Monday, June 8, 2015

What's the Process for Dry Cured Venison Hams?

Dave from Elkridge, MD asked:

I'm going to take a hind quarter of a deer and make a ham - bone in. With hogs, I salt them for 21 days, take them out and wash them, then use a sugar cane, red pepper & honey cure and let it hang at 38 degrees until ready.

Can I use this same procedure on a whole deer quarter, or do you suggest something else?

Hello Dave,

Old-fashioned dry-cured hams! Yes sir, you can process those venison hams in the same exact fashion but you'll find that the drying process will be a little shorter because of the moisture content difference between pork and venison. 

Pork contains a higher moisture content and takes longer to dry. If you really want to speed up the process, you can smoke those hams up to an internal temperature of 138°F and hold that temperature for 1 hour. Then remove that well-smoked ham from the smoker and hang in the cooler to finish the drying process. I like this step because it speeds up the drying time and adds that great smoked flavor.

Good luck this hunting season and thanks for the question.

Brad Lockwood

Friday, June 5, 2015

Bobcat / Cougar / Mountain Lion Recipes

Dave from Port Angeles, WA asked:

Do you have any good recipes or recommendations for Bobcat or Cougar? I can't seem to find many recipes, or people for that matter, that seem interested in eating these animals.

Hello Dave,

Mountain Lion and Cougar! Now that is a field I don't have a lot of experience in - but I have dabbled with it some. The meat is very lean, but it's also wet - a little like turkey, so it soaks up seasoning well. So be sure not to overdo it on the seasoning! Don't add that little extra that we often times tend to do. 

I've enjoyed the overall flavor of Mountain Lion, but the texture always seems to be tough and chewy - so I highly recommend marinating the meat and using a tenderizer to break the muscle fibers down so you can enjoy the eating experience. Just keep in mind not to over do it with the marinade because lion meat absorbs seasoning very well.

I hope this helps and let us know how it turns out!


Brad Lockwood