My wife Diane, grew up in a non-hunting family. No rabbits, squirrel and certainly...no venison. Although I too grew up in a non-hunting family, it was a pretty natural transition from fish to small game to venison. During my senior of high school we were able to break into teams of 3-4 friends, plan for a meal, prepare the meal and then invite our favorite teacher. So, after inviting our "mad scientist" chemistry teacher, Mr. Dehaan, we went out to gather our groceries. We shopped for the typical items...bread, potatoes, veggies, fruit and of course SQUIRREL. OK, maybe "shop" wasn't the most accurate term for our complete dinner list, but with a pellet gun and an open stand of mature hardwoods we found the perfect store for our featured dish, squirrel stew!
Like my wife did throughout her life, Mr. Dehaan tried the offering and was polite, but I am not sure that he really took to being a wild-game fan at that time. Diane was able to try various dishes throughout her life, but none of them ever convinced her to really admit that she was a wild-game eater. I know many women grow up eating wild game-and probably quite a few of you reading this even got your husband to eat venison, but Diane was not exposed much to wild game. At all. Since she moved to SW WI with me in late January though, it has been hard for her to attend a back-yard grilling with our friends in the area, without being offered some type of food that you can't buy in the grocery store. Bacon wrapped turkey breast on the grill and venison sausage were the "gateway" dishes she initially liked, but just how did I get my wife to eat venison? By using any variation of my Venision Backstrap Boat Recipe. Last night's meal (pictured above) was what we call, Venison Hot Pockets. Follow along for the recipe:
*4 Cubed Venison Chops of roughly 3-4" square (feeds 4)
*1/4 cup of Coconut Oil
*1/4 cup of Worcestershire sauce
*Tablespoon of Chicken bouillon
*2 Tablespoons of Brown Sugar
*Your Favorite Seasoning (I prefer Lawreys, garlic salt and pepper)
*8 Strips of Bacon
*1 Whole Onion
*1 Small package of favorite mushrooms
Does that sound good? Well trust me, it is! Your success will really boil down to when you remove your Venison from the grill, but prior to that you just have to properly build your pockets:
1. Place the 4 chops in a 1 gallon ziploc bag, and then add the oil and sauce. Add the seasonings to the meat within the bag, including the brown sugar.
2. I like to marinate the meat for a few hours, but even if you only have a few minutes you will still experience great results!
3. After marinating, create small, tinfoil pockets for your venison and place the cubes within the center of the pockets.
4. Cross-wrap 2 pieces of bacon around each cube, and then cover with a 1/4 onion to surround each cube.
5. Surround the meat with mushrooms*. At this point the shrooms are not seasoned, so use your favorite seasoning to season them. My favorite is a little bit of Lawreys, and a little celery salt.
6. Poor the juices evenly over each cube and you should be left with a small amount within the bottom of each pocket.
*Asparagus is also a great choice in addition to, or in replacement of the mushrooms...and don't shy away from cherry tomatoes or peppers either!
1. My favorite way to grill includes Kingsford charcoal. When the coals are ready I like to place the pockets on the grill, add the lid, and then wait roughly 12-13 min to check.
2. We are huge fans of rare to med-rare red meat and if that is your choice too, I encourage you to pay close attention to when the inside is still deep red, and the exterior begins to turn pink. Once you take the cubes off the grill they will continue to cook to at least another 1/2 level (rare will turn to med rare, etc). The total time for cooking should be 20-25 minutes.
3. The next step is to take the venison cubes, still wrapped in bacon, and place them on the grill, out of the foil. This will help to crisp the outside, including both the venison and bacon.
4. Combine all of the juice and veggies into 1-2 containers of foil.
5. Our cubes last night took about 22 minutes to grill, but your time could vary greatly depending on the size of the grill and venting. It pays to keep a close eye on the venison because as you know there is very little fat and it dries out quickly.
So there it is...the mystery of how I got my wife to eat venison. I know there are many women out there who love and appreciate venison and I am extremely pleased that my wife is now right along with you. If I could only get her to actually hunt-baby steps! The early hunting season is just around the corner so I can't wait to shoot the first doe I see that offers a Quick And Efficient Antlerless Harvest. That will mean more venison pockets for myself...but especially my wife, family and friends. Very Soon...tree stand time is just around the corner!