“Earth to Table” Dining – January

“Earth to Table” Dining – January

I hate labels and grouping people into categories, but I think I might be turning into a “foodie”?

As recent “empty nesters” my wife and I spend a fair amount of our time, and our hard earned money, going out to eat. We’ve always enjoyed fine and unique dining opportunities, in fact our 10-year wedding anniversary was spent in Memphis enjoying a 5-day gorging on some of the best BBQ I’ve ever tasted. Now that my son is out in the real world spreading his wings, my wife and I have more time to explore some interesting culinary options.

We’ve eaten bone marrow, grilled octopus and escargot as appetizers, as well as, regularly enjoying roasted beets or Brussel sprouts with pancetta as a side dish. If it’s on the menu we order the charcuterie board, my salad often includes gorgonzola cheese, walnuts and dried cranberries and somehow the words “a la carte” no longer scare me.

I don’t want you to think that I am becoming a “food snob”. I still think that breakfast cooked in a duck blind is awesome, I can eat a meatloaf platter at a greasy spoon any day of the week and my wife still gives me a hard time when my two side dishes are mac n’ cheese and mac n’ cheese which still happens more than occasionally.

The whole “farm to table” movement piqued my interest. Eating locally and eating what is in season just makes sense to me. Throughout my entire adult life, I will often head to the local market or roadside produce stands on the weekend. I’ve been buying local honey for over a decade and firmly believe that a spoonful a day helps keep the doctor away. Recently I’ve heard the phrase “Earth to table” being used. This concept incorporates hunting, fishing and foraging into the “farm to table” concept and that convinced me to use some of my new found free time to delve into exploring this idea.

Enter my buddy Chef Jeff. Chef Jeff started in the culinary world at a young age working in restaurants washing dishes and bussing tables. He moved up to the kitchen and after high school graduation attended culinary school. After a long career heading up the kitchen he decided to make a career change and spend some much needed time at home with his family and in the field hunting and fishing.

Chef Jeff and I often share a duck blind or meet up in a cornfield to chase waterfowl. He spends a lot of time archery hunting and we touch base on a regular basis to exchange scouting notes. We have also started meeting up to cook meals, share recipes or to discuss new culinary ideas. We’ve recently decided to team up to create some recipes and to share them with other hunters. We have no idea where this series may go, but we thought that the readers at Chasin’ Whitetails and Life Afowl might be interested in some new and, hopefully, interesting ways to prepare their harvested game.

 

Smoked Pulled Venison Roast

By Chef Jeff

 

Ingredients:

(Qty. 1 in the 5-6 lbs. range) Venison Shoulder Roast

(Qty. 2 cups – loosely packed) Dark Brown Sugar

(Qty. 5 Tbsp.) Kosher Salt*see the note below

(Qty. 2 tsp.) Coarse Ground Black Pepper*see the note below

(Qty. 5 Tbsp.) Granulated Garlic*see the note below

(Qty. 3 tsp.) Crushed Red Pepper *see the note below

(Qty. 2 Tbsp.) Fennel Seed *see the note below

(Qty. 1 Tbsp.) Ground Mustard *see the note below

(Qty. 4 Tbsp.) Worcestershire Sauce

(Qty. 2 Cups) Ketchup or BBQ Sauce (your choice)

(Qty. 12 oz. Can) Apple Juice or Root Beer (your choice)

*Note – On our most recent attempt we substituted ¼ cup of Hi Mountain Steak Rub Blend (www.himtnjerky.com) in place of the Kosher Salt, Black Pepper, Granulated Garlic, Red Pepper and Ground Mustard. We still added the Fennel Seed.

Cooking Procedure:

  1. Wash and dry the roast (USING COLD WATER ONLY!)
  2. Mix all of the seasonings and the brown sugar together in a glass bowl
  3. Rub the roast with Worcestershire Sauce making sure that it soaks into the roast
  4. Roll the roast in seasoning mix, making sure that the entire surface is liberally coated
  5. Place the roast in a non-corrosive container and let it sit in the refrigerator for 24 hours prior to placing it on the smoker (**Do not discard the liquid from the roast. Pour the reserved liquid into a sauce pan, add the ketchup or BBQ sauce and bring it just to a boil. Once you hit the boiling point remove the pan from the heat and allow to cool to room temperature. You can then use this mixture to baste the roast during smoking)
  6. Place the roast in a smoker over indirect heat (Every smoker is a little different. Just remember that, unless you are smoking it to preserve your harvest, 1 inch of “smoke ring” is usually all that you’re looking for).
  7. Smoke for 4 to 6 hours (I like to use a combination of a hard wood and fruit wood. (We used hickory and apple wood)
  8. After smoking the roast transfer it to a foil roasting pan and pour in ¼ inch of liquid (50% water and 50% either apple juice or root beer)
  9. Place the pan in a preheated oven (350°F) until the meat is fork tender (roughly an hour-and-a-half to 2 hours depending on the size of roast)
  10. Let the roast rest for half an hour and then use two forks to “pull” and shred the meat.

Once shredded the meat can be served as is with some baked beans and cornbread or you can serve it on a roll with some coleslaw and your favorite BBQ sauce. We hope that you enjoy this recipe. Please let us know how yours turns out.

Pete Anstadt

Grateful son to two amazing parents, big brother to an awesome sister, husband to the woman of my dreams and proud father of the greatest son in the world. Mediocre waterfowl hunter, novice fisherman, aspiring cook and recently retired high school lacrosse coach. I'm looking to improve my physical health and to find a way to turn my "work brain" off through exploring my love of the outdoors, spending more time in the field or at the sporting clays course and expanding upon my admittedly limited cooking abilities. I look forward to the chance to share my successes and to poke fun at myself when I fail miserably with anyone crazy enough to read my posts.

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