ducks on top. This will prevent the ducks from sitting in their own juices.

 

Time to Roast: Allow 10 to 15 minutes for Teal or other small ducks; 13 to 20 minutes for anything up to the size of a gadwall; 18 to 25 minutes for a mallard or canvasback; and, 25 to 45 minutes for a small goose. The real key here is to get that internal temperature between 140-145°F at the deepest part of the breast meat.

 

Take the meat out, move to a cutting board and tent the duck(s) loosely with foil. Small ducks should rest at least 5 minutes; large ducks, closer to 10; and, geese up to 15.

 

When it comes to sauces, the choices are endless and they are all yours. A simple pan sauce can be made by removing the celery and stirring a tablespoon of flour into the drippings. Allowing this to cook on the stove until it becomes the color of coffee-with-cream, can be delicious. Then, anything from a tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce to some wine or brandy can be added to create a wild game sauce that’s truly unbelievable to the palette.

 

A huge selection of sauces can be found all across the Internet, and even side dishes that go perfectly with your roasted duck success. Then, the rest is easy. Eat and enjoy! After tasting that perfect duck, you will want to hunt each and every day in order to bring the next luscious ‘trophy’ home.

 

Source:  Sportsmans Lifestyle

Baked Tilapia-Stuffed Acorn Squash-Beets And Greens For Dinner

Baked Tilapia-Stuffed Acorn Squash-Beets And Greens For Dinner

~ Richard Hudson
I thawed a few frozen Tilapia fillets about an hour and a half before I intended to put them in the oven. Once thawed I sprinkled on a little lemon pepper, some dried dill and tarragon, added a little butter and the juice from a half of photolemon and set the pan aside while the over was preheated at 375 degree. Previously I picked two good size beets from the planters on the back porch and washed them well (scrubbed) and cut off the stems, then quartered the beets and cooked them in boiling water for about 45 minutes. These were about finished when the oven was ready for the fish. Also, prior to preparing the fish, I prepared an acorn squash for backing by cutting it in half and removing the seeds, lathering a little olive oil over the edible parts and adding a few dashes of each of the following: ground cumin, curry, and caraway seed. These were baking at about 375 degrees in the oven for one half hour. These were removed and covered with foil while I heated three cloves of garlic cut in small sections and added to a fry pan with two cut up scallions (also grown on the porch), about one sixth of a red pepper cut up into small sections. When these had sautéed together for a few minutes on medium heat, I added about one cup of previously cooked yellow rice mixed with a generous amount of freshly grated parmesan cheese. These were mixed together and warmed on low heat for a few minutes and subsequently placed in the open centers of the two acorn squash halves and then retuned to the oven and cooked along with the tilapia for a half hour. While the tilapia and the squash cook, the beets should be ready. Remove from the stove and drain the hot water and rinse beets generously with cold water. They should be just cool enough to hold and peel off the skins. While you are doing this you should be steaming the greens which will take less than 10 minutes. Also, remove the fish once from the oven for an additional sprinkling of lemon juice — then return to the oven to finish baking (total of about 30 minutes. Everything should come together about the same time. Remove the acorn squash and place on the two plates that are ready on the counter. Then add the peeled beets and the greens nest to them. You can add a little olive oil and basaltic vinegar to the greens (just a few drops of each) and then finally remove the fish from the baking pan and divide up what you have onto the two plates with one final dash of freshly squeezed lemon juice. Add a few freshly cut strawberries on the side to each plate and serve. The description given above assumes you are cooking for yourself and your significant other. If that’s not the case, have the good sense to invite someone for dinner and that way neither of us will be embarrassed by all the extra food.
Read More Richlynne
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Today’s Recipe – Polenta with Mushrooms

 

by Alfredo Zotti

You will need some Shiitake mushrooms. You can buy them dry at the supermarket. All you need to do is put them in some salty warm water and leave them for a while.Polenta

After an hour or so, rinse them and slice them with a sharp knife.

For the polenta, you will need one cup of polenta, one cup of soy milk, and half cup of water.

Put the lot in a pot and cook on moderate to gentle heat. Cook the polenta. If you need to add more liquid gently add some soy milk, but only a tiny bit till the polenta is nice and think, but creamy.

Heat a little olive oil, garlic, and half a red onion.

Fry mushroom gently. When ready, dish up some polenta and top it up with the mushrooms.

Enjoy the delicious meal!.

About the Author

As a sufferer with Bipolar 2 disorder, Alfredo Zotti decided, some 20 years ago, to attend university at the age of 30, knowing that knowledge is vital for people with mental illness. Ten years ago, he started to help sufferers online because he also realized that only by helping others can we truly understand the human condition. He also started to write a journal and found that writing this journal, in cooperation with other sufferers, made it possible for him to see mental illness from a totally different, positive perspective. Visit his blog http://www.alfredozotti.com/ to read his work.