Pulled Venison – Gerookt Hert met een heerlijke winterse saus
A while back “Het Zeeuwse Hert” approached me with the question if I would like to test their products. No obligations, no expectations, just the question to try it out. Clever, of course: put a piece of meat in my hands and the chance that I’ll share it with you is big. I thought it would be fun to experiment with the piece of Venison. I knew this would be a rather lean piece of meat. I wanted to test out this idea I had that was rather challenging: “Pulled Bambi”. After consultation with my social media consultant (myself ) we decided not to unnecessarily shock children reading along. So I’ve been a good boy and just called it Pulled Venison or Pulled Deer if you prefer. The Pulled Venison was made in a delicious autumnal sauce based on cranberries and whiskey. Time to score next weekend with this meal?!
Disclaimer: The meat for this post was given by “Het Zeeuwse Hert”. No money is earned. All opinions shared are personal and honest.
Autumn is a blissful season for cooking. Many products that would otherwise be more difficult to obtain such as game and deer are now more easily available. “Het Zeeuwse Hert” is a deer farm from Zeeland that logically specializes in deer meat, but also breeds Zeeland chickens. Through their webshop you can have the meat delivered to your home. Although I am mainly addressing the Dutch followers here. Delivery to Belgium or other countries is not planned at the moment and anyone who does, may unfortunately come across surprises. The meat was delivered here on a hot day at the end of the summer. Despite the fact the meat was delivered frozen with various cooling elements, a few hours after the unexpected delivery, part of the meat was unfortunately defrosted. The rest of the package luckily was recoverable so I can still serve this Pulled Venison dish.
The challenge in making Pulled Venison lies in the piece of meat. For a juicy result you need some intramuscular fat. Although the deer can graze freely on the farm and feed themselves with all kinds of fruits, herbs and grasses, the animals remain very skinny by nature. To prevent it from drying out I decided to divide the preparation in two steps. A first stage in which the pieces of deer are smoked at a very low temperature. Pieces because the shoulder pads are packed per 100-150 grams. Obtaining a barque will therefore be almost impossible. That’s why, after smoking, I decide to continue braising the pieces of deer in an autumnal BBQ sauce based on cranberries and whisky so the deer remains juicy while the sauce thickens. This pulled venison is therefore a combination of Pulled deer and a stew. To have enough fat in the end I decide to add another generous portion of good farm butter to the sauce.
In all curiosity I used two types of venison for this experiment, which I prepared separately to test the difference between the two pieces. In one version I use deer shoulder and in the other I use the loin. The result turned out as I expected. A clearly noticeable difference between both Pulled Venison versions. The shoulder version, where more intramuscular fat is present, came out very juicy and tasteful. Moreover, I seemed to have more sauce left in the dish. The loin, on the other hand, had sucked up almost all the moisture but was still a bit “drier” and tougher in structure. In terms of taste however, the loin got my preference. Slightly deeper and more fleshy than the shoulder version. Nevertheless, I decided to prepare the recipe using the pulled venison based on the shoulder part version. For the loin fillet I feel that other preparations are more honorable. Of course you can also consider a combination of both.
Since I made this Pulled Venison on an evening in which I had quarantined myself preventively after a number of positive corona tests at work, I could enjoy this delicious plate alone. For the sides I kept it simple with a celeriac puree and baked apples with cranberries. The delicious autumnal flavors are well expressed in this dish and the sweet acidity of the cranberries with the apples gives the dish an extra kick so I could crawl into my seat with a satisfied feeling for an evening of netflix at ease. You can only make the best of your quarantine don’t you? Hopefully, however, you can share this recipe with your beloved ones. In any case, enjoy it to the fullest and don’t hesitate to tag me or share the result if you’ve tested this recipe! I try to react every time I see the preparations pass by.
- 1 kg deer sukade
- 1 l wild stock
- 3 tbsp cranberry jam
- 2 tbsp ketchup
- 1 dash of whiskey
- 1 stick of cinnamon
- 2 leaves of dried bay laurel
- 1/2 juice and zest of orange
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 lump of butter
- 1 dash of whiskey
- 1 spoon of cranberry jam
Add all the ingredients for the sauce to a sauce pan and bring gently to the boil.
Let all flavors infuse on low heat. The sauce should not be syrupy at this point as it will boil down further during further preparation.
Let the flavours infuse in the sauce for about 10 minutes.
Prepare your smoker for an indirect session at low temperature (75 -110°C). For this session I use my Traeger Ironwood pellet smoker with the Big Game pellet blend. If you use a different type of BBQ then add some extra smokewood (Hickory or Oak for example).
Smoke the pieces of deer at low temperature for about 2 hours.
Place a skillet in the BBQ and add a good lump of butter. Then place the pieces of deer in the skillet and sprinkle with the sauce.
Increase the temperature in the BBQ and cook the deer until it is soft and falls apart into strings. In the meantime, your sauce is probably already quite thick (if not you can remove the meat and increase the heat to further reduce the sauce)
Add a tablespoon of butter, cranberry jam and a good shot of whisky to the pulled venison about 10 minutes before you remove it from your smoker.
Stir well and let it simmer a little further.