The technique is simple: Brine your meat, then simmer it into tenderness. It takes several days, but it isn’t labor-intensive at all. Once made, corned venison is great hot or cold, with root vegetables, cabbage, or cold in sandwiches or chopped into hash.
- 1/2 gallon water
- 1/2 cup kosher salt
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1/2 ounce Instacure No. 1 (sodium nitrite)
- 1 tablespoon cracked black pepper
- 1 tablespoon toasted coriander seeds
- 6 bay leaves, crushed
- 1 tablespoon mustard seeds
- 1 tablespoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon caraway seeds
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 5 chopped garlic cloves
- 3 to 5 pound venison roast
Add all ingrediants, except the roast, to a pot and bring it to a boil. Turn off the heat and cover, then let it cool to room temperature while covered. This will take a few hours. Meanwhile, trim all silverskin you find on the roast. Leave the fat. Once the brine is cool, find a container just about large enough to hold the roast, place the meat inside and cover with the brine. You might have extra, which you can discard.
Photo by Chef Hank Shaw
Make sure the roast is completely submerged in the brine; I use a clean stone to weigh the meat down. You can also just flip the meat every day. Cover and put in the fridge for 5 to 7 days, depending on the roast’s size. A 2-pound roast might only need 4 days. The longer you soak, the saltier it will get — but you want the salt and nitrate to work its way to the center of the roast, and that takes time. Err on extra days, not fewer days.
After the allotted time has passed, you have corned venison. To cook and eat, rinse off the meat, then put the roast in a pot just large enough to hold it and cover with fresh water. You don’t want too large a pot or the fresh water will leach out too much flavor from the meat — it’s an osmosis thing.
Partially cover the pot and simmer gently — don’t boil — for at least 3 hours and up to 5 hours. The venison itself will be cooked in an hour or less, but you want the sinews and connective tissue in the roast to soften and that takes time.
Eat hot or cold. It is absolutely fantastic with good mustard and some sauerkraut on a sandwich.