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DRY BRINED VENISON WITH BLUEBERRY SAUCE AND WILD RICE

Updated: Apr 17

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This delicious savory blueberry sauce for venison is the perfect pairing for dry brined deer steaks and roasts. The ingredients are simple yet throw a powerful flavor punch that complements the wild game meat perfectly.


In cooking as with music, being influenced by other people and their cultures is a part of growing or learning. And what better way to be influenced in the kitchen than with Native American cuisine?


Dry Brined Venison Recipe
Photo by Larry White

When cooking in this simplistic style you tend to find that the flavors of each ingredient pop and they are quite noticeable. All of these ingredients are perfect pairings for just about any wild game meat.


In this recipe the venison loins (deer backstraps) go in the fridge overnight after being rubbed down with an aromatic dry rub. This dry brine (or quick cure), gives the meat a robust flavor and helps it sear up nicely with a dark golden brown crust.





Tips For Achieving a Good Sear

After rubbing the steaks with the dry rub, letting them dry overnight on a baking pan fitted with a wire rack is one of the best ways to ensure you get the best crust possible on your venison steaks. Using a wire rack promotes airflow around the deer meat and minimizes the chance moisture build up. It's a much better way than placing them on paper towels that need to be changed and become soggy. After rubbing the steaks down with the dry rub


And if you are using the dry rub, I recommend cooking the steaks in a heavy bottomed pan such as a cast iron skillet over medium high heat versus a on grill. The flames from the grill have a tendency to burn dry rubs if you're not extra careful controlling your fire and the placement of the venison steaks.



Dry Brined Venison Loin





Serving Suggestions

I like to serve this dish with earthy flavor like grilled corn, wild rice or creamy grits. The blueberry sauce pairs perfectly with these and lets all of the ingredients speak for themselves. In my photo above, I served mine with easy to make wild rice fritters that mixed with cornmeal, spring onions and bacon fat to add a little crunchy texture to the plate. The blueberry sauce also goes great with venison breakfast sausage.





Storing Suggestions

You can make larger batches of the dry brine (spice rub) and store them in an air tight container for up to 6 months before its starts to lose its qualities.


It's best to cooks and eat the wild rice fritters right away, but if you have leftovers, warming them in a 350 degree F oven for around 10 minutes the next day will work.


The blueberry sauce will keep in the refrigerator if tightly covered for 1 week. You can gently reheat it in the microwave by using the warm setting or by placing it in a pot over low heat. If the sauce becomes too thick, simply thin it out with a little bit of water.



Looking for other wild game recipes? These are some of my favorites:


If you make this simple blue berry sauce for dry brined venison, be sure to leave a rating and a comment below! Also, tag me on Instagram with some of your creations. I thoroughly enjoy hearing feedback and checking out the photos of recipes that you've made.




 

DRY BRINED VENISON WITH BLUEBERRY SAUCE


Prep Time: 30 Minutes

Dry Brine Time: 8 to 12 Hours

Cooking Time: 1 hour

Author: Larry White


INGREDIENTS


For the Venison

  • Two 8 ounce venison loin portions

  • 3 tablespoons high smoke point cooking oil (avocado, canola or peanut oil)

  • Kosher salt


For the Dry Brine

  • 4 teaspoons ground coriander

  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin

  • 2 teaspoons ground black pepper

  • 2 teaspoons ground fennel

  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme

  • 2 teaspoons mild chili powder ( Ancho works Great)

  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt

For the Blueberry Sauce

  • 3/4 cup dried blueberries

  • 1/2 cup dried tart cherries

  • 1 cup real apple juice

  • 2 cups cherry juice

  • 1 3/4 cups water

  • 1/4 cup raw apple cider vinegar or a fruity Balsamic vinegar

  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme

  • 1/4 cup fresh basil chopped

  • kosher salt to taste

  • ground black pepper to taste


For the Wild Rice Fritters

  • 1 1/2 cooked and cooled wild rice

  • 1 egg

  • 1/4 cup green onions thinly sliced

  • 1/4 cup fine cornmeal

  • 1 tablespoon bacon fat, lard or duck fat 

  • salt and pepper to taste

  • high smoke point cooking oil for frying (avocado, canola or peanut oil)


DIRECTIONS


  1. Make the Rub. Place the coriander, black peppercorns, fennel seeds and cumin seeds in a large skillet and toast over medium low heat until they are fragrant. This will take about 5 minutes. Let the spices cool completely and then grind in a spice or coffee grinder. 

  2. Dry brine the Venison Loins. Rub the spice mixture all over the loins. Place the loins onto a baking sheet fitted with a wire rack. If you don’t have a wire rack, the baking sheet or a plate will work fine. Place in the refrigerator uncovered overnight. 

  3. Make the Blueberry Sauce. Combine the blueberries, apple juice and black cherry juice to a pot. Cook over medium heat for about 15 minutes or until thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Add the water and vinegar, simmer uncovered for another 20 minutes or until the sauce has reduced by half. Remove the sauce from the heat and strain through a fine mesh strainer. Pour the sauce back into the pot, add the dried cherries and simmer until soft, about 10 minutes or until the sauce is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Stir in the fresh basil. Season with salt as needed.

  4. Make the wild rice fritters. Preheat your oven to the warm setting. Mix all of the ingredients for the fritters together until they are well combined. Form into 2 inch patties and fry at around 330 degrees F until golden brown. Place in the warm oven while you cook the venison. Note: placing the formed fritters in the refrigerator for 20 minutes before frying will help them to set up and keep their shape while frying. 

  5. Cook the Venison Backstraps. In a heavy bottomed skillet set over medium high heat, add the cooking oil. When the oil starts to lightly smoke, add the loins. Cook on all sides until golden brown, rotating often to ensure the meat doesn't burn. Add more cooking oil as needed to prevent the pan from becoming dry. Cook the loins until you reach a rare to medium-rare internal temperature. Let the steaks rest for around 10 minutes. Slice against the grain, season with kosher salt and serve with the blueberry sauce and wild rice fritters.

 

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Meet Larry White

Chef Larry White

Hey folks, I'm Larry. The recipes you'll find here are inspired by my years as a chef, travels as a hunter, and being a father. I cook from these experiences, so my food ranges anywhere from fun and creative to traditional and to what somewhat family style comfort food.     

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