Saturday, May 26, 2012

"Garden" Burger

"Garden" Burger, because the lettuce comes from the garden, the tomatoes and jalapenos did too, and the deer likes to spend time in it...  :-)
Our biggest complaint about wild game burgers is that they can be dry. Without the fat, wild game tends to lose a lot of that rich, juicy flavor that we know and love so much about regular beef burgers. It can also pose a challenge when assembling. You can always add pork fat when grinding up your wild game, but we didn't do that the last time with our deer. To give our burgers its structure and flavor, we decided to incorporate lots of shredded Monterey Jack Cheese into our ground venison. Not only did this give our burgers great flavor, but the cheese also helped to keep our venison burgers deliciously moist. 

Servings: 4 
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 10-15 minutes
- 1 lb. ground venison
- 1 tsp. garlic powder
- 2 tbs. canned diced jalapeno, or to taste
- 1 bunch of scallion (about 6-8 stems), white and light green parts thinly sliced
- 1 cup of shredded Monterey Jack Cheese
- kosher/sea salt, to taste (about 1/2 tsp.)
- freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 4 soft hamburger buns
- Spring Mix salad
- sliced tomato
- and all your other favorite fixings

1. First, chop and slice white/light green parts of scallion . Discard dark green parts.  

We also chopped 2 tbs. of the diced jalapenos even further. The pieces were a little too big for our liking, but that's up to you.

You won't need the whole can. Unless if you like the feeling of your mouth catching fire.
2. In a large bowl, combine 1 lb. ground venison, 1 tsp. garlic powder, 2 tbs. diced jalapeno, sliced green onion, salt and pepper to taste. 
Then add 1 cup of shredded Monterey Jack Cheese. 
With your hands, combine all ingredients. 
3. Shape venison mixture into 4 patties. Make sure to shape them well so that the patties stay together.

Prepare the grill. While you wait, drink some booze.

We made margaritas and drank them from granny glasses... Because we're too poor to afford real margarita glasses. Still good!

4. When the grill is ready, cook burgers about 5-7 minutes on each side, or until burgers are just cooked through and juices run clear. Do not overcook, because venison dries out quickly. Melt additional cheese on top of burgers, optional. 

And for the love of all that is holy, don't press down your burgers. This will not make them cook any faster and what's worse, will dry out your burgers. Notice all the steam coming out? That's moisture you're losing. Like a steak, leave the burgers alone until you're ready to flip.

Prepare your favorite fixings. We like using arugula or a spring mix salad because it's more peppery and flavorful compared to lettuce.
Garlic fries...mmmmm... 

(It's store bought. SSSHHHHH!!!)
5. Lightly warm and toast buns on grill.
Then assemble burgers, and enjoy!

We hope you'll like them. Thanks for visiting!

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Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Deer and Cheese Taquitos

Usually made with shredded meat, we had a few reservations about this recipe. But to our pleasant surprise, ground venison works quite well with taquitos. If you're looking for a quick weeknight dinner, or any dinner really, our Deer and Cheese Taquitos are simple to make. You don't have to wait long hours to roast any meat. 
And instead of filling our taquitos with just meat, we added our very own twist. Rolling shredded Mexican cheese inside will make your taquitos taste extra delicious, while seasoning freshly fried shells with smoky Paprika, garlic powder and salt gives an extra kick. Our Waka-Guacamole, Mexican Rice and Mexican Refried Beans are musts with this recipe. Like Rick said, "Guacomole and taquitos were made for each other!" And of course, don't forget the ice cold cerveza (beer). This week, we tried an inexpensive Salvadoran beer called Cerveza Caguama. For only 2 bucks, the 32 oz. bottle made us both happy beyond happy. I know Rick certainly was! ;-)

Prep and Cook Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 4, about 12 taquitos
- vegetable oil
- 1/2 lb. ground venison
- 1/4 cup of onion, chopped
- 1/2 tsp. cumin
- 1/2 tsp. chili powder
- 1/2 tsp. coriander
- sea/Kosher salt, to taste
- about 12 corn tortillas, give or take
- toothpicks

Shell Seasoning:
- Hungarian Paprika, or regular sweet paprika
- garlic powder
- table salt

Waka-Guacamole: click here for recipe.
Mexican Rice: click here for recipe.
Mexican Refried Beans: click here for recipe.

Venison... so pretty... 
1. Heat 1 tbs. of oil over medium heat. Cook onion until softened and translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir often.
Then add 1/2 tsp. of cumin, 1/2 tsp. coriander and 1/2 tsp. of chili powder. Stir and cook for 30 seconds. 
2. Stir in ground venison, and cook over medium-high heat until brown, stirring occasionally. 

With a spoon, try to break up the ground venison as much as you can.
Like so. Cook until most of the juices evaporate. Add sea/Kosher salt to taste.

3. Over low heat, heat 1 corn tortilla in a dry, clean pan. This will soften the tortilla to make it easier to work with. 
Working quickly, so the tortilla doesn't cool and harden again, fill the tortilla with cooked venison mixture and shredded Mexican style cheese. Do not overfill. 
Roll the tortilla as tightly as you can around the filling. With a toothpick, needle through overlapping layers of tortilla. This will help the taquitos hold together when frying. 
Repeat with the rest of the filling.

Ignore the burrito. Rick decided to experiment. :-)
4. Heat about 1/2 - 3/4 inches of vegetable oil in a large pan. When the oil reaches about 350-375 degrees, gently place taquitos into the oil. You don't want any filling to fall out. 
Fry for about 30 seconds on each side, or until golden and crispy. 

Do this in batches. Cook in one layer and do not overcrowd pan. 

When done, remove taquitos from oil. Tilt taquitos to drain any excess oil inside and then drain on paper towels.

Sprinkle table salt, paprika and garlic powder to taste all over hot taquitos. 
Here's a non sequitur, but Rick brought home some interesting Mexican sweets...
Back to business! Serve Deer and Cheese Taquitos with Mexican pickles, cold beer and Waka-Guacamole.

Please enjoy, everyone! As always, thank you for being so awesome. Happy hunting, cooking and eating!

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This is Rick's awesome guacamole recipe. It's got all your basic guacamole ingredients, but with meaty bacon bits and a satisfying low burning heat. It goes great with tortilla chips, but is divine with our Deer and Cheese Taquitos recipe.

Prep Time: about 15 minutes
- 4 ripe avocados 
- 3 strips of bacon, chopped and cooked
- 1 tbs. bacon drippings
- 1 cup of chopped onion
- 6 stems of cilantro leaves, chopped
- 1 Serrano pepper, finely chopped
- juice from half a lime
- garlic powder, to taste
- sea/Kosher salt, to taste

Cut avocados in half and discard pits. Scoop out avocado flesh into a large non-metal bowl. With a large spoon, mash and stir avocado into a creamy consistency. Add chopped cooked bacon, bacon grease, chopped onion, finely chopped Serrano pepper and stir. Add cilantro, then stir again. Finally, add garlic powder, salt to taste and lime juice. Mix together and enjoy!

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Saturday, May 19, 2012

Rick's New Weatherby SA-08

Rick got a new toy for himself this weekend, a nice Weatherby SA-08. His very first semi-auto shotgun!




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Monday, May 14, 2012

Sweet Apricot and Curry Venison Kebabs

Feast your eyes (and stomachs) to another great recipe from Martenique Scott of the Omuwiwe Hunting Lodge in Namibia: venison kebabs marinated in curry, turmeric, apricot and onions. Thin slices of beef fat, which dripped and charred over a hot fire, added sweet juicy flavors to neighboring venison cubes. There were definitely no leftovers!

To the right is the original dish made with oryx, sent to us from Namibia. Thank you to the Omuwiwe Hunting Lodge for sending us this wonderful recipe. It was one of the best venison dishes we've ever made!

And thank you to my best friend Briana for coming over to cook with us. Briana is new to wild game, so Rick and I are very glad that she liked it!

Prep/Marinating Time: at least 4 hours
Cooking Time: about 10 minutes
Servings: 4
- 1 tbs. oil
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 1 cup of white wine vinegar
- 1 cup of water
- 2 tbs. sugar
- 2 tbs. mild/hot curry powder (we used mild)
- 1 tsp. kosher salt
- 4 tbs. apricot preserves
- 1/2 tbs. turmeric
- 1 tbs. corn starch (plus 1-2 tbs. of water to make a slurry)
- 1 1/2 - 2 lbs. of venison roast
- 1 large onion
- about 1/4 lb. beef fat, cubed/sliced
- about 12 wooden skewers, give or take (pre-soaked in water to prevent burning)

I. Marinade
1. In a medium saucepan, heat 1 tbs. of oil. Fry chopped onion until softened and slightly golden. 
Then add all other marinade ingredients, except the corn starch. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 15 minutes. 
3. In a small bowl, whisk 1 tbs. of corn starch into 1-2 tbs. of water, making sure there are no lumps. 

Add the slurry to marinade and mix well. 
Simmer marinade for another 5 minutes, or until thickened. 

*Always allow cooked marinades/brines to cool completely before adding to raw meat. 

II. Assembling Kebabs
Don't see meat like this at the supermarket!
1. Clean venison roast of all silver skin and fat. Cut into 1 1/2 inch cubes. 
2. Run beef fat under cold water. Rinse off any blood. Then cut into thin cubes or slices.

You are welcome to omit the fat. However, it will really take away from this dish. Remember, fat is flavor. 
We didn't find any beef fat for sale at the grocery store. However, we asked the butcher and he gave us the fat for free. So just ask your butcher. He may have some scraps left behind.
3. Slice and quarter onion, like so. 
4. In a medium-sized bowl, combine cubed venison and beef fat. Add 3/4 of the cooled marinade and mix well with your hands. Reserve the rest of the marinade for basting. 
5. Marinade for 4 hours, covered in the refrigerator.

Remove from fridge one hour prior to grilling to allow the meat to come to room temperature. 

While you wait, enjoy a refreshing drink... 

Or some yummy strawberries...
To feed your ungrateful 50-year-old pet turtle, who will not eat it. 
He stuck his tongue out at us and crawled behind the shed.
After 4 hours, it's time to make some kebabs!

My best friend Briana was our "guest hands" for the week. 
6. With wooden skewers (or metal), skewer onion, meat, fat, onion, meat, fat, and so on.  
It got quite messy. Be careful not to get any of it on your furniture or clothes. It stains.

We ran out of meat, so Rick made a "fat stick."
7. Arrange on a hot grill and cook about 3-5 minutes on each side, or until about medium-rare to medium. DO NOT OVERCOOK. 

Baste with remaining marinade. 
Your backyard will smell like heaven.
Serve with your favorites sides and some red wine. We had bottles of zinfandel and Merlot.
The charred beef fat just melts in your mouth... and will give your venison a sweet juiciness that it's never had before. 

We hope you will enjoy this recipe as much as we did!


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