Editor’s Note: This is the final article in a three-part series on venison – grilling and smoking venison, a summer favorite.
Summer is the perfect time to grill or smoke game.
Sit in the shade, open a cold drink and listen to the baseball game on the radio.
For grilling and smoking, nothing beats a barrel-type grill with a cover, to trap smoke and prevent the fire from igniting.
Barrel type grills also have a large cooking surface, enough room for venison burgers, venison steaks, loin, back chops or chicken.
In addition, due to the movable grates, there are cooking options:
1) Light the fire in the center of the barrel, flanked by the cooking grates.
2) Build a fire on the right side of the grill, or in a fireplace, furthest from the humidified chimney, for indirect heat and maximum smoke.
3) Position the grates above the heat for direct cooking.
Light the fire
The best option is to start the fire using hard charcoal, commonly referred to as charcoal wood, or lump charcoal, made from maple, oak, mesquite, or hickory wood.
It is real wood in different shapes and sizes. It lights up quickly, burns hotter, creates less ash, and imparts a purer wood-fire flavor to foods.
One popular brand is Cowboy Oak & Hickory Lump Charcoal. An 8-pound bag sells for around $ 14.
Light your char wood in what’s called a charcoal fireplace, which is basically a metal tube, with a grate and an insulated handle. Stuff a few pieces of cotton wool under the grill. Pour the char wood into the fireplace and light the paper. Add paper as needed until the charcoal ignites.
The fireplace draws in air which feeds the flames and quickly ignites the charwood. When it’s hot, pour the charcoal into the grill, on a bed of hardwood lumps, sticks and wood chips.
When pouring hot charcoal wood into the grill, it is always best to wear an insulated glove and goggles, especially if it is windy.
Green wood will give the best flavor to the smoke. A good mix is a combination of oak, cherry and hickory wood.
For a tasty venison, marinate before cooking, to tenderize and neutralize any taste of game. Soy marinades work great with game and can be purchased at most grocery stores.
An excellent choice is Allegro, made in Paris, Tennessee. Many of their blends are available locally. Their website is www.allegromarinade.com.
Another option is to prepare a fresh marinade, using your own choice of ingredients.
Here is a classic marinade recipe, developed over decades. This recipe can be halved, if you grill or smoke a small amount of game:
1 1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
2 1/4 teaspoons of salt
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
2 garlic cloves, crushed or 1 tablespoon garlic powder
3/4 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons of dry mustard
1 teaspoon of pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons dried parsley flakes
1/2 cup lemon juice
Combine the ingredients in a large bowl, add the pieces of game.
Dry rubbing recipe
The dry rub will enhance the flavor of the venison.
Here is the recipe for a basic “Texas” coating that works equally well with all cuts of venison and beef brisket:
2 T kosher salt
2 tablespoons of garlic powder
2 tablespoons of paprika
2 tablespoons of black pepper
This recipe makes half a cup of rub. Store in an airtight jar or zippered plastic bag to maintain freshness.
Add the dry rub to the hamburger cuts of venison, one side at a time. Sprinkle a thin layer on the cut or meat when it is first broiled and when it is first turned over.
A second option is to add the rub to the venison on both sides about 30 minutes before going on the grill.
Do not overcook the game. Game is best cooked from medium rare to medium for maximum flavor and juiciness.
Venison burger recipe
Who doesn’t love a good burger, and the deer burgers are very tasty and distinctive.
Here’s a basic venison burger recipe:
2 pounds of chopped venison
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 small green chilli, finely chopped
1/4 cup grated carrots
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons of ketchup
1 tablespoon of liquid smoke
Mix well and make 1/4 pound hamburger patties.
The venison was intended to be cooked over an open fire. This is high-quality, free-range red meat at its best when grilled over charcoals in the same way Native American hunters and gatherers prepared it, long before Europeans arrived in North America.