Imagine….. autumn has arrived and it’s time to head out to the hunting camp. There’s so much to do! There are feeders to fill, game cameras to check, brush to cut. With all the work to be done, often supper gets “put on the back burner”. Get it? The guys will likely just heat a can of Ranch Style Beans. Ick.
This is where The Deer Slayer’s Wife can step up with something amazing and wow everyone at camp. If your hunting camp has a power hook up, you can use a sous vide cooker. It’s truly effortless. It also frees you up to help out with other chores associated with getting ready for deer season.
You’ll need a pot at least 6 inches deep for this particular sous vide cooker. When it’s just going to be Deerslayer and me, I take the small 6″ pot. If I’m going to be preparing a larger cut of meat for more people, I use a larger pot. Ah, the freedom to choose! Then grab some frozen venison from the reserves you have in your freezer, a little olive oil, and maybe some fresh or dried herbs, and head for the hunting camp. You can use backstrap, tenderloin, football roast or other individual muscles from the hind quarter previously thought to be too tough to serve medium rare as a steak.
On the day you want to have the venison, take a break from the hunting chores and get things rolling mid-afternoon. See if the meat’s still frozen. If it is, no worries! Fill the pot with clean drinking water or distilled water within about 2-3 inches from the top of the pot. On my sous vide cooker, there is a water level indicator that lets me know how much water I need. Next, attach the cooker to the side of the pot and plug it in. Set the temperature at 131 degrees and let the water start heating up.
While the water’s heating, remove the frozen or semi-frozen meat from its bag, very liberally season it with salt, pepper, and garlic mix. Place the meat in a fresh vacuum seal bag. Add some fresh or dried herbs (maybe rosemary, thyme, oregano), some fresh garlic if you want, and a drizzle of olive oil. You may have figured out by this point that there’s no real right or wrong way to do this part. Then seal the bag and remove as much of the air as possible so the meat stays completely submerged in the water. I usually attach the plastic bag to the side of the pot with a wooden clothespin.
Now, you’re ready to place the meat in the water bath. I clip mine to the side of the pot with a clothespin. You can set the timer for about 3 hours if the meat is frozen or 1 1/2 hours if it is thawed. Once the water has reached 131 degrees, the timer will begin ticking away.
This is where the magic starts! Because the water is not boiling, you can go about your business until the meat is ready. If you aren’t back from your chores when the meat is done, no problem. The water will keep it at the perfect temperature for up to a couple of hours. After that, the texture of the meat will be affected somewhat.
Once the your venison is ready, remove it from the bag and place it on a cutting board. Pat it dry while you heat a skillet pretty hot with some butter or olive oil so you can sear your meat.
Do some research about how to use the cooker and the wealth of wild game recipes! There’s so much information about the Sous Vide method on the internet. I got my first recipe from my nephew (venison football roast) and then found other recipes for wild game online. Anova (the brand of my cooker) has LOTS of information. Conor Bofin’s One Man’s Meat has become my go-to for sous vide information, outstanding game recipes, and witty stories. His photography is a feast for the eyes, as well.
Hank Shaw’s Hunter-Angler-Gardener-Cook is another great resource. Hank is an inspiration with his wealth of recipes, foraging tidbits, and hunting stories. He also uses the sous vide method for many of his recipes.
Hunting season is upon us! Grab your pot full of cooking magic, do a little research, and put on your hunting camp tiara because you are gonna be the camp queen! Oh, don’t forget a bottle of wine for your highness!
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