By Chef and Author Susan L. Ebert
Serves 8 to 10 as an entrée; makes enough for 12 or more sandwiches
For the venison:
1 cup kosher salt
2 tablespoons Instacure #1 (pink salt)
1/2 cup organic dark brown sugar
6 to 8 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
1 tablespoon whole cloves
1 tablespoon crushed allspice berries
1 tablespoon crushed black peppercorns
1 tablespoon crushed yellow mustard seeds
2 teaspoons caraway seeds
1 cinnamon stick, broken into pieces
6 bay leaves, crumbled
6 sprigs fresh thyme, crumbled
1 (5- to 6-pound) boneless venison shoulder or rump roast
For corned venison and cabbage:
1/4 pound salt pork (or bacon), cut into 1-inch strips
1 medium onion, roughly chopped
12 or so small potatoes
1 head cabbage, cut into 8 wedges
6 carrots, scrubbed and cut into 2-inch lengths
Freshly ground black pepper
To prepare the venison: Combine all the ingredients except the meat in a 5-quart stockpot. Add 8 cups water and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes, then remove from the heat and set aside to cool to room temperature.
Using a sharp, flexible knife (a small fillet knife works well), remove all the bones from the roast. Remove as much silverskin (the thin connective membrane consisting of fat and tissue) as you can. If necessary, work your knife between the muscle groups to remove the silverskin around them; you can always tie it up with butcher’s twine, if need be.
Place the roast in a 10-quart pot, and pour the cooled brine over it. Add enough ice and cold water to submerge the roast, and place a heavy plate on top to keep the meat submerged. Cover the pot, and refrigerate for 1 week, turning daily so that the brine penetrates the meat completely. On the seventh day, discard the brine and transfer the roast to a stockpot large enough that the meat doesn’t touch the sides. Add enough water to cover, bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 3 1/2 to 4 hours.
To make corned venison and cabbage: About 1 hour before the roast is done, render the salt pork in a cast iron skillet over medium heat, turning occasionally, until it turns golden brown. Remove the salt pork with a slotted spoon, then sauté the onion in the rendered fat for 3 to 5 minutes, until translucent. Add the onion and salt pork to the stockpot with the corned venison.
Add the potatoes to the stockpot, increase the heat to high and bring to a boil again, then reduce the heat to low, cover, and continue to simmer for 20 minutes. Add the cabbage and carrots, again increase the heat to high and bring to a boil, and again reduce the heat to low and simmer for another 20 to 30 minutes.
To serve, transfer the meat and vegetables to a serving platter. Taste for seasoning: you may not need much salt, but a fresh grind of pepper seals the deal!
For sandwiches: Allow the corned venison to cool in the broth, then refrigerate the meat in a covered container along with an ample amount of broth to keep the meat moist. Chill thoroughly before slicing.
Susan L. Ebert is the author of The Field to Table Cookbook which includes a forward by Chef Jesse Griffiths. For more information on Susan, visit her website: Field2Table.com